back of man

Health and Trust: The wisdom of the body

If we were asked to list the top five priorities in our lives – personal and professional – odds are high that health would make that list.

Our own health and the health of those we love is our most precious resource. It allows us to be present, to be generous, to be productive and creative. It makes Life easier.

And so it’s ironic that, when we feel healthy, many of us take it for granted. And when we feel exhausted, we just ignore it, hoping that our bodies and spirits will miraculously repair themselves.

This is especially true when it comes to how we feel at work. Sitting still. Stuck indoors. Spending long hours trying to focus…we tell ourselves that ‘work’ just has to be the way it is. 

But our bodies have so much to tell us about what’s really going on. When I am worried for a good stretch of time, even if my mind won’t acknowledge it, my body asks me to pay attention via a migraine. When I’m too sedentary, my body lets me know she’s stiff. When I’m indoors too long, she craves sunlight. Fresh air.

back of man


The truth is, we’re nicer to machines than we are to our own bodies.  We know that our cars need regular maintenance and high quality fuel.  Without planned care, they can’t do what they’re designed to do.

Manufacturing lines aren’t expected to run at 100%.  We design in downtime.  Time for the machines to be cleaned, cared for and updated.  We design in time for them to rest. There is no such thing as 100% productivity.  Recovery is always part of the plan.

So let’s make another list. Let’s make a list of the top five ways we invest our time each week. Does caring for our health make that top five? Do we spend as much time investing in our health – finding restoration and rejuvenation – as we do answering email, cleaning the house or caring for others?

Luckily, we are not helpless.  We are swimming in a sea of information, from ourselves, each other, and the research.

We can redesign our personal and professional lives to be enlivening.  Less static. There is a ton of research to help us, starting with Restore Yourself: The Antidote for Professional Exhaustion.  We can share practical approaches to common challenges.

Let’s integrate our personal wisdom with the research about professional restoration.

Let’s trust what we learn and act upon it.

Sign up for Be Healthy to join the conversation about an enlivening work life.

Be Healthy: Designing Rejuvenation into Work
Fridays, 8AM – Noon
April 1 & April 29
Madison Concourse Hotel

(Register by March 25)


Katherine Sanders, PhD

Katherine Sanders, systems engineerSystems engineer, Katherine Sanders, helps leaders make informed decisions based on organizational research. She has a BS, MS and PhD in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in human factors and sociotechnical systems. Katherine focuses on the design and leadership of work systems that are not only effective and efficient, but also healthy for those who work within them.

Like this post? Check out the Be Effective Series to learn more.