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The risk of not looking after yourself

As a personal insurance broker, I will always stress to people the importance of having the right insurance in case of unexpected illness or injury. However, prevention will always be better than cure.

It is very important to look after yourself.

As I share this advice with you, it comes from experience where I learned the hard way that small business owners are not superheroes.

I recently ended up in hospital in Bangkok. My schedule was very busy there and I forgot to do something very basic: keep my fluids up. In my frantic pace there I forgot to drink enough water.

In the same way, as business owners it is so easy to get busily involved in running and growing our business and neglecting to look after our own health needs.

Here are some tips:

Maintain a balanced lifestyle. There should be a balance between your work time and your leisure time. I find I have to schedule time off to relax or else I will just keep working and before I know it I am doing a 60 – 70 hour week. This is not sustainable long term.

Get enough sleep. Have you found that if you are working long hours trying to get through a large task, that if you put it aside until you have had a good sleep, that you can complete the task in half the time? You should sleep seven to eight hours per day. This will help your body to replenish itself. Lack of sleep make you feel tired and affects your eating habits. Adequate sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being.

Have a positive outlook. People who are positive tend to have better health and success in life then those who are negative thinkers. Find things to laugh about on a daily basis. Laughter releases endorphins, boost your immune system, increases blood flow and relaxes your body.

Surround yourself with friends and family members who are supportive. A 2005 study by Australian scientists suggested that people who have friends that they can count on to be there for them, live longer. We all know that the best way to have great friends, is to be one to others.

Go outside. The importance of natural light is often underrated. If your workplace does not have windows, it is particularly important that you get outside each day (preferably when the sun is out).

For me walking Winston, my wonderful dog works well. Sometimes I am not sure if he is exercises me or the other way around! Either way it’s good exercise and a good de-stress to watch him get up to his usual funny antics.

Get outside and spend your time in the open air daily, if possible. Exposing yourself to fresh air and sunshine on a daily basis is beneficial to your health.

Watch what you eat, drink and inhale. Did you know that smoking and alcohol intake impact on your personal insurance premiums? This is because smoking is harmful to your health and certain amounts of alcohol are also very damaging.

It is so easy to eat junk food when you are busy and on the run, however planning ahead can help you make the food you eat a healthy investment to your body.

As I now know, it is important to drink eight to ten glasses of water each day.

Above all, accept yourself, your capability and your shortcomings when it comes to making your health and wellbeing a priority.

Do you have any tips on how to avoid the risk of not looking after yourself?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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