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You can’t afford to make these health mistakes as an entrepreneur

When you’re an entrepreneur, pushing through personal and professional obstacles in pursuit of your passion can lead to major rewards.

But how do entrepreneurs navigate health challenges without the safety net of sick days or group medical benefits? Keep reading for tips on how to keep yourself — and therefore your business — healthy.

1. They don’t know the difference between working hard and overworking

Everyone goes through a rough patch at work now and then, but if you’re your own boss it’s especially important to recognize if your job itself is becoming a health issue.

Chronic stress has been linked to medical problems like heart disease, infertility and poor immune function, but in the short term burnout may cause:

  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Fatigue.
  • Poor motivation and concentration.
  • Irritability and impatience.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Inability to enjoy or get excited about your achievements.
  • Dreading the start of your work day.

If you notice that you’re experiencing any of these for longer than two weeks, step back and take a serious look at what you can do to reduce your workload and stress levels. Sometimes the symptoms of work stress can mask other serious health issues, so don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor, too.

Tips:

  • Check in on yourself at least once a month to make sure you don’t need a break or tune-up to stay well. 
  • Don’t wait to book time off until you’re already burned out, whether it’s a couple of staycation days or something more.

2. They put off self care (like eating and exercise)

When your time is your own, it’s easy to get sucked into hours of non-stop work while food and activity become an afterthought.

If you neglect these basic pillars of health, medical issues are bound to creep up that could thwart your prized productivity.

Are you a task master? Task yourself with self-care. And if you schedule in health time, you’re less likely to ignore it. A study from California revealed that people who regularly recorded and shared their goals were 33 per cent more likely to achieve their objectives.

Tips:

  • Don’t forget to pencil grocery shopping into your day planner — or spring for grocery delivery — so you can execute those healthy, home-cooked meals with ease. 
  • Bring your lunch with you so you’re less likely to hit up the nearest fast-food truck when hunger strikes.
  • Set a regular exercise date with a buddy to keep you both honest.

3. The don’t shell out for out for extended insurance

The pros and cons of shelling out for disability, life or extended-health insurance are debatable, depending on factors like your cash flow, savings and financial obligations.

That said, one thing I always recommend is travel health insurance, whether you journey out of the country for business or pleasure once or many times per year.

Not only is coverage relatively inexpensive, but it could also save you from bankruptcy — not to mention save your life.

Tips:

  • Many credit cards offer travel health insurance if you use one to book the majority of your trip expenses.
  • Be sure to read the fine print so you know if important costs like emergency evacuation and treatment for pre-existing conditions are covered.

4.  They don’t research money-saving health tips

Extra medical expenses can add up fast when you don’t have extended health benefits. Here are a few simple tips to use when your cash flow is low — or if you just want your hard-earned money to go as far as possible:

  • Check to see if your prescription is available over the counter to avoid dispensing fees.
  • Ask your doctor for a higher-dose pill to split in half.
  • Request generic versions of medications.
  • Seek out schools for services like dentistry and massage.
  • Make use of government-funded programs like Bounce Back (for mental health counselling) or Leave the Pack Behind (for help quitting smoking).

And above all, remember that prevention is the best medicine. Focusing on your well-being now means fewer medical bills in the future.

 

This article was originally published July 7, 2017.