3 Tips To Improve Your Health & Well-Being as an Entrepreneur
Let’s face it—working long hours while trying to balance competing priorities can be stressful. It can involve working additional days, staying late and waking up at 5 a.m. to reach your goals. With so much on your plate, like relationships, children, aging parents, work and finances, chronic stress can be damaging to health. Been there, done that, and it felt utterly exhausting. I came to realize that if I continue on this road, drowning in too much work and overwhelm, I could end up reaching the point of no return. Burnt out and exhausted to the bone, I was on the verge of bidding farewell to a wellness practice teaching clients the exact opposite: cultivating wellness in the workplace and their personal life. The three things I incorporated into my life—mindfulness, more activities outside of work and more human interaction—made self-care the priority it should be. And to help you give yourself your best, let me share some tips to keep you grounded on your lifelong health journey.
Tip One: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you relax, slow down and stay fully present. The idea is to shift your thoughts away from your everyday concerns, worries and uncertainties toward whatever arises and what you are sensing and feeling at each moment. It is a state where you observe your emotions and surroundings without reflecting, thinking or judging.
You are focusing your attention on whatever happens within and around you and what you hear, touch, see, sense or smell without interpreting or labeling. Being in the present and fully engaged with where you are and what you are doing enables you to maintain moment-by-moment awareness instead of worrying about the future or digging into the past.
Mindfulness or mindful meditation can therefore be a tool to accept feelings of worry, fear and anxiety as they happen, simply acknowledging they are there. You’re doing the exact opposite of resisting your feelings because what you resist tends to persist in your reality. Instead, you let the feeling be, flow and go as it is.
Tip Two: Engage In Activities Outside Of Work
Managing a heavy workload can have a number of negative effects, including fatigue, chronic stress and poor performance while contributing to health problems. There needs to be a balance or fine line between your work and personal life. Mental detachment from work through leisure activities can be one way to unplug, relax and stimulate your right brain. A clear delineation between work and leisure will help you to slow down, unwind and effectively recover from work.
Engaging in leisure activities is never a waste of time, offering health and psychological benefits such as reduced levels of anxiety and stress, improved mood and higher satisfaction with life. Finding time for leisure activities is an act of self-care that can lead to renewed energy, focus and motivation, whatever form leisure takes. It can span from organized activities such as sports, contests and volunteering to unstructured or informal activities like playing strategy games, knitting or hiking. Whether it’s doing a glacier hike, joining a horse-riding camp, sunbathing or going to the cinema, leisure time will give you much-needed rest from work as well as some thrills and satisfaction.
Tip Three: Have A Social Life
In the early days of starting your practice, you may be working on your own and not bringing on employees. While being a solopreneur can have its benefits, like a higher level of control and low expenses, it can feel like a lonely journey. While a 9-to-5 lifestyle involves socializing, team-building activities and cutting loose at events, solopreneurs need to take a more proactive approach to have a social life.
The truth is, interaction and social connection are key features of being human. We are inherently social beings, and having a caring social circle provides us with a sense of support, purpose and connection. Regular social interaction and strong connections with family, friends or co-workers play an important role in how satisfied, safe and loved we feel in our lives. When we are in a caring relationship, we are putting our love and energy into making others happy and well. We are also vesting into our own physical and emotional well-being so that we stick around for each other for longer.
Our inherent need for human companionship and closeness makes us seek connection. A demanding job, however, can limit the time that we have for socializing and building meaningful connections. This makes it even more important to make an effort and time to socialize, whether you are an introvert or no longer the social butterfly you used to be. Having a human connection can take many forms depending on what feels comfortable to you. You can join an entrepreneur meetup group, volunteer for a cause, reconnect with an old friend, get a pen pal or introduce yourself to community members. Explore different options that you feel comfortable with to meet your social needs. In a world of over 8 billion people, you shouldn’t feel lonely or socially isolated.
While entrepreneurs take pride in working long hours to build success, they often find it hard to create a self-care space. Yet, how we start and end our days, what we do on weekends and holidays, and how well we practice self-care have an effect on our well-being and satisfaction with life.
Carving a space to relax, unwind and do whatever it is that makes you feel good is key to taking care of yourself on an emotional, physical and mental level. Whether it’s mindfulness, engaging in a hobby, socializing or anything else that resonates with you, you should find ways to nourish your body and mind, achieve inner calm and restore your energy.
This article first appeared on forbes.com
Photo: The New York Times
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