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  • Adele Leung

Body First

Driving milestones and figures is the aspiration in every corporate, and we do this excellently. The Asian mentality and lifestyle since childhood has been preparing our bodies to endure this, and it is demanded. For as long as I can recall, working non-stop has been familiar, everything else can be ignored. I grew up as a student that after school and upon returning home, I would do nothing but sit at my desk and study and do homework. Family enabled it, as I was never called to do housework nor was pulled up to other responsibilities in life. I was handed my food (like an invalid) and no one can bother me when I am studying. Often, the food I was given was ignored until it was too cold-and I would eat it only after I have completed my tasks, when I permitted myself to give my body a break.

Whether I took care of my body or self-cared, no one knew. For some years I think I didn't really brush my teeth before going to bed at night. My body was always put last, everything else is more important. I didn't know what I really liked and disliked. It was familiar that getting something done-an achievement, a list, a certain project, a deadline, completing things were important to me, in fact, it was so important that I often left the body out of the equation. I loved working so much, and that is something I would never compromise on, but was super aware of my body at the same time, so knowing I can't completely trash my body, I limited the amount of work I can do. The tension hit soon enough, when you can't say no to the work given to you, but your body is suffering as a consequence, what can I do??

I didn't have to answer that question, because eventually my body told me-it broke down and I had to completely stop, it was 12 years ago. It was such a precious gift to me then, as it was the beginning of putting the body first. The body that used to come last, now is in priority. In the beginning it met with a lot of resistance, but I kept going. I kept coming back to a humility and delicacy that I would not compromise, because of how much I treasure the body, now that it has had to be shut down previously.

Since then, the teams I have worked with have always been given the awareness that their bodies mattered. A happy and healthy body is a body that will produce joyful thoughts, the body movements will show intimacy and warmth. A body that is exhausted, protected, nervous, rushed will not be a body that shares warmth. We live in a city and a day and age where disconnection runs rampant, because our bodies do not really feel secure and nurtured-but we don't know why or how it can be.

These are all urgent and very important questions that companies should be asking-and we as human beings should be raising in our own lives. Do our family lives feel functional? If that is the case, and if we bring that to the offices, how on earth would office life feel connected and warm? If this feels normal to us, as it seems worthwhile because our work performance shines, we don't want to wake up one day not realizing the impact over the years, and become seriously sick, do we? It is so important to remind ourselves that our body is the vehicle that supports us to do every big and small task, it is the vehicle that would appear cold and lifeless to others or warm and supportive.

Results are super important but they are guaranteed an excellence in quality if employees are being put human, and thus, body, first.


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