Look after your own greatest asset

Have regular check-ups and enjoy a healthy, well-balanced life 12 months of the year.

Career-driven professionals work like crazy for 11 months of the year, ignoring niggling health issues because there are seemingly more important issues to be dealt with – deadlines to be met, projects to be completed, products to be launched, commitments to be honoured, and so on –

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, because you have an important position in your company and that many people are relying on you, you can ignore your health.

Typically, come December each year when many professionals take a break from the office, they reflect on the past year and how things went. The conversation in their minds goes something like this: “Wow, this was a tough year. I really felt the pace and pressure. I must make a point of not working so hard next year and look after my health more. I’m not getting any younger and I need to take care of myself more.”

That’s a good conversation. Only problem is that you’ve probably had that conversation every year for the past five or 10 years and nothing’s changed. Let this year be the last year you have it.

Make some changes

Start changing the way you view your health and wellness by understanding that your health is your most valuable asset. Remember how you’ve told others that people are the company’s greatest asset? Well now it’s time for you to understand that your health is your most valuable asset.

What about your partner and family, you wonder. Of course they’re important, but if you can’t get out of bed because of ill health, you will certainly not be able to give them your love and share the fruits of your labour with them.

Have regular check ups

If you’re not having an annual medical check-up, start having one! You might think that regular check-ups are unnecessary. Would you be prepared to fly with an airline that did not maintain their planes regularly but waited for something to break down before repairing them? Thought not. Yet you are quite happy to use the same policy when it comes to your health. Check-ups help prevent problems as your doctor can identify potential health issues long before they become a problem.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The older generations would go to the doctor because they were ill. Now you go to the doctor so that you don’t get ill.

Apart from the usual checks like heart, blood pressure and cholesterol, ask your doctor to test your homocysteine level too. Many doctors don’t test this. Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid that builds up in the blood due to contributory factors such as chronic stress and regular coffee intake.

There are no symptoms for high homocysteine levels, so, if your levels are high, you’re walking around like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. That’s because high levels result in unannounced heart attacks and/or strokes. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your future. Get your homocysteine levels checked. An optimal level is nine to 11. If yours is over 15, you’re in the danger zone for a heart attack or a stroke!

Your doctor can recommend steps to reduce your homocysteine level. These include certain supplements, managing your stress and cutting down on all that coffee. If you’re living a stressful life, you may also be suffering from adrenal fatigue and your DHEA levels will be low and your Cortisol levels high. These can and should also be addressed.

Adrenal fatigue will make you feel flat and tired. With the right care, you can give your adrenal system a holiday too. That will make you feel so much better and a lot more energised, both physically and mentally.

Start looking after your health in 2016. You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are. Why risk losing it all just because you failed to have regular medical checks?

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, an age management and self-mastery coach to senior executives, and the author of best seller What nobody tells a new father, available at Amazon.com.

This article appeared in the December 2015 issue of HR Future magazine.

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