If you're like most small business owners and solo-preneurs, you love the freedom of being on your own. But I know, from my own experience, that it takes a lot of hard work, filled with long hours, self-imposed anxiety, and often a relentless business travel schedule.
That crazy, non-stop business lifestyle may be eating you alive. And it's no wonder. There's little time for exercise, eating right, de-stressing, and generally concentrating on health and well being.
The good news is that earning a living doesn't have to cost you your health. Especially if you make time for yourself.
You are what you eat
Drinking coffee all day? Snacking on junk food filled with salt, fat and sugar? Or skipping meals altogether? At the end of the day, that lifestyle makes you into a constantly wired, overweight, sad, and hungry mess!
There's little time for sticking to a healthy diet and preparing food every day. So what do you do?
Try to stay ahead of the curve, food-wise.
Here are a few of my favorite healthy food tips:
Don't skip breakfast. Mom knew what she was talking about when she said breakfast was the most import meal. It gives you energy all day and helps you concentrate. I always prepare steel cut oatmeal on Sunday nights -- and make enough for the whole week. I store five individual servings in mason jars. I pull out one mason jar every morning and heat it up. I mix in some nuts and berries. Bam! It's the best way to start my morning.
Cook a bunch of chicken breast over the weekend. Then, keep the chicken in separate bags in the fridge to pull out as needed. Or mix them into a stir fry to heat up at the office. We all need our protein and I found that the more you can prepare ahead of time, the better. This is a great option for those of us running around like crazy.
Buy small packages of veggies (or pack them up yourself) and stick them in the fridge at work. Baby carrots, celery sticks, jicama, and bell pepper pieces are great nibbles. This is the best treat you could give your body! Veggies, baby!
Bring along healthy snacks when you're traveling, like fruit and nuts or celery and peanut butter. My go-to travel snacks are always goji berries, almonds, Larabars and some yummy kale chips! Oh and don't forget the coconut water. My ultimate favorite.
Lay off all that coffee and switch to good old H2O. You'll feel a whole lot better and save money, as well. Okay, I won't lie to you... I have two cups of coffee in the morning. But that's it. After that, it's yummy water/coconut water. (Err, maybe a glass a wine on the weekends! Hey, I'm not perfect!)
Blend up a healthy and delicious green smoothie, made with nutrient-packed fruits and veggies. I love juicing, too! Always start with your base being cucumbers -- and then mix in your favorites. I love kiwi, green apples, cucumbers, kale... you get my drift. Smoothies are great (especially if you can use almond milk and whey protein, too).
And remember to pack your lunch and snacks the night before, instead of squeezing more into your already rushed mornings. Planning ahead is the key to healthier eating.
Can I get an Ammmeeeen!?
Exercise your option to stay active
According to a Nerd Fitness post, "Strength training wins ... From an efficiency standpoint, no other type of exercise gives you as much bang for your buck ... So, if your time is limited, and your focus is staying healthy/losing weight, you need to be strength training."
Space out your workouts, especially if you have limited time. Do squats, push-ups, lift weights, sit and stand at your desk... and just stay active. Even it's only for 10 minutes at a time.
It's great if you can work in time for a visit to the health club when you're at home or on the road. But you can stay active even if you can't get away from the office or meetings.
Boost your mental resilience
Your mental health is important, too.
Elaine Chin's article tells us how important it is to de-stress. She defines mental resilience, " as your ability to recover quickly from emotional difficulties." And goes on to say that:
Preparing yourself mentally takes discipline and training ... It's so much harder to deal with the inevitable ups and downs that can occur if you aren't taking care of yourself. But if you've developed mental resilience, you'll find it much easier to let it go. You have to (repeat after me) be active, eat right and sleep well to be mentally resilient.
She recommends getting up from your desk frequently throughout the day, doing deep breathing exercises, and practicing meditation to deal with unexpected stress and build your mental resilience.
Learn to say "no"
I just read a great article in Forbes by Jan Bruce, an entrepreneur, wife, and mother of two.
She emphasizes that, "The key to staying sane, healthy, and productive under constant pressure is learning how to prioritize your many responsibilities ... and just say 'no' when needed."
You simply have to draw the line or delegate work. That will help you maintain your health, add value to your own life, and ward off self-destructive guilt.
She says that you will feel better and sleep better when you can say that simple, two letter word.
Here's why your health is so important
Your happiness is at stake. The 18th century poet Leigh Hunt tells us, "That the groundwork for all happiness is health."
I think Buddha sums it up best with, "To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."
If you want to run a successful business, you have to stay healthy and happy. You will find that your lifestyle will be a little less crazy.