5 Tips to Protect Your Number One Asset: Your Health

What if you couldn’t work? As an employee, you may get sick days and even be covered should you ever become disabled. But long term disability coverage only pays for up to 60% of your income. And being sick frequently can cost you in the long run as your employer may see you as less productive and deny you a promotion or raise.

If you’re a small business owner, being ill for even a few days could costs you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in business—or even cost you your business altogether. Your customers and employees are relying on you to be on top of things and if you lose control for too long, they may go elsewhere.

Bad eating, exercise and sleep habits can affect other areas in your life, too. For starters, it ages you inside and out. If you look in the mirror and hate the wrinkles and excess weight you see, improving your health habits can help you drop weight and look younger. Poor nutrition can get your blood sugar levels out of whack, which will make you grouchy. Lack of sleep can you make you feel more stressed and put you in a bad mood. And if you’re grouchy all the time, who will want to be around you?

We can’t always prevent illness from happening but there are some things we can do to increase our odds of staying healthy. I used to work as a certified wellness coach and personal trainer and owned a small business where we coached our clients to optimal health. While it may seem like common sense, sometimes people need a reminder to not only make their health a priority, but to make it the most important thing in their lives.

Healthy habits don’t have to be time consuming or costly. Here are some reasonable actions you can take to stay healthy:

Doable diet:

Healthy eating begins at the grocery store. It’s harder to eat junk if you don’t buy it. When I was doing my wellness coaching, I always recommended my clients make a list of their favorite foods and find healthier substitutions for what they love. For example, I love veggie pizza so I buy cheese and veggie pizzas made with a cauliflower crust. I love ice cream so I make thick smoothies with lots of ice and add stevia so they taste like ice cream.

Cutting back on meat will also keep you healthier and save you money. Pound per pound, meat is one the most expensive types of food. Meat consumption also increases your chances of having cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are healthier alternatives for protein such as nuts, seeds, soy, eggs and dairy. If you still are having trouble with the idea of cutting back, consider this: Americans consume more meat per capita than any other country and eat double the amount of meat recommended by nutritionists.

Eating out is usually unhealthy as well. It’s also harder on your wallet. Chefs at restaurants notoriously add more salt, butter, sugar and oil to their dishes to make it taste good. Eating at home increases your chances of staying slim and healthy, and keeps more money in your wallet. Sites like eatingwell.com have quick,healthy recipes so you can enjoy eating at home without too much work.

Buy organic fruits and vegetables. It costs more but it’s worth it. Most non-organic fruits and vegetables taste like nothing so you’re not exactly going to want to eat more of it. If you buy organic, your fruits and veggies will taste the way they’re supposed to—full of flavor—and then you’ll want to eat more of them. All the vitamin C in fruits and vegetables will help you stave off colds, the flu and more.

quote: The first wealth is health.

Easy exercise:

You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise. In fact, gyms are costly and have the added step of having to drive there, which decreases your chances of going. Your best bet is to try to get in exercise throughout the day, like cleaning, taking the stairs, walking the dog, walking over to your colleague instead of emailing them, etc. You can also make exercise and social activity, like taking a walk or doing something like playing tennis with friends or family. If you own a business, taking up golf or joining a tennis league are great ways to network and still get in a good workout. The other way to stay in shape is to set up a home gym. It will save you time and money and increase the odds of you actually working out. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment or space to have one. All you need are a few light weights, the the form of free weights, a medicine ball, wrist or ankle weights or bands to strength train. For aerobic exercise, you can do high intensity intervals right in your living room. (You can search “workouts at home” on YouTube for a plethora of options.) Or you can invest in a stationary bike or elliptical trainer.

Sleep soundly:

Lack of sleep ages you inside and out. Sleep is the most effective way to heal your body and is when body the body repairs itself. You MUST aim for at least 7 hours each night. You may feel like that you don’t have the time but a lack of sleep means less focus and declined health. Likewise, getting enough sleep can improve your mood, brain functioning and output, and, therefore, your income. If you have trouble falling asleep, take magnesium and melatonin each night. Also make sure you get enough exercise. This will help you fall sleep faster, as well as put you into a deeper sleep. Learn to delegate so you have the time(more on that later) and adjust your work hours (if you can) to suit your natural sleeping pattern.

Vital vitamins:

In a perfect world, we would get all the nutrients we need from the food we eat.But the reality is that there are a lot of unhealthy choices out there and getting all of the nutrients we need on a daily basis is really difficult. A lack of key vitamins and minerals can bring on a whole host of problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, a lack of key nutrients can cause a host of problems, including fatigue, dizziness, forgetfulness and more. This problem is solved by taking organic,whole-food vitamins. Unlike the average vitamin found at most grocery and drug stores, which contains chemicals, the vitamin and minerals in organic whole-food supplements come from organic fruits and vegetables and are chemical-free. The quality of nutrients you’ll be receiving is much higher, which means it’s going to protect your immune system a lot better. You can find organic, whole-food supplements at health food stores such as Sprouts and Whole Foods,and also online. They’re more expensive but they will increase your chances of staying healthy.

Tension tamers:

Stressful moments will inevitably happen. But taking the time to relax is extremely important to our health. The Mayo Clinic states, “Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” One way to help alleviate stress is to delegate. If you’re a business owner and feel overwhelmed, it’s time to figure out who can help you—whether it’s hiring more staff, an assistant, a cleaner or even a dog walker. Sometimes we miss opportunities for others to help for free, like a child who can pitch in or a mother-in-law who offers to help out. Getting others to help will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and alleviate some of the stress life brings. Also be sure to take the time to relax. It may not fee like you have the time, but taking some time each day to do something relaxing will refresh you and help manage stress. I highly recommend that you take at least 30 minutes each day to soak in tub, take a walk, read a book, watch a good show, talk to a friend or even take a nap. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

It may seem to difficult to find the time to make the healthy choice but no task or amount of money is worth more than your health. Without good health, your ability to earn income and make good financial decisions will suffer—and so will everything else. Your hobbies, vacations, and time with friends and family may have to take a backseat until you get healthy. In that since, your health is more valuable than any business, job or object. So don’t you think you should protect it?:)