This article originally appeared in Virgin Voyeur Magazine.
Would it sound crazy if I asked you whether you ‘listen’ to your body? Twenty years ago my career was peaking. I was jet setting around the country as a TV host for Channel 9. I was shooting regularly for The Women’s Weekly as Fashion Editor. My diary was full of meetings, appointments and functions to attend. I felt invincible…unstoppable. I was so hectic there was little time to take care of myself. I began neglecting my health – making poor food choices and not dedicating enough time to exercise and relaxation…the last thing I was doing was even thinking about my body.
It began with slight discomfort in my neck, which developed into a pinching sensation. I knew something was wrong but I had too much on my plate to deal with it. Then came the numbness in my right hand and arm, which I also tried to ignore. Eventually I went to the doctor. That same day I was admitted to hospital where I was put on morphine with my neck in traction needing an operation to remove a wayward disk.
I went from being a manic workaholic, to being laid up in bed and useless for many weeks. The experience was a wake-up call. It taught me that my health is the most important thing and not to be put on the backburner. It also showed me that despite my belief that the world would come crashing down if I did not show up to work – in actual fact, life goes on.
Eckhart Tolle often talks about the ridiculous amount of pressure we put on ourselves to meet deadlines. He jokes about how newspapers and magazines often call him with due dates for his articles – and how sometimes he meets those deadlines and sometimes he doesn’t. Either way, he says, nobody dies.
We get so caught up in our working lives that we forget to prioritise ourselves. It’s easy to put off that blood test, or to use deadlines as an excuse not to go and get a heart check. But sooner or later your body will start talking to you – telling you to slow down – and the longer you refuse to listen, the more chance you will develop a serious health condition that forces you to stop.
This week on Balance is all about starting the new year and work on the right foot. We’ve just had Christmas but Christmas is not always the best time to have a break from work. So how about this year you plan to take a decent break from work and reward yourself with a holiday…or indulge in a spa package? Have you made time this yearto give your body some breathing space? Is it time to stop and ‘listen’?
For those of you who struggle to stay fit and well while you’re travelling for work, I’ve put together some tips that have proven to be really helpful for me when I’m on the road.
Health tips for business travellers
Stay in hotels with gyms – there are several fitness club franchises that, for a set fee, will allow their members to use their gyms in any location, but if you’re not a member of one of these gyms it’s a good idea to book hotels that have their own.
Pack your running shoes – they are light and don’t take up much room. You’re much more likely to go for a morning jog or walk if you have the right shoes with you.
Walk to meetings – how many times do we jump a taxi when we could walk to where we’re going? It might take a bit more planning around allowing enough time, but walking to work is a good way to incorporate exercise into your business schedule.
Healthy snacks – stock up on healthy snacks. Always carry with you a few bags of nuts and bottles of water – that way, no matter how long your business meeting goes – you’re guaranteed to stay hydrated and energised. You’re also more likely to avoid the temptation of eating junk food.
Maintain your rituals – if you are someone who meditates to start your day, make sure you don’t neglect that routine when you’re travelling. Same for any stretching or yoga you might do. Make the time to incorporate nourishing rituals into your day when you’re on the road and they’ll make you much calmer and happier while you’re away.