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To Your Health

Is your business killing you? How to break your bad habits and pick up better ones.

It's safe to assume that you're pretty fond of your business. It's the salt on your pretzel, the sand on your beach, the water in your garden. It's what makes you tick. It ought to make you tick; after all, you've likely thrown yourself into it, body and soul, just for the wonderful feeling of being an entrepreneur and growing something from a mere seedling into a strong, healthy plant. What you might not realize is while your plant is busy getting strong and healthy, it could be killing you.

"Entrepreneurs are at a very high risk of compromising their health because of their jobs," says Gayle Reichler, founder and president of New York city wellness firm Active Wellness. "A lot of us feel we're invincible; we work long hours and feel it, but we keep driving and driving, and pushing and pushing. But it's critical for entrepreneurs to work [wellness] into their routines."

Reichler ought to know. As she pursued her graduate studies and prepared to become a nutritionist and health counselor, she spent years ignoring the effects of stress on her immune system, as well as her family history of thyroid and heart diseases. So when Reichler was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1991, it was like a cold slap in the face.

But Reichler saw her illness as an opportunity to better herself. Now the healthy, happy 35-year-old has made wellness part of her life, not just a fleeting fancy. You, too, can create a healthy lifestyle for yourself, provided you have the will and the knowledge to make it happen. So let's get you started. Are you intrigues? Psyched? Good. You've taken your first steps toward getting well. Now get out your highlighter.

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Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: To Your Health.

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