The number of new small business owners and entrepreneurs is rising every day and prioritising your self-care is an integral part of success. What transpires is a vicious cycle; having insufficient time or energy to devote to regular physical activity and healthy eating habits is inevitable. It leads to both physical and mental fatigue, which invariably affects work.
It is frequently seen in the case of most entrepreneurs because there is a perception, that success is only attainable by driven, self-motivated individuals who possess a strong work ethic. While this could be true, these virtues are applicable only to one area of life for an entrepreneur – that is towards their business. If health is not high on your priority list, you may find yourself falling short of making the right choices when it comes to nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and other factors related to healthy living.
According to a recent survey by Michael A. Freeman, Sheri L. Johnson, Paige J. Staudenmaier & Mackenzie R. Zisser (2015) it was found that 30 percent of entrepreneurs participating in the survey, reported a lifetime history of depression, 29% said they were dealing with ADHD and a shocking 27% revealed experiencing feelings of anxiety.
In order to strike a balance and move towards a healthier lifestyle, as an entrepreneur physical & mental health should be one of your top 3 priorities in life. If not, both you and your business might have to suffer the consequences of neglecting your health.
Healthy Eating And Hydration
Eating a healthy diet and drinking plentiful water not only hydrates the body but also gives the body and mind essential nutrients and vitamins needed to function at an optimum level. Avoid eating unhealthy – eliminate foods such as sugar, white flour, processed and chemically enhanced foods, aerated drinks, caffeine and excessive amounts of alcohol.
One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. There have been a few studies that have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning.
Adequate Sleep And Recovery
Entrepreneurs are often driven to work long hours for days and weeks without breaks. For an average individual, 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal. When people are tired, the way they make financial decisions change. Instead of minimising loss, they start looking for risky big gains.
That’s a good reason to make sure you sleep before making any big purchases. The more tired you are, the harder it is to concentrate on something, and distraction can take a toll on both work and personal life. Researchers say that “attention tasks appear to be particularly sensitive to sleep loss.”
Strive For A Routine
Entrepreneurs often struggle with creating and maintaining structure in their daily lives because they often find themselves pulled in several different directions at once. Try to maintain a routine with your sleep, mealtimes and exercise timings. If it is scheduled in it is more likely to be completed.
Take Multiple Breaks
It is recommended that taking multiple breaks (listening to a mini mindfulness exercise, short walk & a cup of hot tea), during work and incorporating some affirming exercises can have a positive and healthy effect on individuals. Simple statements like “I can” and “I am capable” can get you back on track to achieve your goals.
At the beginning of each day, visualise achieving all the goals you have set for yourself. Imagine seeing, hearing and feeling (emotionally & physically) that you have achieved what you want.
Delegate And Relinquish Control in the Workplace
One of the biggest obstacles for entrepreneurs is knowing how much control has to be exercised and when it is the right time to delegate tasks to others. Delegating tasks to others frees up time which could help you pave the way to making smarter and healthier decisions for the betterment of your company.
Entrepreneurs are more susceptible to chronic stress since they find it impossible to set boundaries around the demands of work. For example, in a 9-5 workplace, it is easier to leave your work at the office, but not so simple if you own a business. Learn to say “NO” to the demands of others and yourself when necessary and take a breather.
Mindfulness Stress Reduction Techniques
Research suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning (Davidson et al., 2003; Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004) improvement to well-being (Carmody & Baer, 2008) and focused attention (Moore and Malinowski, 2009). All of which can in turn influence how you run your business in a healthy, productive and successful way.
According to the World Health Organisation, health is defined as: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” Your mental health is as important as your physical health, your diet and the success of your company.
If, as an entrepreneur, you are mentally or physically stressed, coping and building your business would be a challenging affair. Be self-aware about what makes you tick, what stresses you out, what puts you into a positive, fulfilled mindset.
About The Author
[The author of this post is Uthista Thota, Psychologist at YourDOST.com]