The Health Jigsaw; a Confusing Puzzle or Simple Balance?

health and safety May 13, 2018

We heard the term “health jigsaw” some time ago now, and it’s really stuck with us. Health is a complex topic as it involves a number of different aspects, so it’s not surprising many of us lose focus and fall off the healthy wagon from time to time.

Thankfully, the days of health being the silent partner in the health and safety industry are long gone, in fact there’s so much going on around occupational health at the moment that it’s difficult to keep up!

The media seems to be full of different health stories these days too; diet, types of diets, diabetes, mental health, exercise, mindfulness and wellbeing… we could go on. With so much information to take on board, it’s easy to get confused, especially as information often contracts advice from other sources.

Recently, we’ve been reading The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee. The book looks at four areas of your life, which Dr Chatterjee calls “pillars”; relaxing, eating, moving and sleeping. It helps you focus on each of these four areas of your life separately, while at the same time, encourages you to work on all four pillars equally to create a balance. The message Dr Chatterjee puts across is that if you focus on just one thing without looking after the other three, you won’t have balance within your life.

It’s a simple mindset, and one that really resonates with us. “Thinking about the four pillars made me realise that I often focus on one thing; exercise or food or sleep, so I don’t always consider all of the pillars in balance.” Explains Bridget Gilmour, Hundred Acre’s founder and director.

“The idea of balance fits for me as I’ve mentioned many times over the years that there’s no such thing as work-life balance; it’s just balance. Keeping up with a number of things little and often, and focusing on what needs to be done when and how with lists and actions, helps us move forward. The same principle applies to health. If you eat well though don’t do anything else, you’ll be doing some good, but you could still make improvements. The same goes for sleep or exercise. If you exercise every day though eat badly and don’t sleep well, it won’t do you as much good.”

We apply this simple strategy in business every day without a second thought, so it’s interesting to think that most of us don’t apply it to our health, unless we make a conscious effort to. Take our safety management system, for example. The four parts of the plan, do, check, act management system could be the four pillars. By considering each part in sequence and equal measure, the management system is stable. Considering one part more than the others will cause the system to become unstable, and ineffective.

We always ask our clients to keep thinking about their systems and encourage them to build foundations and habits one by one to find the balance that’s right for their business. While our clients do that, we’ll keep reading about the four pillars and reflecting upon them with our Hundred Acre world in mind, while we strive to find the perfect balance that’s right for us in all that we do.

So, is health a jigsaw, a puzzle, confusing or discombobulating? Whatever you think, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s incredibly important and a topic we shouldn’t ignore. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject too.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help organisations improve their occupational safety and health, please don’t hesitate to call us on +44 (0)1908 201103 or write to us via our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into our Hundred Acre world.



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