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Shredding The Myth: Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Be “Stressed” 24/7

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Tell someone you’re an entrepreneur and you invariably get hit with responses like, “Wow, you must be constantly working” or “how do you find time for a personal life?” While it’s true that belonging to the entrepreneurial “club” involves long hours and dedication, it’s also true that the related stresses can create problems that, if left unchecked, will render your new business meaningless.

According to the Harvard Business School, entrepreneurs beat out the general population when it comes to rates of depression and other mental health problems. If that’s a club you’d rather avoid, take some proactive and preventative measures for your self-care, even if that seems antithetical to being an entrepreneurial giant.

Add “health” to your daily calendar

You may be convinced that you can’t fit one more activity into your day. However, as an entrepreneur, you probably already had — or learned to develop — an innate ability to multitask, so schedule a regular appointment with your body to take care of its needs — physical, emotional, and nutritional.

While making time for exercise might seem like the biggest challenge, find ways to motivate yourself. Scheduling a specific time to go for a jog or to the gym with a friend or partner can help hold you accountable. They can also encourage you on those days when you’re tempted to cancel. Keep in mind that staying physically fit can increase your physical and mental endurance, which can only help your business. In fact, research indicates that body muscle strength in men can lead to mental strength, including less depression.

Another health habit to incorporate — that may seem dubious right now — is getting adequate sleep. After all, burning the midnight oil is likely the one college habit you revisited once you became an entrepreneur. However, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy — and it may even be counterproductive. A few tips to help you make the most of your sleep: Pay attention to your sleeping position. You may find you sleep more soundly on your back, for example. And if you and your partner can tolerate it, InternationalFitnessandBodybuildingNewsfeed.Org suggests that spooning can facilitate sleep and function as a stress reliever.

Realistically, you likely will still have days and perhaps even weeks of operating on inadequate sleep. Compensate with a few naps during the day. It’s not an indulgence — you may find yourself making better business decisions.

Finally, find a stress-relieving activity that you can engage in throughout your workday. For example, there really are no excuses for any individual to not incorporate breathing exercises into their daily routine. They’re easy, they work, and you can do them anywhere to relieve stress, like before your all-important investor pitch. What’s more, the American Lung Association points out that breathing exercises can actually increase lung efficiency.

Mastering time

The key to all of this, of course, is being the master of your time. As an entrepreneur, you’re likely somewhat of a “jack of all trades” — enough, anyway, to get the business basics running, from finances to marketing. However, you can’t — nor should you — keep that up, and there’s no better time than the present to start delegating. If you don’t have anyone to delegate to, then hire someone.

It can be a part-time or on-call delivery driver or a ride-sharing service to take you to appointments while you do work in the back seat (or your breathing exercises). A part-time assistant can take care of your calendar and return basic emails and phone calls. Online grocery and supplies shopping, for home and the office, can shave hours off the average shopping trip.

As you build your business and increase your workforce, keep in mind that managing employees comes with its own set of stressors that can easily snowball, undoing all of the good to your health you’re trying to accomplish, and disrupting your work-life balance. Take frequent, small breaks from your staff before tension escalates. Stepping outdoors is ideal as it’s an effective panacea to stress. Give yourself permission to take mental health and vacation days. If you don’t already have a policy for occasional remote working, set one, including for yourself. Be sure to set boundaries for your employees so they don’t encroach into your personal life and time.

Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy business

It takes strength and stamina to create a healthy business, and those traits can easily wane if they’re not nurtured, physically and mentally. Stress isn’t some perverted “badge of honor” that you should feel obligated to wear because you’re an entrepreneur. It’s time to shred those unhealthy and unproductive myths and direct some attention to the self-care tasks that really will allow you to be the best boss you can be.

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He writes for StrongWell and enjoys creating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65

Jason Lewis

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