The first wealth is health. That’s according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, the iconic American poet, and philosopher. Every entrepreneur understands the wisdom in that profound quote. If you’re exhausted and experiencing brain fog, you’re not going to be as productive as you want in your business. The entrepreneur’s life can be exciting and rewarding. But if you’re not careful, it can also take a toll on your mental and physical health.
There are long hours, uncertainty and stress. The intense nature of entrepreneurship can eventually lead to burnout. Your performance might suffer, causing further stress. The good news is that you can, indeed, have it all. A few simple healthy choices can help you have more energy and mental focus. You’ll be able to increase your efficiency and productivity without sacrificing your health and well-being.
The typical health advice for entrepreneurs goes something like this. People tell you, “Oh, you need to relax more.” Or, “Quality sleep is critical for your well being as a business owner.” But that sort of generic advice isn’t beneficial. How can you relax when you’re stressed about client deadlines? Maybe you try to get to bed at a decent hour but have trouble falling asleep. Let’s take a look at four simple things you can do today to feel more relaxed, have more energy, and get better sleep.
Incorporate a mindfulness practice in your daily routine
Mindfulness is a mental state where you are focused on being aware of the present moment. You can focus on your breath, thoughts, feelings, or sensations in your body.
The most common form of mindfulness practice is meditation. You take 10-20 minutes each day to sit down and train your awareness to focus on the present moment.
Some of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the world swear by their meditation practices. Among them are Tim Ferris, Arriana Huffington, and Ray Dalio. And for a good reason. The University of Miami conducted a seven-year-long study. They found that a consistent meditation practice resulted in better mental focus. It also prevented age-related brain decline.
There are a few ways to get started with meditation. You can search for instructions online or join a class at a local yoga studio. Also, Headspace is a popular app for beginners.
Exercise for better sleep and lower stress
We cannot overstate the benefits of exercise. Whether it’s weightlifting, running, swimming, or yoga. Physical activity can improve every aspect of your life, including how you run your business.
Regular exercise can impact your performance in several ways. You will have more energy, which will increase productivity. It can also help you sleep better, so you wake up in the morning feeling rejuvenated.
Research has shown that exercise can enhance brain health. It can improve memory and protect against mood disorders like anxiety. So, you feel relaxed and mentally sharp at the same time. The benefits of exercise are clear. But a common challenge is that you may feel tempted to skip the gym after a long workday.
You’re much more likely to skip out once you cosy up on the couch and turn on the TV. For an added boost, consider an energy supplement. The problem is that most of these will not be healthy to consume and full of artificial ingredients. But the brand Naked Nutrition does offer a natural pre-workout supplement without artificial sweeteners, flavours or colour and is third-party tested. It’s also certified vegan and one of the brand’s products that are available in both the U.S. and UK.
This way, you can get that extra motivation needed to make it to the gym which is one of the best things you can do for your health long-term.
Clean fuel for increased productivity
Last but not least, try to improve the quality of your diet as much as possible. We all know that we should eat a balanced diet. We should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats.
But it’s not only what you eat, but also what you avoid. When you’re out there busy running your business, sometimes it’s just too easy and tempting to pay a visit to the fast-food drive-through.
When you don’t have access to your kitchen, high-quality snacks can go a long way in avoiding unhealthy, processed foods. They can help satisfy your hunger or cravings, and hold you over till you get home. But most quick snacks are not healthy even if that’s how they’re being advertised. A simple tip to start snacking better is counting ingredients and reading them. Generally, less is better and chemical-sounding names like Isomalto-Oligosaccharides along with unhealthy Palm Oil are a good indicator the protein bar or snack is not as healthy as advertised.
Boost performance with intermittent fasting (IF)
Intermittent fasting is the practice of doing “mini-fasts” each day, or in chunks throughout the week.
For example, some people do a sixteen-eight routine. They eat all their meals within an eight-hour window each day. And they only drink water, tea, or coffee (with no milk and sugar) during the remaining sixteen hours. So, maybe they eat all their meals between 1 PM and 9 PM. Then they skip breakfast the next day and eat lunch again at 1 PM. Others do an alternate-day fast. They eat one day and fast the next. This is a more advanced version of IF.
Intermittent fasting is a relatively new trend in the Western world. But the concept of fasting has been around for ages. For centuries, traditions around the world have used fasting for various therapeutic benefits.
While most people do fasting for weight-loss, it can have some significant benefits for entrepreneurs. Studies have shown that IF can boost brain performance in animals by generating new nerve cells. It can also help maintain stable blood sugar levels, which means your energy levels won’t fluctuate throughout the day.
For entrepreneurs, another benefit of fasting is that it eliminates one or more meals that you now don’t have to worry about. It’s one less decision during the day, allowing you to focus on more productive tasks.
If you’re new to IF, it’s best to get started with a smaller fasting window. Maybe only fast for 12 hours each day in the beginning. You can increase your fasting time as your tolerance grows.
Final thoughts on health and entrepreneurship
A few healthy choices can add significant value to your life as an entrepreneur. It will help you operate at an optimal level, both mentally and physically, so you can maximise your productivity.
Take some time today to plan out how you can incorporate exercise, mindfulness, fasting and natural supplements into your routine.