Starting your own business can be an exciting time but also a stressful time. Creating healthy habits from the first moment that you take on this new endeavor will ensure that you practice self-care to avoid burnout. There are many different factors that influence your body’s ability to handle stress that, if out of balance, can only add to your anxiety. Ingraining healthy habits into your everyday life will protect your physical and mental health as you take on the world of business.
One of the easiest ways to beat stress is to get your body moving to generate those feel-good endorphins. According to the CDC, engaging in physical activities three to five times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you mental health benefits.
If you don’t think that you have time to go to the gym, find other ways to get your body moving. For example, take a walk when you are on the phone with clients or purchase a treadmill or bike for your office so that you don’t have to travel to put in the work. You don’t have to make working out a big ordeal to stay fit—short bursts of regular exercise will help add up over time.
It is easy to fall into the habit of eating fast food when you are always on the go, and ice cream always beckons when you want to stress eat. However, eating poorly isn’t going to do you any favors. Likely, it is going to slow you down and make you stress even further when you can’t keep up with your to-do list. Fast food is full of preservatives, fat and salt that all contribute to lower energy levels that will have you craving afternoon naps more than you already do.
Make sure you are eating a nutritious breakfast to start your day off right. Smoothies are fast and easy while packing a punch with a load of vitamins and minerals. Try your best to pack your lunch and bring plenty of healthy snacks to keep you away from the vending machines. If you don’t have the time to cook dinner, make it simple and try one of the many pre-portioned healthy meal delivery services that are all the rage right now.
You may hear many entrepreneurs tell stories about what being an entrepreneur will look like. Many will spout praises about getting to create your own hours, no longer having to answer to a boss and the long lost days of being micromanaged. All perks aside, you are now responsible for your own business, as well as your personal self-care. It is necessary to prioritize getting enough sleep to be more productive during your actual working hours. It is easy to lie in bed at night and make lists in your head of all the things that you have to accomplish the following day. To alleviate some of those worries, keep a pad of paper next to your bed—write the items down that are causing you stress and forget about them until the morning. There is little you can accomplish from bed—let that stress go and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
When you are working for yourself or invested in a social venture, it is easy to work the days away and watch hours disappear like minutes. Attempt to set yourself up with a work schedule that you can adhere to each week to avoid working yourself to the bone. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work 50 hours a week—just make sure that you are scheduling downtime for yourself.
Schedule vacation time well in advance so that you have something to work towards, knowing that you will have a break from business within the near future. Utilize an online calendar to outline your day to manage your time commitments and also designate time for work that aren’t necessarily face-to-face meetings.
In addition to scheduling free time, make sure to not forget about your friends. Humans are social creatures, and if you find that you are isolating yourself, entrepreneurship will become a long, lonely road. Try your best to not cancel and continuously reschedule with your friends. They will begin to question your priorities if you leave them hanging one time too many. Additionally, turn your phone off for quality time and give them 100 percent of your attention.
Although it may seem appealing, refrain from socializing in instances that only involve drinking with your friends at the bar. Anxiety-induced drinking is a dangerous combination and is unfortunately completely socially acceptable in today’s American culture.
Practice Meeting of the Mind
Taking each though captive is a craft and when you add it into your schedule this will protect your mental health, and your emotional health as emotions follow thoughts. If you have ever wanted to take up meditation or yoga, now is a great time to do it. There are many different yoga and meditation apps available that offer varying lengths of classes and guided meditations that you can do while in bed or at your desk. You don’t have to become a yogi to take each thought captive, though.
There are many different ways to quiet your mind, such as picking up an adult coloring book, journaling or going on a nature walk. Practicing mindfulness is a great example of self-care when working at a high stress level for most of your week. Make sure to work it into your schedule and treat yourself kindly while you grow as an entrepreneur.
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar
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