Staying Emotionally Healthy as an Entrepreneur
I spent the better part of Monday morning crying into my coffee and talking to an uninformed Quickbooks employee about my software troubles. That wasn't what I had planned for the start of my week, but my meltdown set the day off on a rocky foot. Around 11:00 am, I got a text that my receptionist was sick, and no one could work for her besides me, so I rearranged my day to spend the evening at the studio. As an entrepreneur, plans get derailed on a daily basis.
I am a self-proclaimed planner, but when you own a business, there's an element of surprise that never fails to rear its ugly head. For instance, Ross and I were on our way to ski last Saturday when the power went out in my studio, right before a full morning of classes. Of course we turned around, dealt with the issue for about 30 minutes, and then proceeded to drive the 2+ hours to the mountains. It wasn't what I had hoped for my first day off in weeks, but it was reality.
I have thousands of stories like the ones above, but the message of this post isn't about the tough things that happen as an entrepreneur - it's about how you handle them. During year one, I remember hoping for a day when the stress wouldn't feel as heavy. Nearly 4 years later, I can honestly say that I rarely feel that the burden of entrepreneurship is too much for me, but that's not because my responsibilities have changed; I'm just carrying the stress differently.
My passions for wellness and nutrition not only keep me grounded, they have helped me to realize that prioritizing my emotional and physical health in business is the best thing I can do to be a good leader for my people.
If you feel like you're drowning in the work you have to do, let me be clear: you cannot keep going at this pace. In order to grow a healthy and sustainable business, you must craft a lifestyle that allows for longevity and freedom. These are the practices that have benefitted me the most, and I truly believe that they can do the same for you!
1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Let's get the tough one out of the way, shall we? As a business owner or maybe someone with a side-hustle, it is tempting to work all. the. time. But, by shutting down the technology and going to sleep at a decent (and consistent) hour, you will help fight adrenal fatigue, weight gain, exhaustion, and the need to caffeinate all day long. There's nothing that you can do to make up for lost sleep, so it's better to be proactive about it. I love to drink Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement, before bed because it also aids with digestion and relaxation.
2. Move Daily
Even if you aren't an exercise enthusiast, it is so important that you move your body and get your blood flowing on a daily basis. Stand up from your computer, walk around the block, hit up your favorite studio for a class, and take time to refocus on something else. I promise that your mind will be sharper and your stress will be reduced when you sit back down to get to work.
3. Eat Food that Supports Wellness, Not Your Cravings
America is full of stress-eaters, and I get the temptation. When the day is tough and you have skipped meals or fed your body with sugary carbs, the end of the workday can bring the temptation for a cocktail, a rich bowl of pasta, and chocolate to wash it all down. The problem is that, by establishing irregular eating habits and spiking your blood sugar throughout the day, you are setting yourself up for disaster and the inevitable crash. Instead, eat in regular intervals and fill your meals with protein, fat, and greens before starchy carbs. Even if this requires a little bit of meal prep on the weekends, your body will be happy all week long.
4. Focus on Relationships
This is the most crucial step for maintaining emotional health in my book. When I allow my career to become my life, I forget that crafting a great life is why I wanted to start a business in the first place. Schedule social time, vacations, and no-screen intervals. I try to do a daily devotional to get my mind right before I even dive into work for the day. Other entrepreneurs I know meditate, practice yoga, walk the dogs, etc. Find what works for you, but make sure it's not work.
Your routine doesn't have to look exactly like mine, but incorporating these elements into your day will drastically reduce the level of influence your business has on your emotional wellbeing. Do you have wellness practices that keep you sane? Share them in the comments below!