Health Tips for Small Business Owners

I was recently asked to give a talk to the BETR Business Networking Group in Northeast Columbia, SC about how to stay healthy as a small business owner. I wanted to give this talk from both a primary care physician (PCP) and small business owner perspective. I personally know the challenges of owning and running a small business in South Carolina very well! This is not a complete list, but here are a few selected topics that come up frequently at Noreta Family Medicine, so here we go!

Eat well –

While this may seem cliché, eating well is VERY important! Food is fuel. Just as gasoline gives our cars energy to run while cooking oil would damage the engine, we should eat food that will give us energy to run our businesses instead of slow us down. One small change that can make a big difference (and surprises many people!) is how much better they feel by drinking more water, and fewer sugary drinks (soda, tea, juice, etc.).

Exercise –

You may be aware of the recommendation to exercise 150 minutes per week, but how do you find the time to do that as a small business owner? Consider walking on the track while your kids/grandkids are at football practice, or around the school while they are at basketball practice. You can get a good workout at home too – YouTube has some great free videos and the library has exercise DVDs to check out!

Sleep –

I know this seems like a luxury to some business owners, but there is no replacement for sleep! What is the magic number of hours that you should be sleeping? It depends! You should be sleeping enough to both a) feel rested in the morning and b) not need to take a nap during the day.

Smoking/Nicotine use –

Everyone probably knows this is an unhealthy habit, but how do you change it? You may want to start by writing down the reasons that you would want to quit. There are quite a few options of aids, both over-the-counter and prescription, to help you cut back and quit after you’ve decided to make a change.

Alcohol/Drug use –

Small businesses come with (at least!) occasional stress, and some owners reach to alcohol or drugs to help them relax at the end of a long day. How do you know when your use has become more than just social/recreational? Have you ever felt like you should cut back? Have you been annoyed by someone else suggesting that you cut back? Have you felt guilty about your use? Have you got up in the morning and drank alcohol/used drugs as a way of getting over a hangover or to help you “pep up”? If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of those questions, then it’s time to talk with a professional! I strongly recommend you contact your primary care doctor to do a more in-depth screening.

Depression/Anxiety –

How do you know when day-to-day work stress turns into something more? Ask yourself 1) how much your work stress affects your enjoyment of life outside of work and 2) how many days a week you feel down or hopeless. If you are starting to feel this way more days than not, then please reach out to a doctor or mental health professional.

If you have any concerns about the above topics, that’s where a primary care doctor can help! As a small business owner, you likely work with an accountant, a lawyer, and other professionals because you are not an expert in those areas. Let your primary care doctor be another knowledgeable player on your team. Let your PCP take care of you so you can stay healthy to help your business thrive!

If you’d like to learn more about how Noreta can provide personalized and affordable care to you/your family AND your employees, give us a call! We contract with small businesses in the Columbia, SC area to provide medical services to employees even if the business does not offer a health insurance plan.

Have a good week! Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Melissa Boylan, MD, FAAFP
Family Physician and Owner of Noreta Family Medicine