The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

We’ve all been told we need to achieve a balance between our business and private lives but what does it mean and how important is it really? Perhaps you’ve just been too busy to take in the consequences of ignoring the message!

The ability to achieve consistently at high levels requires us to be fit for purpose both mentally and physically. Both parts work in harmony so that when one part is sacrificed for the other, the overall performance is diminished.


What happens when we’re not looking after ourselves?

Often the adrenal glands are working overtime producing adrenaline that keeps the body in a high state of alert. This is not how the body is designed to work. Adrenaline is ideally produced for short sprints to save us from the sabre tooth tiger or to catch the bus.

In the SME arena, the common thing I see is business owners working long hours in the job. Often they are not looking after themselves physically or mentally away from work. At its extreme, stress levels are high. Symptoms are excessive worrying, lack of sleep and ultimately impaired or flawed decision-making is the result. I often hear things like “I can’t switch off my brain,” or “my partner is always cross with me because I’m not engaged with family, as I’m preoccupied with work.”


What happens when we take a break?

Physiologically the body needs to move so that chemical balance is maintained. Many hormones such as endorphins are produced with physical exertion and this also enables the brain to take a break. The feel-good endorphins have the effect of countering adrenaline and this then aids in better sleep. The body is rested and so is the brain, resulting in better performance going forward. Reading the same page ten times and not comprehending what it says is unhelpful. Reading it once with a 100% comprehension is much more effective. Quality betters quantity, particularly when it comes to decision-making.

Andrew Ross competing in a piping competition

Look out for the warning signs

If you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, sad or angry, it may be your body signalling that you need to take a break and move the body in a different direction for a time. Try it, you might like it!

Personally, I like to exercise at least four times a week and ideally get up a sweat. It doesn’t have to be the same thing over and over as long as the body is moving. Engage in other activities, maybe outside of your comfort zone. This forces the brain to think about what you’re doing instead of work.


Two takeaways

  • The physical response to non-work-related activity is the release of endorphins and the repression of adrenaline.
  • The mental response to another activity is a distraction from work stressors, thinking of something else gives the brain a rest and therefore makes you more effective when you are working.

Go on take a break. Allow yourself to be the best you can be. You can start by watching my wellness video (5mins 34secs).

By Andrew Ross | Director | Business Advisor | Piper | Painter