Seven tips to look after your health as an entrepreneur

Are you prioritising your health over your work? Or are you letting your business run you into the ground?

It’s all too easy, when you work for yourself, to neglect your own needs in favour of your business. Indeed, many entrepreneurs work themselves as virtual slaves – no employee would put up with the kind of working conditions you submit yourself to!

But this poor treatment is incredibly short term focussed. Because while you can run yourself into the ground for a while, long term it will do neither your health nor your business any favours.

In order to have the energy, creativity and clarity to grow a successful business (and enjoy it), YOU need to be working at your optimum. And you’ll never be at your best if you aren’t caring for your physical and mental needs.

So, to help you be the kind of entrepreneur your business needs, here are seven tips to help you take better care of your health.

1) Get a good night’s sleep

How often do you get a good, unbroken night’s sleep of between seven to nine hours?

If you do sleep well, you’ll notice what a difference it takes to you the next day. You’re happier, more patient, and have more energy and mental clarity – all things that will help you in your business.

But not all of us are lucky enough to enjoy a full night’s sleep every night. If you have a young baby, or restless or sick toddler then, to some extent, your lack of sleep may be out of your hands.

But most of us can make simple changes to our life to help improve the quality and length of our sleep. This includes basic sleep hygiene, such as not drinking caffeine or exercising in the evening, and keeping your bedroom cool, dark and technology-free.

If you take your work troubles to bed and lie awake ruminating on them, then it can help to have a notepad and pen beside your bed. Write down anything on your mind or you need to remember on the pad, and give yourself permission to not think or worry about it now – that’s on tomorrow’s list.

It can also help to get into a set bedtime routine. Try to go to bed around the same time every night, and have a winding down routine that sends unconscious signals to your brain that sleep is coming.

Trust us, if you can sleep well every night you’ll feel like a new person and will have more energy and creativity to give your business.

2) Commit to a healthy diet

A nutritious and healthy diet is one of the fundamental requisites for a healthy body. But it’s all too easy when you’re busy to just grab a quick snack or lunch on the go to refuel. And not all of these choices are healthy.

It’s even more tempting, when you hit a mid-morning or afternoon energy slump, to fall back on caffeine and sugar for a quick and easy energy hit. But these are short-term solutions that give you an energy spike – followed by a slump and even greater tiredness and inertia.

It’s much better to eat proper, healthy, filling meals, and bring healthy snacks to work to satiate any hunger pangs. Drinking water can also help abate feelings of hunger.

Consider cutting down on (or, even better, cutting out completely) soft drinks and junk food. Instead, eat a diet rich in nutrients that fills you up with quality ingredients.

You’ll find you have more energy, clarity and happiness as a result – and your business will reap the benefits.

3) Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Can you remember the last time you exercised? If you’re a busy business owner, it can be hard to justify ‘wasting’ an hour in the gym, or going for a bike ride or walk.

But you need to remember that you’re not just a business owner – in many senses you ARE your business. And if you don’t take good care of you, then your business will suffer.

With this reframe, an hour spent looking after your body and getting fitter isn’t wasted – it’s essential. And as we’ll discover again and again in this article, taking time out to care for you will repay you in increased energy, focus and better decision making in your business.

You don’t need to run marathons or spend hours at the gym to reap the rewards of exercise. The simplest form of exercise you can partake in every day is walking, and you can tick this off your list just by walking to work. Take the pretty route if you need to get in more steps.

Other than this, cycling, running, and performing other muscle exercises will help to nourish your immune system. Exercising regularly not only enables you to build a healthy body but also creates a happier and more youthful mind.

4) Avoid sitting for long periods

It’s easy to lose yourself in work, or be so busy you can’t leave your desk. But sitting down for long periods won’t do you any favours. Not only is it not good for your physical health and posture, but it will impact your concentration.

So while you may feel like you’re working hard, in reality you’re slower, and making more mistakes (and poorer decisions) than you would with a short break from your desk.

Make a point then of taking regular breaks from your desk, even if it’s just to walk around the room – or maybe try a yoga pose or two. You can also consider alternative furniture options, such as work-friendly recliners and a standing desk.

5) Drink water

Did you know that the human body cells consist of as much as 73% water? So, as well as eating a good, balanced diet, remaining hydrated is integral to good health.

Too many people are unknowingly suffering from chronic dehydration, which leads to reduced cognitive ability, mood swings, and fatigue. It’s worth remembering that by the time you are feeling thirsty, you will already be dehydrated.

If you are an entrepreneur, working at the coal face of your business and making important decisions, you can’t afford to let yourself get dehydrated. You’ll tire more quickly, and could make poor decisions.

When staying sharp and energetic is as simple as drinking water regularly, it doesn’t take sense NOT to prioritise it!

The general wisdom is to drink between six to eight glasses of water a day. To make it easier for you to get your daily allowance, keep a glass by your bed and on your desk and fill it up when it’s empty.

Or simply swap your morning coffee and afternoon cup of tea for a glass of water instead. You might miss the caffeine at first, but you’ll soon come to love the feeling (and results) you get from drinking water instead.

6) Take a break!

If you’re a business owner it can be hard to justify taking a break. After all, who will run the company if you’re not working?

But you’re not a machine, and taking a rest sometimes is essential. Not only will it help to prevent burnout, but you’ll have more creativity, perspective and energy when you spend time away from your business.

So how can you take time off? Start by ensuring you get proper breaks during your working day. Enforce a lunch break and, if you can, take walks around the block during the day to get some fresh, air exercise and take a break from your computer screen.

Don’t be tempted to work through the weekend either. Yes, you may occasionally want or need the time to catch up on a project, but this should be an exception, not the rule. Allow your body and mind to rest at the weekend, and spend time with your family, friends and doing activities you enjoy.

Trust us you’ll return to work on Monday more refreshed, reinvigorated and with better ideas if you do.

If you have set proper systems up in place in your business, you should also be able to take holidays too – from long weekends away to weeks off.

A successful business relies on a health and happy entrepreneur to lead it. So treat your most precious asset (that’s YOU) with care!

And aside from your business, remember that this is your life. Make sure that every day is one you enjoy and live to the fullest. You don’t want to look back on your working years and lament the many things you missed through working too hard.

7) Get a Medicare plan

And finally, a good Medicare Advantage plan or health insurance plan will ensure that you are looked after if you become ill.

Having that peace of mind and knowing that will will be covered if you are sick can be a significant stress reliever – and one many people find important. It’s important though to compare Medicare Advantage plans and choose the right one for you.

Photo by Sincerely Media