Top tips for better health and wellbeing for business owners

Tomorrow is World Health Day.  Whilst I’m super active on photo-shoots running about and finding all the angles (you’re not taking a good photo unless you’re in the stupidest most contorted position possible, trust me!), there are plenty of days spent in front of a computer processing photographs and also working on the business.

My health and wellbeing is something I’m prioritising more and more, because if I’m not at my best, I can’t do the best work for my clients.  As well as developing a healthier sleep routine and cooking much more from scratch, I’m trying to exercise more in a variety of different ways.  For me, better physical health also means better mental health.

So I’ve started dance classes (I’ve been waiting for Strictly to call for the last ten years but still no word!).  I do yoga each morning (normally in my pyjamas), I hula hoop (if abs are what you’re after, get hooping!) and I play tennis (running feels like too much effort unless it’s for a train, to chase a ball with racket in hand, or to impersonate Hugh Jackman from The Greatest Showman, “Run Hugh, run!”).

As World Health Day falls on April 7th, I thought I’d share 7 super easy top tips for better health and wellbeing for entrepreneurs and business owners.  No lycra needed here, this stuff is no-nonsense, straight up easy peasy pumpkin peasy pumpkin pie and you can build it into your daily routine!

1. Dance breaks

When you spend so long sat at a desk or in front of a computer, it’s easy to get absorbed in your work and quite literally forget to move!  My gran (fountain of all knowledge) says you should take a break every 20 minutes, my chiropractor says every 40 minutes.  Either way, work out what feels good for you and set a timer on your phone, get up, move around, stretch, or if you’re feeling really outrageous, have a dance break!  For me, there’s nothing quite like putting on a couple of my favourite songs (usually The Killers, let’s be real) and dancing around the house (yes, pretending I’m performing at Wembley), to get the blood moving and to keep my energy high.

Let loose to this:

2. Snacking

Back in my university days I had a cookie jar sat on my desk.  What was I thinking?  You won’t be surprised to learn that the temptation to snack was REAL.  Nowadays I try not to snack between meals at all.  If the hunger does strike, I reach for an apple.  Sounds so clichéd doesn’t it?  But did you know that if you eat two apples, that’s the equivalent in sugar terms of drinking a can of Coke?  Almost all of the benefits of eating fruit can be found in vegetables, so instead of reaching for the apples or the other sweet stuff, it’s time to discover your inner guinea pig (we all have one) and opt for a raw carrot.

3. Meditation

Meditation has been a game changer in terms of helping me get into the right headspace for the day ahead.  I notice a difference in my breathing, in my stress levels, and in my capability to handle whatever the day throws at me.  All it takes is ten minutes every day first thing in the morning.  I use the app Headspace, it’s fun, user-friendly, and suitable for all, from the complete beginner to the experienced meditation guru.  And if you think you need to sit barefoot and cross-legged on a rug on the floor saying, “om…” think again!  It’s a practise that you can do anywhere, in bed, on the train, standing on your head, the choice is yours.

Learn more about Headspace here:

4. Yoga and stretching

For a long time I wanted to join the yoga bandwagon but somehow it always felt too daunting, “I need the lycra, I need a yoga mat, I need to be super flexible…” shush Karina!  I started really simple, with a super easy video by the yoga genius that is Adriene.  It’s a six minute routine that you can do sat at your desk, that’s right my friends, you don’t even need to stand up!  I really recommend doing this somewhere around the middle of your working day (and maybe at the end of the day too), to help unfold yourself (think Chandler in Friends with ‘The Claw’, except it’s your whole body).  Feel the stretch and the release, it’s AMAZING.

Try this routine sat right where you are:

5. Reading

One of the best ways to keep my mental game strong is by reading every day.  I always have at least one self-development book on the go.  This solopreneur thing is hard!  Nobody said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.  So in order to keep me in the best mental shape to cope with all that running your own business entails, I read and read and read.  Fifteen minutes to half an hour a day is the sweet spot for me.  I normally take a break around 11am, grab a cup of tea and take a few minutes to step back from the business and instead focus on working on myself.  I can thoroughly recommend, ‘Happy’ by Fearne Cotton, ‘Mindfulness for the Frazzled’ by Ruby Wax, and pretty much anything by the guys at Art of Brilliance (I’m just about to start their brand new book, ‘SHINE’ and I’m so excited!).

6. Downtime

Making space for downtime in your routine is so important and is something I’m really looking to get better at doing.   It’s so easy when you work for yourself to think you have to do everything and you have to do it all NOW!  And that if you just work one more evening or one more weekend, you’ll get there, right?  Wrong.  Giving yourself time off is all a part of the journey, you deserve a break and it’s imperative for the good of your health to rest and recharge.  And throughout the day you build up energy, some call it stress, others just energy, but it’s important to find a way to process, deal with and dump that energy that you’ve accumulated.  Whether it’s taking a nice, long and relaxing bath, or exercising and getting a sweat-on, whatever feels right for you, make it a priority and build it into your day.

7. Hugging

Yes, you read it correctly, hugging.  Who doesn’t love a hug?  “I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” - Ann Hood.  Research has shown that a good hug is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.  And did you know that seven is the magic number?  Here’s Andy from Art of Brilliance to explain why.  Get your hug game going, spread a little happiness and know that it’s doing you good all at the same time!

So there you have it, my top 7 tips for better health and wellbeing for business owners.  What helps you feel tip top?  How do you look after your own health and wellbeing?  I’d love to hear from you on social media, find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

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