When Work and Wellness Collide

Why is it so easy to let work – outside the home and inside the home – run our lives? OK, I hear you
say “It’s because I need to… pay the bills / look after my family / meet these deadlines or I won’t have
a job to pay the bills…” We all have reasons why work and daily tasks run our lives.

It comes down to your Work Ethic. Knowing what’s right. Being responsible. Of course!

So, what about being well? Isn’t that another need to in our lives?

Most people I ask answer with a clear and resounding “Yes”. Yet, when work or getting things done
competes for time and energy, it’s easy to cast aside the focus on being well.

So, your Wellness Ethic takes second place – whether you intend it to or not. It can be as simple as
“I’ll exercise / catch up on sleep / eat better / take time out … tomorrow.”

One clue about why work often wins when it collides with wellness lies in who the boss is.

Work and daily tasks usually have an external boss. Someone we either report to or who relies on us
to get the work or task completed. There’s only so much flexibility. Work deadlines. Parenting
responsibilities. Any range of appointments. Schedules with very little flex.

Wellness is different. Driven by an internal boss named you. A boss that can be the hardest
taskmaster you’ll ever know – yet let you off the hook more as well. Often at the same time.


The Quest for Normal

This is where it gets tricky.

Your body and brain work constantly to maintain internal homeostasis. Even the slightest changes in
your body mean they automatically work together to bring things back to as close to normal as
That means everything. Every organ. Every system. Working silently together. Digesting food.
Moving from upright to sitting or lying down. Regulating temperature changes.

The silence starts to break when your mind or body needs help. It sends signals that something isn’t
quite right. An ache here, twinge there. If you’re used to listening, you’re more likely to read the
signals early and take charge before something gets serious. Like when you know you’re getting a
cold, and you take steps to get over it before it takes hold. Victory!

If you’re not used to listening, it can be more challenging. The signals may be intermittent – or
almost undetectable. Even if you are in tune, it’s possible to miss signs that anything is wrong until it
has become more serious.

Put another way, you know if you put sand in your petrol tank or water in your car engine, it would
cause serious issues. Immediately. So you don’t do it. Imagine if it was the same for your body!


Who’s the Better Boss?

Take a step back, and think about how we learn, grow, self-correct and move forward in life. What is
it that drives our development? That helps us excel?

Is it the people around you who never challenge you? That fix things for you?

Or is it the people you answer to? Who push you and hold you accountable? Teachers. Parents.
Bosses. Family. Coaches. Others we make commitments with.

It’s easy to say your internal boss is better. They’re empowered to do whatever they need to do to
keep you healthy and don’t hold you accountable in the same way as the external boss.

Are they better though? That depends on whether you prefer to make time to be well or to be


Waiting for a Catastrophe?

Human nature can be about pushing boundaries until they break. In health and wellness terms, this
can be as simple as eating poorly or not exercising. With no immediate consequence – like your body
stopping – it’s easy to do. Until something happens.

I’m talking about how it often takes a catastrophe before we listen. Catastrophes take all forms.
Minor illnesses like a head cold. Accidents. Chronic illnesses. Emotional and mental health

So, as empowered and autonomous as your internal boss is, it willingly accepts help, support and
guidance. This drives your Wellness Ethic. It can be as simple as going back to basics. Better sleep
routine. Less stress. More exercise. Standing more. Eating and drinking better.


Stopping the Collision

How do you stop the collision between work and wellness? You can start by being as conscious of
your Wellness Ethic as you are of your Work Ethic. This automatically helps set boundaries that put
you in the driver’s seat of your work, health and life.

Use these 7 Steps as a guide:

1. Recognise where work and wellness collide in your life and the impact.
2. Take stock of where you are now with your work, health and life.
3. Decide what you would like to be different – and what your new boundaries are.
4. Know and refine your Work Ethic.
5. Know and refine or develop your Wellness Ethic.
6. Develop a strategy to make the changes.
7. Take Action.


Small Steps

It’s easy to forget that “how we are and who we are impacts and influences what we do and how we
do it.” Or that we do our best work, and are the best to be around, when we are as healthy and well
as we can be.

Managing how your Work Ethic and Wellness Ethic live in harmony takes small steps each day.
Progress may not be obvious each day because results build. So, whatever steps you take today,
know that even the smallest can help avoid a collision.

And if it all sounds too hard? Think of it this way: If you don’t make time to be healthy, you’re
probably going to need to make time to be sick.


I’m a work-health-life wellness Strategist and Coach helping people build their business, career or life
– and have the health and wellness to enjoy it. I marry together my skills as a qualified Health
Consultant, corporate consultant, trainer and coach – and someone who’s started my businesses from
the ground up – with lived experience. If you’re curious about how to move from where you are now
to where you want to be, let me know: [email protected] or +61 493 119 721.