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Yes, we’re talking about the 2nd “B” today – your body.

I fell into a bit of a funk last week and it was all down to having toothache. This funk extended to becoming disinterested in my work, a huge amount of negative self-talk about how I was being ridiculous with some of my business plans and would never pull them off, convincing myself that I didn’t have the right skills to launch my latest ideas…oh the list went on and on. And yup, it was all brought on by toothache. That might seem a bit extreme, but I painted a very black picture of the prognosis and I felt very justified because of past experiences (in reality, these were all just excuses to go into a negative place and allow my fears to bubble up).

Anyone who knows me personally will know that I suffer from severe periodontal disease. This is in part hereditary and part exacerbated by ME/CFS. Last year I lost a couple of teeth through the bone loss that is a result of this disease, and I had a nightmare time when they were replaced by a partial denture. Long story short, it took 3 different plates and 2 different dentists before I was given one that felt OK. I’m still not comfortable with it and so I rarely wear it.

It was a very protracted experience. My health suffered a setback and it took up a lot of physical time, emotional energy and head space. So when I saw my (new) dentist and was told that the latest discomfort I was experiencing on my upper first premolar (that’s the fourth one in from the center) was due – he thinks! – to the bone loss having reached the tip of the root and I needed to consider an implant, it seemed huge to me. Basically, my mind flipped back into the same state I succumbed to the last time. I had reverted to a place of learned helplessness, losing my sense of power and convincing myself that I was doomed to fail again.

I remembered how ill the process had made me feel, how frustrated I was that I wasn’t being heard regarding why the first two dentures hadn’t working for me, how I’d chosen to have a denture over implants because I had previously been warned that with ME there is a 50/50 chance of me rejecting an implant, how much money it would cost…the list of negative uncomfortable memories went on and on.

And my body reverted back into the same place too. My fatigue levels increased, I was overwhelmed by the cost, I felt all my business plans were being scuppered as it would take up so much of my time and energy and I was bound to get really ill again. I also felt a huge lack of trust in my new dentist knowing what he was talking about. Very unfair of me, but I didn’t know who I could trust.

I managed to send my stress levels skyrocketing and all by imagining everything that could go wrong. I had gone into a place of fear – worrying about things that not only hadn’t happened but also might never happen. Tony Robbins calls it False Evidence Appearing Real and boy did it feel real to me. I had actually managed to manifest the exact symptoms I was fearful of experiencing just by thinking negatively about it!

You never know when health issues or stress-inducing situations are going to arise in your life. Which is why it is so important to make space for self-care in your business life. Taking care of your body and your mental state is not a luxury that only certain people can afford to do.

If you see self-care sitting in the “Life” not “Business” box you are likely to feel guilty when you take the time to go for a walk or attend an exercise class during “working hours”. You put off checking out a little niggle and then down the line it grows into something bigger, that does need more of your time. You treat or reward yourself with sugary foods or alcohol to help you cope with stress. You ignore the fact that you seem to feel tired all the time, you’re maybe not sleeping and even when you do, you wake feeling un-refreshed. You refuse to acknowledge that your mood is low and you can’t seem to motivate yourself. At worst you start to sink into depression.

Of course, looking after your body and stress levels fits into both your life and business boxes. But it’s the impact it can have on your self-confidence, your self-esteem and your belief in your abilities that results in you getting into a funk and being unproductive as I did. That, in turn, can affect your entrepreneurial skills.

By making time for effective self-care you will become more in tune with your body, you will start to heed the warning signs and you will value the end results:

  • You will avoid stress leading to burn-out
  • You will look and feel awesome – and who doesn’t want that?
  • You won’t over-react to setbacks – you will see them for what they truly are and not magnify them or feel you cannot resolve the issue
  • You avoid going into the doldrums
  • You don’t use food or alcohol as props to get you through the day, but instead pay as much attention to eating and exercising well as you do to your prep for pitching for a large contract
  • You appreciate that amazing feeling of being full of vitality, having a real zest for your business and your life.
  • Your passion doesn’t dissipate at the first sign of a challenge.
  • As you exude that feeling, it becomes infectious and your employees or team respond in a similar vein. It creates a great working environment and productivity increases.
  • You become less fearful of taking risks and generally your business thrives as much as you do

Wow, that’s a pretty good place to be in!

Here are my Three Key Elements that might help you start making changes that are going to benefit your work as well as your body:

  1. If you’re feeling stressed it helps to step back and see all the choices that exist for you to change the situation that is causing the stress. It helps if you know how to practice mindfulness, but if not then take some time out – go for a walk, connect with nature, meditate, have a massage, take a long bath with your favourite aromatherapy oil and candles to enhance the atmosphere, whatever resonates most with you. Taking this time out refocusses the brain and it will allow you to consider whatever is stressing you from a calmer place.
  2. If you know there is something not quite right with your health, whether it is physical or mental, take action as soon as possible. In the long run it will save you time and hopefully prevent prolonged illness too. Think about what will help you most. It’s advisable to seek medical advice first so you have a clear idea what you are dealing with. And then go down the support route that you feel is going to help you the most. It may be via your GP, or you may be drawn to working with a kinesiologist, acupuncturist, nutrition therapist, naturopath etc. I am not advocating ignoring medical advice by any means, but sometimes getting additional support with natural remedies could be the answer for you. Not only might it help, but it’s empowering too.
  3. These days it is all too common for eating and drinking habits to become out of control. Having a poor relationship with food is symptomatic of many different things and discovering your main reason may entail seeking support from a good coach (just like me!). In some circumstances you might just need to break a habit that you have developed rather than dig deep into your psyche. My advise is don’t try to change everything at once. We so often set ourselves up to fail by trying to do too much at once. If you want to introduce better eating habits, don’t try and change your whole diet tomorrow. Instead start by planning to eat a healthier lunch 5 days of the week and once you have mastered that, then move onto breakfast, then dinner etc.

All these tips are based on being kind to yourself because, as the ad goes, you are worth it. By ignoring what your body is telling you not only might your health suffer long term but it will have a detrimental effect on your business too. For businesses to flourish you need to be able to turn up 100%.

And finally remember to make any changes you instigate fun. Exercising and eating healthily are not meant to be purgatory. Be like a child and play well, laugh a lot and experiment to find out what works for you.

Wishing you good health, happy days and a thriving business

Philippa