Today, we’re fortunate to hear from guest blogger, Paloma Belara. Among her many accomplishments, she is the founder of boutique PR firm, PapaLoDown. In this post, she gives us good reason to practice preventative care. It’s good for your body – and your budget! Particularly, if you’re an indie hustler working without the benefit of health insurance. Read on and enjoy!

There’s an old saying, “Your health is your wealth”, and if you don’t believe that yet, you will when it’s too late. Running your own business and managing your career is a full time, 24/7 job where “sick days” don’t exist. Preventative health care is your best bet in keeping up with your hustle, and in the long run, saving you money.

What many of us fail to acknowledge is that our health and stress levels directly affect each other. I recommend approaching your health plan through mind, body, and spirit, as the three are connected to one another and keeping them balanced is key. It took me breaking out in hives and developing a food allergy to realize my stress was endangering my health. My body was giving me warning signals, and I didn’t even realize it until the damage was done. Now I can’t eat anything with soy :(

Although it’s a constant challenge living a low- to no-stress life, there are steps we can take to live fit. Below are some tips and ideas that have helped me over the years.


Whoever said “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, was probably a very unhappy person. The truth about sleep and rest in general, is that it allows your brain and body to repair itself. Try going to bed early and sleeping a full 8-10 hours for at least 2 weeks, and I guarantee your mood will improve, you won’t feel as stressed out, and your creative juices will be flowing! The best part about sleeping your way to health is that it won’t cost you anything, unless of course you decide to splurge on a tempurpedic mattress.


  • If you feel your energy dipping in the afternoon try taking a power nap instead of filling up on another cup of coffee.
  • Drink water throughout the day. I always start my day with a glass of water, hydrating your body and brain is a no-brainer!


If you’re afraid of needles, acupuncture may be a challenge to consider as part of your health plan, but don’t knock it till you try it. This ancient practice of traditional Chinese medicine has become much more common and the health benefits are pretty amazing. From my own experience, I started going to acupuncture due to food allergies induced by stress, and after 9 months of consistent treatments, the allergies have almost disappeared! Through my weekly sessions I learned that these tiny needles can ail almost anything, from a cold to a sprained ankle to insomnia. What I enjoyed most about my acupuncture sessions was a quiet space to just lay still and relax.


  • Finding the right acupuncturist is really important, so try different offices if you don’t like the first one you go to. For those of you in San Francisco, I highly recommend visiting Bu Tong Acupuncture in the Mission ( The office is affordable, clean, soothing, and provides great service. Try their “Happy Hour” and community sessions for the most bang for your buck.
  • If you’re not into the needles, you can ask for “acupressure”, which is more like a massage and still effective.


Did you ever think that your happiness is related to your health? It’s true, how you feel mentally and emotionally does have a direct impact on how you feel physically. So doing things that make you smile and feel good need to be part of your business plan. This can be a financial challenge since many things that make us smile and feel good are associated with spending money. The saying “the best things in life are free” applies here. Whether it’s taking your dogs to the park, making time to laugh with family and friends, going for a run, or watching waves crash at the beach, you don’t have to bust out your wallet to feel good about life.


  • Instead of ordering take-out or fast food, take the time to cook a healthy meal for yourself. Choosing ingredients, prepping, cooking, and even cleaning up, is a great way to get your mind off your to-do list and enjoy some down time. Of course, your favorite Pandora station and a glass of wine in the process won’t hurt either.
  • Dance! Yes, dancing can be a spiritual act and we should do it as often as possible. Not only will you get your heart racing and some cardio into your day, but you will feel energized from it as well. This doesn’t mean you have to go to a club… dancing at home with the music loud and no one watching can be just as liberating, I promise ;)

As an independent hustler, I know what it’s like to not have health insurance, work long hours into the early morning, and often find yourself battling a cold. After living and working like that for several years, I realized I was burned out (and I also lost trust in the health care system). So I adjusted my diet, made time to be outdoors instead of inside sending out emails, and enjoyed living life like a marathon instead of a sprint. The tips I shared here have helped me regain control and live in equilibrium: Proof that you can still be productive and not have to sacrifice your health in exchange for success.

I hope these ideas and experiences spark your own preventative health plan and a well balanced year ahead. What are you currently doing to stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit?

* For additional info on stress and your health, Paloma recommends you watch the documentary, Stress: Portrait of a Killer, when you have a moment.

BIO: Paloma Belara was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and gives credit to New York City for developing her business savvy state of mind. Her education and career began in the fashion and retail industry, and transitioned into the music business at the height of the digital media boom. Inspired by progressive artists in the Bay Area, Paloma began to explore youth empowerment programs and activism, and found her passion in supporting the progressive arts community through public relations. Combining her experience in these fields, she founded PapaLoDown, a boutique PR firm specializing in a client base of educators and activists in the fashion, art, music, and entertainment industries. Paloma has led youth programming in partnership with Beats Rhymes and Life, and the East Bay Asian Youth Center, and is currently working as Battle Director with the Estria Foundation in Oakland, CA.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated. Please let us know what you think. Contribute any of your own favorite preventative care tips in the comment section. And you may also share this info with others who can use these great suggestions when you click the buttons below.