Most of us can't afford to fall sick in our busy lives.
Most of us can't afford to fall sick in our busy lives. maselkoo99

Can you afford to get sick if you have to work?

LIVING NATURALLY with Olwen Anderson

A VISITOR to our building might notice an activity they weren't expecting: a practitioner disappearing into another therapist's room.

Closing the door. An hour or so later they both emerge, and the visitor looks even better.

Nothing suspicious going on though; each of us is calling in on each other for treatments.

The massage therapists are exchanging treatments, but so is everyone else: acupuncturists, the kinesiologist, the naturopaths and cranio-sacral therapist.

There's an important reason why this happens: all of us are self-employed, and like all business owners we know that if we get ill, income stops.

We've learnt that it pays to look after ourselves diligently.

If you are also self-employed, you know that when you can't work, you don't earn.

There's no paid sick leave in self-employment.

And yet some self-employed folk can tend to burn the candle at both ends and avoid doing what they know they should do to stay well.

There's a subtle, insidious pressure that all business owners experience.

We know that succeeding in business is tough: you've got to take risks, keep an eye on the cashflow, juggle a multitude of demands, manage the marketing... the list never ends.

You could conceivably work 24/7 and still not cross everything off your to-do list.

So it's always a temptation to overlook your health in favour of work.

You don't need to spend a fortune on treatments to keep yourself in good shape and your business ticking over.

Just practising the basics of good health will help keep you working.

Simple steps, like making sure you step away from those cashflow calculations early enough to get a solid eight hours sleep.

To pick up a salad with some high quality protein for lunch instead of a sausage roll, and avoid turning to coffee and sweet stuff to keep pushing through the day.

To choose to strap on your training shoes for a run even when you're tempted to spend that extra hour focused on the marketing plan.

To switch off your mobile for 20 minutes each day, allowing for uninterrupted meditation.

You know that without solid self-care it's too easy to succumb to the flu or any of the other illnesses you could fall prey to more easily if over-work and under-fun has already run you down.

It's all about learning to strike a balance between working hard and self-care.

Are you looking after your health enough to keep working?

Olwen Anderson is a naturopath and counsellor and a long-time columnist with the Tweed Daily News. Contact her at www.olwenanderson.com.au