• Susanne Birgersdotter

We all know the importance of health in our everyday living. We hate getting sick and tend to stay away from people who are sick. We’ve learned early on how to stay healthy and strong. We were taught to eat healthy food, exercise, get enough rest, and stay away from bad habits in a bid to stay in the pink of health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. It is not merely the absence of illness or infirmity.

Our health is our best asset. It is human’s most basic need. It is right to make it our top priority. But then, real life happens.

Our teenage years are also the peak of our health. This is where we can fully take care of ourselves, we still don’t have any of life’s heavy responsibilities, and our bodies are still to suffer from the ravages of life. Early adulthood is not as kind. At this point, we would have started our self-abuse. We take on vices, indulge in inordinate eating, and started on the process of adulting.

Then middle life comes knocking. We would have acquired bad habits, pet indulgences that are less kind to the body, and accumulated responsibilities. We could be running a business, raising a family, and trying to keep up with all that’s going around.

While your responsibilities are getting bigger, your body is getting weaker. We will not feel it at first, as we are so focused on our business, family, and careers, but our body is slowly disintegrating. Stress, anxiety, and continued strain from work and career will eventually break us down.

In my daily grind as an entrepreneur, health doesn’t always come first. Especially during the early days of my life as a businesswoman, I tend to put myself and my health to the back of my priority list. I have a business to grow, a family to nurture, and a career to build. I have endless busy days running errands for the business, tending to the needs of my family, and trying to keep up an image of an active, vibrant, strong, and put-together woman to the world.

I wasn’t paying attention to myself and to my health. As long as I look and sound good, I was okay. It doesn’t matter if I don’t feel 100%. I was struggling to keep a dying business alive and I poured all my time, attention, and energy towards it. It wasn’t too long before I suffered a breakdown.

The constant stress and pressure culminated into a panic attack that brought me to the hospital and forced me to stay in bed for a week. That jolted me to a realization on the importance of taking care of ourselves. Health first, the business next.

But getting back to fighting form was a long and frustrating process. I lost a business and possibly a career too. And my body is demanding I take a rest. This time, I listened to my body. I wasn’t only sick physically. My mental and emotional health are also slumped from the long and constant abused I made it go through. While I was physically weak, I was also an emotional wreck. I was sad, depressed, and stressed out.

We can’t run a business nor tend to my family’s needs while we’re sick. And that is the reason for all the hard work. We inspire to build a business so that we can better take care of our families. But, with a sick body, we can’t do either – build a business or take care of our family.

If we are to run a business, we simply cannot afford to get sick. You will need a robust body to attend to all those meetings, travel the world, and lead your company. You will need a sensible and objective mind to make decisions, and a healthy outlook to encourage creativity. Great leaders must maintain a positive attitude to influence their team and to create mutually beneficial relationships with everyone in the business community.

We can only achieve all that if we have a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Putting our health and well-being first will not stop real life from hurtling realities to us. We will still encounter the same challenges, letdowns, and surprises. But we will be better equipped to face whatever is thrown to us. Stronger, wiser, smarter. Healthier is always better.

Learn more of my business and life journeys from my book, Pivotal Moments, here. It is also available in Kindle from this link.