How to Deal with the Health Threats of Being an Entrepreneur

April 9, 2016

1:14 pm

While being an entrepreneur is one of the most amazing jobs in the world for sure, the trade-offs for your health may not be that alluring.

According to an analysis conducted by Gallup-Healthways for The New York Times, entrepreneurs tend to eat healthier foods and exercise more often than other workers, yet they are also more exposed to stress and are less likely to have health insurance. As a person, who wears many hats daily and is responsible for staying motivated and leading the team no matter what, you also need to align time for self-care.

As we all know – a healthy entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur. And here’s how you can keep both physical and mental health hazards at bay.

Dealing with “Entrepreneur” Anxiety

When the fate of your company and your team is concentrated in your hands, a certain level of anxiety is unavoidable. You keep thinking you can do more and better. You always feel personally connected to any type of work related situation.

On top of this, there’s this sentimental stigma surrounding entrepreneurship, which Toby Thomas, CEO of EnSite Solutions compared to a “man riding a lion” analogy:

“People look at him and think, This guy’s really got it together! He’s brave! And the man riding the lion is thinking, How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?” – explains Thomas.

Certainly all of the above pumps up your stress levels and create anxiety, which is rarely spoken off in public.

Here are a few clever tips to beat it:

Do not answer emails after 7 pm. Anxiety often leads to worse sleep, which in turn results into worse overall physical and mental health, excessive weight, low focus and a bunch of other unpleasant issues. Resist the urge of being always-on and always available. Let your mind slow down and go to sleep with “Whatever it is, I’ll deal with it tomorrow” mantra.

Accept that a certain level of failure is unavoidable. Do you stop searching for your soul mate after you have been heartbroken once? Nope. And you shouldn’t stop doing what you do or aiming for pure perfection from the first attempt when it comes to your business. Some ideas fail. Learn to accept it early on and re-adjust, rather than stubbornly pushing the same line no matter what. Learn from your failures and move on armed with new experiences.

Join an entrepreneur group. It’s important to share your feelings and thoughts with people, who walk the same walk. You may be surprised to know how many of your peers share the same fears and anxieties. Check out Meetup for any events in your area and google the local co-workings for events. Alternatively, you can always volunteer to start one yourself.

Avoiding Common Physical Health Hazards

Despite having flexible schedules most of us still find themselves glued to the desks for over 60 hours per week, especially during the company’s early days.

Sitting dubbed as “the silent killer” or “the new smoking” should be the first of your habits to address. Set up naggers reminding you to stand up and stretch or make a quick office workout. Stand desks have already won a great array of fans with manufacturers becoming even more creative and now offering desk modifications with bike pedals underneath. Embracing walking meetings is another smart move to do both for your team’s and yours health.

Water quality. According to Ukmedix blog, you should drink between 2-3 liters of water per day to stay healthy. Your brain is over 73% of water after all. However, your average tap or bottled water may not give your body enough nourishment due to its low quality and pollution in most major cities. Instead opt for ionized or alkaline water as many doctors now recommend.

Air quality.  Indoor air pollution is now ranked among the top pollution threats in the US. You may have not realized it but the air inside your office may be polluted with more chemicals than the air outside around a busy road. Low air quality results into reduced concentration and memory – the two functions of major importance for entrepreneurs. When was the last time someone inspected and cleaned your air conditioning systems? Regular audits are essential to keeping everyone in-house healthy and paying less in insurance bills. Holding meetings outside on sunny day and buying more office succulents is another option to consider.

Stay healthy and work more productive!

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She’s slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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