The gift of the common cold – a reminder to take care


I am reminded this week of the delicate dance between the body and me and that I ignore my body at my peril. I’ve learnt in recent years that we are all a sum of body, soul and mind – even if it feels like it’s mostly the mind in charge. I’ve also realized at some personal cost that you can only ignore an aspect of yourself for so long – eventually, you need to re-balance.

I’d like to say it started with some overseas travel.

I spent a week in New York City at the end of November. I was there on a client engagement but managed a day on my own. I thought I was taking it all rather easy. I had plenty of time to adjust to the time zones before my workshop. I even snuck in a lovely evening dinner with my client’s team.

But I never adjusted to the jet lag and wrote of the day I returned by sleeping all day and all night. After this big dose of sleep, I was back on my usual routine of solid workdays with a dash of exercise.

And now it’s the first week in December and I have a nasty cold. Nothing death defying – just that low-grade icky feeling with a sore throat, tight chest, nagging cough and general lethargy.

It’s a reminder for me is to look after myself. This is something as a startup business owner I find hard to prioritize. My corporate clients find it similarly challenging. The continuous go-go is not sustainable, and our bodies do an incredible job supporting us well past the point of reasonable.

What I am curious about is that whilst in the middle of the business of being busy, it all seems just fine. When I get sick like I am now, I reflect back on where did I start to go off the rails with the busy-ness and it’s hard to know.

So what do I make of this? I tell myself to be more careful everyday and to be more mindful of the over-doing and under-being. It’s a reminder to re-institute the little rules I have about working on weekends (no), and business hours. It’s a nudge to get back into the exercise routine. It’s a reminder to slow down and smell the roses.

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