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The Importance of Balance

L&P Benson Ltd is a family run insurance broking business established for over 40 years which provides insurance broking across the entire insurance market. During his presentation to Network4Business, Peter Benson, director of L&P Benson, told us how he learned of the importance of a work-life balance.

Our businesses are very important to us as individuals, and crucial of course to the UK economy. Lots of business owners and their employees work hard to drive their businesses forward, striving for efficiency and growth, and there's nothing wrong with that. Many argue however that the country often seems obsessed with growth. It's certainly important that we all have balance in our lives.

This was brought sharply in to focus for me, very much out of the blue, back in July. One Saturday morning I had tightness in my chest, could "see stars" and although I thought it was a bit odd, naively I thought it was something that I would quickly shrug off. My thoughts were "I'm only 58, fit and well, this can't be happening to me". It left me feeling washed out but due to this "carry on" mentality I didn't see the Doctor until the following week when blood tests and an ECG confirmed I had had a heart attack. Within a few hours I was in a hospital bed, then followed by several days assessment and monitoring, then finally a fairly routine procedure to insert three stents in blocked arteries. My consultant, who was brilliant, summed it up by saying "your plumbing has been fixed, now go and live your life".

Since then I've been attending weekly Cardio rehab exercise sessions which I've really enjoyed, being a framework to enjoy other activities during the week. Importantly these have been "appointments with myself" and is something I intend to carry on to ensure a healthy mix of work and pleasure. Work focus is often better after a walk, a swim, merely a change of scenery, so it's a "win win". I do appreciate it's often not easy to fit these breaks into a working week but if the constant "nose to the grindstone" mentality is always adopted I'm not sure that there ever will be a healthy life/work balance. There are clear benefits to having regular breaks so I do wonder why more of an effort is not made to ensure the balance is always good.

Good life balance is of course linked to mental health which is still not spoken about as much as it should be, although perhaps we are "getting there". When we ask "how are you?" what do we really mean - I suspect many of us would say we're asking about someone's physical well being, but every one of us has mental health, as well as physical, of course. This is almost always improved by ensuring that we give some time to ourselves allowing "our minds to breathe".

So yes, work smartly but I'm trying to make sure my balance in life is better to ensure I'm healthy and happy. I'm finishing this now, taking the dog for a walk in the park.

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Peter Benson, Director of L&P Benson Ltd