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Personal Health

10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Running a Company

It won't matter how good your numbers are if you let your health go bad.
10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Running a Company
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Serial Entrepreneur
8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you’re working to build a business, it’s easy to put your own needs aside so you can devote as much time and energy as possible to making your venture succeed. But neglecting your own well-being is just as bad as taking your eye off the numbers or forgetting to follow through with projects.

Even in the midst of running a hectic business, you have to take care of yourself. Though it might seem strange, self-care should be an important business goal. If you allow unhealthy habits to seep into your life, you’re probably also letting your productivity slip.

Along with the demands of your business, you need to make sure your health stays a priority. Follow these 10 important tips to keep yourself (and your company) in tip-top shape and you'll continue to thrive along with your business.

1. Check in with your mental health.

Running a company often requires long hours and hard work. Unfortunately, this can lead to the perfect storm of feeling overwhelmed, stressed and isolated. You may feel so busy and focused on work that you don’t even realize that these feelings are taking a toll on your mental health. It’s important that you stay connected to your feelings and do regular mental health check-ins.

One option is to start a bullet journal. Journaling can help you gain clarity on your emotional state and identify a pattern of harmful behaviors. A bullet journal offers a format that’s easy to follow and can help you visually keep tabs on how you’re doing. It will allow you to easily log habits such as diet, sleep, physical activity, alcohol and caffeine consumption, stress levels and social activity.

2. Find ways to laugh.

There may be times while running a business when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Choose laughter when you can. It will make a huge difference in relieving stress and helping you get through difficult times.

Finding ways to laugh makes us happier and healthier, and allows us to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. We can find humor in all sorts of things, whether at the ridiculousness of a situation, finding amusing things to read or watch, or simply hanging out with people who see the funny side of any situation. Make it a goal to have at least one good chuckle every day.

Related: Humor Them. A Well-Timed Laugh Speaks Volumes.

3. Be social.

Humans are social beings. We thrive on social interactions and find comfort in supportive communities. No matter how busy you get, don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Make time for friends, family, partners and children -- all the people who matter to you.

Developing and nurturing these bonds is an important element of emotional, mental and physical health. It’s not always about the amount of time you spend socializing; rather, it’s about the quality of the time spent with those you love. Make an effort to put your cell phone and other digital devices away. Strive to be in the moment, engage others and build genuine connections.

4. Manage stress.

Stress brings with it a slew of negative emotions and can adversely affect your health. Learning to manage stress is key for anyone who is grappling with the pressures of running a company. One great way to manage stress is to take control of difficult situations and find solutions to problems that would otherwise leave you feeling upset or overwhelmed.

This means being more proactive in managing your time, prioritizing your schedule and commitments, and learning to set boundaries and say no when need be. Take control of your day and work to proactively solve the issues and problems that would otherwise weigh you down.

Related: 9 Ways High-Performing Entrepreneurs Handle Stress

5. Get moving.

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Being active can mean having regular workout sessions in the gym or playing a sport, or it can simply mean incorporating more movement and activity into your day. Getting your body in motion on a regular basis can help you improve your health, lower your blood pressure, boost your mood and deal with stress, anxiety and depression.

We should all aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. However, you don’t need to do it all at once. It can also be broken up throughout your day, such as walking or riding a bike instead of driving, taking the stairs when possible, or even taking a break to get up from your desk and do stretches, lunges or other calisthenics throughout your day.

6. Build your mind.

No matter how much you have learned, no matter how much education you amass or how many experiences you live through, you should always continue to develop and grow your mind. Your mind is your most important resource -- your thoughts and actions stem from the inner workings of your mind.

By understanding and developing your mind, you can direct your behavior the way you want it. And if you hope to build a successful company, you should be striving to build and train your mind by constantly challenging yourself to learn new things.

7. Set a routine.

One of the most important hacks for dealing with exhaustion is to simply avoid allowing yourself to become exhausted. The best way to do that, and keep up with everything else on your list, is to set an intentional routine that works for you -- and then stick with it.

That may mean getting up every day at 5 a.m. so you can exercise and have time to meditate before diving into a hectic day. It may also mean setting a firm bedtime, which allows you to get a full night’s sleep, giving you the energy to power through all the things you do.

Play around with your schedule and make adjustments to discover what works for you and what routine you can keep up over the long term. Once you lock that in, your body and mind will get used to it; it will become a habit. You’ll find your routine brings you peace of mind and creates space for a productive day.

8. Eat a healthy diet.

When we’re feeling rushed and stressed, it can be all too easy to grab fast food or mindlessly snack on junk food instead of planning meals or finding healthy snacks. But when our bodies are poorly fed, stress takes an even greater toll on our health and makes it harder for our bodies and brains to function optimally. Eating healthy is a basic way to support both your body and mind when you're feeling under pressure.

Related: 12 Ways to Eat Healthy No Matter How Busy You Are

Some tips that may help:

  • Eat regularly -- this keeps your blood-sugar levels more stable and helps your brain perform better.
  • Consume healthy fats -- include omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in walnuts, flaxseed and fish oil, as they also support brain function.
  • Eat high-fiber foods -- this is associated with greater alertness and decreased perceived stress.

9. Recharge and rest.

Entrepreneurs are among the worst offenders when it comes to being workaholics who don’t get enough rest. Many never take time off because they believe it will negatively impact their ability to stay ahead or become successful. If we make excuses that we have too much work, how can we possibly make time for a full night's sleep or take time to recharge?

These excuses keep us from getting the rest we need and operating at our best. Make sure you recognize when you need rest. Giving your body and mind enough sleep and down time to feel rejuvenated and recharged will allow you to be more productive and focused during working hours.

10. Get a checkup.

Nobody loves taking time out of a busy day to go to a doctor’s appointment, but getting a regular physical is an important part of staying healthy and catching any medical issues before they become a bigger problem. You may be doing everything on this list, but that still doesn’t negate the need to see a doctor.

If something doesn’t seem right, or you’re feeling “off,” make sure you get yourself checked out. And that goes for all aspects of your health, such as getting dental cleanings -- that surprise root canal will ruin your day and seriously cut into your productivity! Keep your medical appointments, and remember to continue to prioritize your health and well-being.

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