As an entrepreneur, you are probably immersed in your work. You have taken a huge step, created a business (or businesses) and in the midst of creation and building, there is a good chance that you’ve put your health to the wayside. This shift of priorities is extremely common, but it can easily turn into burn out, health concerns like obesity, and illness if it’s not controlled.
Getting started on a new health and wellness regimen (healthy eating, exercise, quality sleep patterns, and more) can seem a little daunting at first, but the benefits will be evident almost immediately. Plus it will set you up to be the best entrepreneur that you can be.
We don’t like thinking about it, but an unhealthy lifestyle is an absolute precursor of preventable diseases. Conditions related to obesity like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. Therefore, it’s essential that entrepreneurs take the necessary steps of health and wellness, in order to help prevent these conditions from occurring.
Beyond exercise and nutrition, studies show the importance of implementing organized and daily habits, moving more, quality sleep patterns, unplugging and resetting your mind from time to time, and working smarter, not harder.
The research is clear: in order to utilize your brain and body at full capacity, a health and wellness regimen is essential. Since you’re already working under high stress, obesity would increase potential illnesses that could occur.
But where do you even start? You know what makes a successful business owner, but how do you start prioritizing your health?
Here are five ways to implement health and wellness into your daily life as an entrepreneur:
1. Organize and Prioritize Your Daily Habits
Before implementing an overwhelming assortment of new, daily habits, it’s important to focus on your current goals. Entrepreneurs deal with stresses and fears constantly, so organization is essential if stress reduction and goal-seeking are going to be a priority. For organizational guidance, get a small notebook or calendar to stay on task with your personal health and wellness goals.
Begin (or further) your journey by making small adjustments (go to bed ten minutes earlier, bring your lunch instead of eating out, etc.). You can always build on them in the future.
The small task you can implement immediately is prioritizing yourself. Start with 10-15 minutes per day where you place “busy” in your calendar for yourself. Even if you use those 10-15 minutes per day to sit at your desk and unplug your mind–that’s a start.
2. Move Whenever Possible
If your job is pretty sedentary, it’s difficult finding time for solid workouts. So it’s important to be creative with your methods. Instead of trying to squeeze in an hour of regimented fitness, simply build small portions of added movement into your day.
You could park farther away from your building and walk more, find 10-15 minutes to walk the stairs, or tackle a small 10-15 minute repetition workout in your office. Many fitness-oriented watches have alerts reminding you to move, which are very motivating.
3. Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time
Planning out your meals ahead of time takes the guessing game out of eating. It also makes it impossible for last-minute meal decisions that end up wreaking havoc on your body and productivity. Make it a habit to prep meals on occasion to help balance out your busy and hectic schedule.
In the past 15 years, research has linked healthy eating directly to productivity levels. In addition, other research has shown the importance of nutrition in relation to productivity: “Nutrition can substantially influence the development and health of brain structure and function. Nutrition provides the proper building blocks for the brain to create and maintain connections, which is critical for improved cognition and academic performance.”
In addition to planning out your meals ahead of time, have “back up” items in case a meeting runs longer than expected or you’re in a traffic delay. Think of things like protein bars, jerky, and/or nuts.
4. Develop a Sleeping Routine
Creating a sleeping routine can be extremely challenging for someone who hardly sleeps in the first place. It takes time and patience to reteach your body to sleep for longer periods of time. But a healthy sleep schedule is one of the healthiest habits you can instill in your life as an entrepreneur.
Start by removing your cell phone, computer/laptop, and any other distractions from your bedroom at night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding nicotine and caffeine within four to six hours of bedtime. In addition, they recommend lowering your alcohol intake since alcohol has been shown to lower the quality of one’s sleep.
Once you have established a routine that fits your lifestyle, you’ll find that your sleeping patterns will be much better.
5. Unplug and Reset Every Now and Then
Taking the time to unplug and rest is crucial, especially for overworked entrepreneurs. Don’t forget that your mind is important in all this. It needs the same attention and time that the rest of your body is getting. Take some time to unplug from technology and get out of the office.
Do something else that makes you happy. Turn your phone off, set out-of-office email responses, and/or ask your secretary to screen your calls for a while if you need a short unplugging or rest. In the long-term, go on vacation, explore, or just take a week to do stuff like playing video games or reading.
You Can Be Busy, Successful, and Healthy!
These five recommendations should be a great way to start making your health and wellness a priority even if you’re a busy and successful entrepreneur.
And these are the same for your employees, too. Employee productivity is directly related to company revenue and success. It pays to ensure both you and your employees are at their healthiest and most productive.
You’ve put in the work to build your business–everything from your business budget to your employment records. Now it’s time to put in the work to ensure you’re healthy, energetic, free of illness, and burnout-proof. Begin with these small adjustments and build onto that.
Your mind, body, and business will gain returns on the investment.
Rebekah Miller is a writer for EffortlessInsurance.com and MS of Kinesiology. She is a personal trainer; certifications: CSCS, NASM- CPT, RYT-200, and Precision Nutrition. She also founded and runs a strength and conditioning facility in Florida.