Achieving good health is one of the most important goals of your life. It ranks right up there with being happy, finding love and pursuing your passions. But good health doesn’t just happen — here’s how entrepreneurs achieve it.
You may be born healthy. But, over time, poor diet, a lack of exercise and poor lifestyle choices could soon lead you down the road to poor health. If your health suffers, you may not be able to fulfill your dreams or even have enough energy to push through a day. And that could have a detrimental effect on your business. The following healthy habits keep entrepreneurs thriving.
Stay mentally fit
Entrepreneurs never stop dreaming. But the ability to turn dreams into reality requires focused learning. That’s why as an entrepreneur it’s important to continually focus on topics that can help grow your business. For me, staying informed is part of my business, but I’m careful about the information I consume. Set mental goals and choose information that not only helps your business thrive, but also uplifts your spirit as a human being. Staying mentally fit should be part of your health routine, since it will keep your mind sharp. And a sharp mind leads to better decision-making.
All work and no play won’t just turn you into a dull person, it can also seriously impact your relationships and business career. It’s natural to be excited about a new business venture. But often, entrepreneurs become so engrossed in their business that it begins to supersede all other areas in life including diet, exercise, sleep, family time and social obligations.
As a freelancer, running my own writing business, work-life balance is something that I continually strive for. I come from a culture of overwork that often includes getting up early to work, working throughout the day (often missing meals) and working late into the evening. And let me tell you, exhaustion does not breed creativity. It can leave you foggy, drained and unable to form sentences.
Think of it this way: your brain is a muscle that, like every muscle, tires from repeated stress. That’s why countries like France, who moved to a 35-hour work week, and Sweden, who recently adopted a six-hour work day, report that through a better work-life balance productivity and worker satisfaction are up, and absenteeism and turnover are down. According to the Globe and Mail, European employees said they were more alert and focused thanks to shorter workdays, and they completed more work overall.
It’s okay to immerse yourself in your work, that’s what drives success. Just take a breather now and again and strive to keep your work-life balance in check.
When you’re working to meet a deadline, or have a lot on the go, it’s easy to skip lunch and opt instead for junk food. Furthermore, when stress is high your body craves high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” that ultimately lead to overeating, says Harvard Health. In the short term, stress can actually shut down appetite because a structure in the brain called the hypothalamus releases a hormone that suppresses appetite. But over time, if stress persists, the adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, which increases appetite.
Sometimes stress is inevitable, but you can combat stress-eating and keep your energy levels high by eating a high-protein breakfast. Coffee is great — I couldn’t live without it! But don’t try to live on coffee alone. Drink lots of fresh water throughout the day to keep your brain and body hydrated. And keep an arsenal of healthy snacks like seeds, fruit and nuts on hand, for grazing throughout the day.
Walnuts, for instance, have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. DHA has been shown to improve cognitive performance in adults and prevent age-related cognitive decline, according to BrainHQ. When you’re sitting behind a desk or in front of your computer for long periods of time, think of food as your fuel source.
Make exercise a priority
Without commitment, your business would surely fail. But the reality is that many entrepreneurs don’t commit themselves to getting fit. Being fit doesn’t necessarily mean that you must join a gym or even maintain a strict diet. Take time to exercise, walk, run or do yoga. A good time for that is early in the morning before your day begins. And try to stick to a routine every day during the week. A healthy body helps nurture a healthy mind. According to a UCLA study, exercising promotes cognitive health throughout life.
Setting goals and maintaining the discipline to achieve those goals are natural behaviors that entrepreneurs possess. Use your entrepreneurial strengths to create a healthier, more fit life.
Powernap your way to success
Many entrepreneurs know all too well the late-night grind fueled by last-minute deadlines. However, entrepreneurs that cultivate healthy habits understand the importance of a good night sleep for business success. Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution and co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post writes, “We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis.”
This, says Huffington, has profound consequences on job performance, among other things. Huffington suggests that sleep is often culturally dismissed as a waste of time. But a lack of sleep compromises health, decision-making and undermines work and personal life. The bottom line is this: whatever your work schedule, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And if necessary, include a power nap to recharge your batteries.
Successful entrepreneurs are dedicated to their craft or ideas, and they succeed through habitual and positive actions. Beyond your loved ones and friendships, nothing is more important than your health. Because without good health, all the riches in the world are meaningless.
— Katherine Marko