Why do we not make enough time for ourselves?

I am a work in progress!

From a young age I have always struggled with perfectionism.

I always put far too much pressure on myself to achieve my goals and exceed other people’s expectations.

Unfortunately, this means that whenever I take a break from work, go on holiday or relax in any way, shape or form, I get ill.

In the last 10 years I have had 4 operations, multiple hospital stays and several consultants because of stress and not looking after myself properly.

It is not a secret that I have experienced many ups and downs in business.

My latest practice Jo Wood Virtual FD is my most successful and profitable business and I do not think it is a surprise that it is also the first time I have put myself first. Now, I am not a finished article, more of a work in progress..

In August this year our holiday in Spain was cancelled due to Covid19. It didn’t matter because I was looking forward to a break and seeing family and friends here in the UK. 2 days into the break I started to feel sick, then dizzy, then extremely unwell. It was a horrible inner ear infection called Labyrinthitis. This was the end to our staycation as I was bed bound for days after doctors’ orders.

My problem is that success for me also leads to illness. I always put my heart, my soul and everything into my new ventures, but nothing good comes from an empty cup.

In April 2019 when I was made redundant from my position as a Finance Director, I was shocked, hurt and sad. I knew I had no choice but to dust myself off and start my own practice (again). This time it had to be different though, I knew I could be a success deep down, but the thing that worried me more than anything was my health. I knew from previous experience that if you don’t have your health, none of it really matters.

Like anything in business, if I’m not the expert I go and find someone that is. So, it was time for me to outsource my health to a team of professionals. I already had some great consultants that were eager to help me to reduce my reliance on pain killers and knew that I was my own worse enemy. I took on a health coach. She helped take me through a detox and then helped me become really curious around the decisions I make and how they impact my life. I was to do this from a neutral position, no judgement. That was my first challenge. My monkey mind finds it much easier to put me down than just observe. Over time she helped me to love and respect myself and my body. I hadn’t realised, but I had grown resentful. As if it had let me down over the years. It wasn’t my body that had done this, it was me.

After 6 months with her I had started to invest in myself with a personal trainer once a week, with a sports masseuse to help me recover from my training, a nail technician to make me feel at my best and a visceral masseuse who could tell me what was going on with me from the inside out.

As I said I’m a work in progress. I was still ill in August, but at least it was a virus rather than a slipped disc, twisted bowel or a trip to the stroke ward for a week. For me this was a big improvement!

We may be running a service-based business that needs to focus on our clients and their needs, but if we don’t put ourselves first each and every time, our clients, partners and children suffer.

Don’t feel guilty about stepping away from the computer for a five-minute sit down in the garden with a cuppa. In my house my mantra now is “If mamma’s not happy, no one is happy!”.

You cannot give your best and help others if you are running on empty.

Take the time to think about what you enjoy, what makes you laugh and helps you relax.

Make more time for you.

Chronic stress is a serious issue – I know!

Put yourself first as a priority. I promise your business, clients and family will thank you for it.


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