By Therese Merry Heeg

Is it really possible to make a life while making a living?  As a life/work coach, I believe the answer is “Yes.”

I have to admit, I learned the hard way. When I first started my business, I was working day and night. I looked at all of the work to be done and said to myself and my coach “If I don’t do it, who will?”

I ignored the exhaustion that was impacting my health and my relationships. I ignored the ache in my neck until it prevented me from being able to switch lanes when I was driving, because I couldn’t turn my head.

I finally had to admit my work had taken over my life.

I realize now that the vital first step to making a life while making a living is to identify the signs early on. Do you recognize any of these?

  • Feeling of being rushed all of the time?
  • Having a nagging headache or neck ache?
  • Checking email day and night? Seven days a week?
  • Saying to yourself and others “If I don’t do it, who will?”

Even when we see the signs, it is hard to adjust. I know it was scary to cut back my hours when I was in the start up phase of my business. But guess what? My business grew. My clients were happy. I was healthy.

Refuel or run out of gas

The author Stephen Covey asks “Have you ever been too busy driving to take time to get gas?” Well, you eventually run out of gas. I hope you give yourself permission to refuel before it is too late.

But . . . you may be thinking, “What about those times when you have to work long hours to keep up with demands?”

During those times, there are still ways to refuel.  Here are some examples:

  • Keep a pitcher of water at your desk
  • Pack a healthy lunch vs. no lunch or junk food
  • Step away from your desk to eat lunch
  • Get up and stretch every hour
  • Leave the office for 10 minutes to go outside for a breath of fresh air
  • Take time to prioritize and delegate – you cannot do it alone
  • Invest in the best tools possible to reduce stress and strain–A headset to prevent neck ache – a faster computer . . . apps to remind you to stretch, breathe, and hydrate.

The pay off

One of the biggest pay offs beyond your own health, is the ripple effect — by taking better care of yourself, you will create a healthier environment not only for you, but also for those around you.

According to the National Wellness Institute, there is a national epidemic of stress at work causing sixty-two percent of us end our day with work related neck pain. About the same percentage are sleep deprived. This simple list of suggestions can help you and your team suffer less pain and get better sleep.

And in the end, you will bring better energy to your clients, your customers and your loved ones, while still accomplishing your goals! If you don’t believe its possible, give me a call and I will walk you through how to get started!

Therese Heeg is passionate about helping clients take better care of themselves so they can take care of business. She has spoken regionally and nationally about building resilience in the workplace. To book her for your organization or explore working with her as your coach, email [email protected] or call 414-732-9700.

LifeWorks stands with all of those working toward racial justice and equity.

We vow to listen and learn in order to be agents of change both through the work we do and how we live.

We stand in solidarity with the BIPOC communities in Milwaukee and across the country.