IT’S that time of year; we’re all making and breaking New Year resolutions and looking at the trends predicted to run through the coming year. 2017? It seems to be about business health, that of the owner and ultimately the company.
Have you bought your “workleisure wear” yet? Apparently workwear with “activewear DNA” is office-appropriate gymwear and every entrepreneur will be sporting it this year, as we are encouraged to go from office to gym and vice versa with no excuses. Google searches on self-care are up 121 per cent. And “nesting” at home is the new going out; while some of us older folks are reluctant to appear tired and boring by backing out of social plans, Millennials are unashamedly focusing on avoiding early professional burnout with dedicated “me time”.
Even in Scotland, with our internationally renowned poor diet and shorter life span, we are becoming more aware of the importance of managing business-related stress.
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Katrina Mather is founder of The Body Toolkit, a unique retreat being hailed by entrepreneurs who’ve experienced the positive effects of the unusual therapy.
Mather launched her award-winning business in 2014 after realising that the concept was the first of its kind in Scotland. The retreat idea was inspired by her search for better solutions to her own health issues, small changes to her diet and lifestyle, which in turn were making dramatic differences to how she felt and worked. Demand for her “toolkit” is growing as stressed entrepreneurs finally begin to appreciate that their own ill health is bad for their businesses.
Mather thinks it’s “absolutely fundamental” for us all to prioritise our health – it’s the foundation of everything in our lives, she says. “According to the Oxford Dictionary health is ‘the state of being free from illness’, but to be honest I find that pretty uninspiring. For me, health is ‘thriving’ not just surviving, it’s having all the energy you could wish for and ultimately ‘being the best version of you’. “Imagine how much more productive our businesses would be if the people running them were truly thriving?”
More people at the retreat are suffering from stress and anxiety, which affects more than just mental wellbeing. Many struggle with poor energy, digestive issues, sleep problems and muscle and joint pain as a result.
“The pervasive presence of stress is now affecting most of us on some level,” explains Mather, “but it’s now being proven that stress increases our risk of death five-fold. Stress not only dehydrates the body but it also causes inflammation, and we know that behind all chronic disease lies inflammation. “In 2017 preventable chronic diseases (ie lifestyle diseases) are now the world’s biggest killers, therefore it’s more important than ever to prioritise de-stressing and looking for ways to reduce inflammation in the body. The whole experience is about resting and nurturing the body back to optimal health – it’s certainly not a bootcamp – and I ensure that guests return home with the tools they need to maintain their results.”
Michelle Rodger is a communications consultant