What’s your #1 health priority as a small business owner?

- July 1, 2019 3 MIN READ

What’s one positive thing you’ve done for your health and well-being today? 

Wait!  If you just shrugged off the mere suggestion of that as a waste of time, then I have some bad news. 

According to this jaw-dropping report from the ABC this morning, 50% of Australians are currently battling a chronic illness – with the majority of them being preventable.

To quote the ABC report: 

“Ben Harris, a health policy expert at Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute, crunched the numbers from the latest National Health Survey and discovered that 11.4 million Australians, almost 50 per cent, now have a chronic disease.

“That’s up from two in five just 10 years ago,” he told 7.30. “About a third of chronic disease is preventable, yet we only spend 1.3 per cent of our health budget on preventing disease.”

Big business say they’re onto it

Another report from today,  this time from HSBC claims 84% of big corporates are either planning to maintain or up their employee wellness programs this year. 

According to their ‘Navigator: Made for the Future’ survey of more than 2,500 companies across 14 markets globally – including 200 businesses from Australia – it was revealed that Australian businesses believe their future success will come from investments in their workforce, including employee wellbeing (23%), being agile and responsive to change (25%) and bringing new skills and experience to their business (22%).

These factors ranked well ahead of leveraging technological innovation (15%), despite this being the number one priority for firms globally (26%).

So what are you going to do about it at home HQ? 

According to current ABS stats, there’s 2.3 million of us currently running a business in Australia – 68% from home.  With that being the case, what can we do to make health and well-being a priority? 

Just like our compatriots in the corporate space we small business types work really hard – harder, if the stats from the latest FS survey are anything to go by where 70% of you claimed to be working 90 hour weeks. 

And if you’re one of these hardworking soloists without the company of colleagues to have a quick chat around the water cooler at lunchtime, then we’re even less likely to take the break we really need in a working day. 

How do we fix that? 

Well, the first hurdle is getting realistic- think small steps towards slightly better health, not big leaps towards some kind of magical whole-body transformation. 

I remember reading a blog a few years ago now, where the founder of Australian Problogger Darren Rowse saying he’d swapped a hastily eaten lunch at his desk, with a 45 minute walk around his neighbourhood with terrific results. 

That combined with getting rid of his 8pm sugar raid, resulted in improved health and wellbeing – which in turn boosted his productivity. 

It’s hard not to be impressed by the simplicity of those small changes. 

No mention of a crazy pre-dawn weight lifting routine, or a blender meal in sight.  Just a small and consistent change in routine and his productivity and wellbeing soared. 


We can all make one simple change a day for better health

For me recently it has been swapping from a large coffee in the morning to a small one. 

And in a recent interview with the FS podcast, nutritionist Susie Burrell was in favour of the double lunch for busy business owners. That is, half a sandwich around 11 and the other at 2pm. Or a bowl of soup and then a sushi roll, or some of last night’s leftovers as a follow up a few hours later. According to Susie, eating well for energy is all about eating healthy, small meals regularly throughout the day. 

If movement is an issue for you, then here’s what a perfect 30-minute training session looks like. Apparently  a 20 minute yoga session on the living room floor or a half hour session at the gym every other day is all you need to bring some much-needed energy back into your day. 

With a prognosis of 50% of us likely to face a chronic disease, a simple change in the area of health where we know we can do better is probably not a bad idea.