5 ways smart entrepreneurs look after their health
When the Dali Lama was asked what surprised him the most about humanity, his answer was:
"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.
Then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present,
and as a result he does not live in the present or the future.
He lives as if he's never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."
It sure is exciting being an entrepreneur! Knowing that your ideas and inventions have the power to change people's lives for the better. Then there's the networking at parties, interviewing with the press, and monitoring the success of your latest launch! But all the buzz, thrills, and adrenaline can also leave you feeling pretty exhausted.
If you haven't caught up with the cool kids yet, listen. Smart entrepreneurs are now looking after more than their bottom line. Whether you're still struggling to get financing or VCs are beating down your doors, your most important asset will always be your health. It's easy to succumb to the pressure of a deadline, the need to pay bills or outperform the competition. But if all that stress weighs a little heavy on your shoulders, you're probably putting your health at risk.
Sitting at a desk all day doesn't just make your back, eyes, and neck ache. It can contribute to diabetes, cancer, and a host of other diseases. Kathleen Hale, founder of Chair Free Project, encourages entrepreneurs to get moving, standing, and walking, instead of sitting in their chairs. Because prolonged periods at your desk is a one-way ticket to burnout, check out these tips for keeping your body as healthy as your profits.
- Deskercises. If you don't have time for long sessions at the gym, try incorporating Hale's Deskercises into your daily routine. From torso twists to toe taps, move your body at regular intervals. According to Hale, one particular area that holds a lot of stress is the jaw--"when the pressure's on, we tend to clench our jaws."
Holding all the tension in the jaw muscles can lead to neck stiffness and painful headaches. To release the tension, open and close your mouth five times. Then twist your jaw to the left and right five times each. Try to find a moment when no one's looking, though, just in case they would think you're watching a rerun of The X-Files.
- Start Your Day Out Right. According to keynote speaker and Miracle Morning author Hal Elrod, how you start your day separates successful entrepreneurs from the pack. Elrod recommends incorporating six key principles--silence, affirmations, visualization, writing, reading, and exercise--into your morning routine. But if you can't see yourself penning an article, meditating to Chopra, and getting to the gym before you start your day, your miracle morning can be condensed into just six minutes. Instead of stumbling out of bed or erratically trying to find your briefcase or keys, try being mindful about your day ahead.
Exercise to Your Mood. Forget about signing up for regular classes you never have time for and try exercising based on your mood instead. If you need to clear your mind and process your thoughts, think about taking a yoga class. If you're feeling revved up, release your energy at a CrossFit session. And if you're one step away from exhaustion, try a gentle Pilates or stretching session. Not only will you get the workout that your body needs, but you won't feel guilty about missing a class or wasting money on subscriptions.
Eat Healthy. If you've heard the expression you are what you eat, then why are you still shoving slices of greasy pizza into your mouth over your desk? You're filling your body with processed carbs that are hard to burn off and can leave you feeling sluggish--and frankly, you aren't doing your keyboard any good either.
If you've got a sticky space bar and a lethargic tempo after lunch, be smart. You wouldn't fill your gas tank with tar or animal fat. So don't clog up your arteries with unhealthy empty carbs. Try fruit and nuts instead of candy and donuts and consciously think about what you put in your body. After all, healthy body, healthy mind, right?
Sleep Better. Around a quarter of U.S. workers suffer from chronic or intermittent insomnia. Indeed, according to Arianna Huffington, "we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis." Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep doesn't reflect just in your ability to fill out Excels or deliver killer presentations.
Not getting enough z's also has profound consequences on your health. You may find that exercising at night helps your body unwind or drinking a glass of warm milk or spending less time looking at the screen. You may need something a bit stronger.
Whatever works for you, make sure you do it. If you're planning strategy into the small hours and rising before the sun, get real. Try prioritizing yourself over your project for once. Or better yet, start realizing that your health is every bit as valuable as your fortune.
These are the strategies our team has deployed at Trepoint so we can deliver better marketing campaigns, and I'm confident that they can support you and your team for a longer, more vibrant work environment.
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