Writing here every day for the past decade has inspired many changes – chief among them is a higher degree of awareness about my response to various stimuli. One application of this awareness is a better understanding of how I (/we?) fall sick. I call it the germs and shields theory.
The premise of the theory is that we face attacks by germs throughout the course of the year. But, we naturally shield ourselves from these attacks when we make good regular health decisions – i.e. when we sleep 7+ hours every night, eat healthy, keep good mental health via good mental food and company, and stay active. However, when we go through periods when our ability to do some of this and take good rest is stretched, our shields come down. And, when they do, the germs hit us with some combination of the flu, throat pains, and so on. (Note: every once a while, if the germs don’t get us, we can also become accident prone)
So, what should we do when the germs finally get us? I think there are two constructive steps.
First, take a break and get those shields back up. Someone once told me that falling sick is the universe’s way of saying – “Dude, take a break.” While the germs should naturally see to this, it is worth putting a stop to any kind of work, switching off, and recovering. The more we postpone the break, the longer our shields will be down.
Second, take some time to think about what caused our shields to go down and how we can reduce its occurrence. My goal is to keep such occurrences to once per year. Such periods of frenetic activity are often not in our control. But, every once a while, we can walk away with powerful insights about changes in our operating model. Dealing with these issues now go a long way in preventing bigger issues in the future.
For example, my latest “shields down” moment is a direct result of not changing a few things as we settle into life with two kids under two. Making it a habit to take a personal day off every few weeks to just sleep in, get some admin done, etc., has never been more essential.
Simple actions can go a long way in helping prevent issues. And, as far as our health goes, the old adage – prevention is better than cure – is spot on.