Entrepreneurs must have big dreams and even bigger shoulders. Along with typical concerns like personal well-being and providing for a family, small business owners must also worry about the health and stability of their companies. While there are many benefits to the entrepreneurial life, the stress can easily stack up.
As the New Year draws closer, many entrepreneurs will likely take the time to set some business goals and reassess the ones of the previous year. One of the most important choices a business owner can make, however, is to take care of him or herself. A business runs better if its head is happy and healthy.
Here are four easy ways to achieve a higher level of wellness in the coming year:
Take Time Off
It may feel like your business will fall apart without you faithfully sitting behind your computer screen 24/7, but the truth is that you can better serve your client base and employees with some time away on occasion. Most sole proprietors and small business owners have no official time off on the books and tend to have an “always on the clock” mentality. Working from home or a flexible schedule is not the same thing as having time off. Schedule breaks during the day when you walk away from your computer and put down your smartphone. Even five minutes of solitude can provide a natural energy boost and lower stress levels. If you must take your laptop along on vacations, limit your work time to an hour or two per day and turn on an out of office email reply.
Find Time for Exercise
Living actively affects so many facets of life – your physical health, your mental agility and your attitude towards family, work and spirituality. You don’t have to add in a two-hour-per-day routine to reap the benefits of getting more active. You don’t even have to join a gym or buy exercise equipment. Put on some ankle weights and take a power walk around your neighborhood three evenings per week. Buy a few workout DVDs to do in your living room, or just look up some exercise videos online. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, like walking, or 75 minutes of more intense exercise like running or taking a cardio-heavy class. If exercise is an intermittent, or non-existent, part of your regular routine then set small goals and build up your endurance over time.
Pay Attention To What You Consume
Eating healthy goes beyond simply counting calories or skipping dessert. Certain foods are designed to give a natural energy boost, while others will leave you feeling empty and void of motivation. Try to keep protein-rich snacks on hand, including nuts like almonds or string cheese. Like anything in life and business, smart eating takes careful planning. Pack your lunch and try to eat at home when possible. For those times that you need, or simply want, to go out to eat, do some menu research in advance to pick the best foods. It is okay to splurge but do it consciously – not simply because you did not plan ahead.
Remember Your Mission
Revisit the reasons you went into business for yourself in the first place. It is important to remember the calling you heard before your business took shape. Making money may be in the definition of a successful company, but entrepreneurs know there is more to it than that. If you do not have an official company mission or vision statement, write one and have it somewhere handy to review. In the hectic moments, look at it and remind yourself what it is that you are truly working to achieve.
Your business is only as strong as its leader. Take some time for you in the coming year. Your clients, employees and bottom line will thank you.