Entrepreneurship is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity for many professionals. You get to create something that's uniquely your own, make your own schedule and rules, surround yourself with the best people you can find, and hopefully, use your enterprise to build a life of wealth for yourself.

But entrepreneurship also comes with its share of challenges; you'll work long hours and face tough problems on a daily basis, and these are more than just stressful annoyances. After some time spent accumulating, these entrepreneurial burdens may cause you to suffer additional health consequences.

Afflictions Associated With Entrepreneurship

These are just some of the health consequences you might face as an entrepreneur:

  1. Insomnia. Chronic insomnia plagues many entrepreneurs, with a variety of root causes. Some entrepreneurs feel driven to work as long as they can every day, staying up late and sacrificing the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep to get more work done. Some can't fall asleep because of the extra stress they're experiencing. Either way, you'll need to get help for this problem, relaxing your mind, dedicating time to sleep, avoiding caffeine, and getting exercise, or else it will make all the other problems worse.
  2. Depression. Some entrepreneurs find themselves facing depression. They don't spend as much time as they used to outside, exercising, or engaging in hobbies they enjoy. They don't spend as much time with family, and may feel isolated due to their unique position. Over time, this can result in clinical depression, and the best way to break out of it is to change up your routine, seek therapy, and start taking better care of yourself.
  3. Anxiety. You'll be making big decisions on a regular basis as the leader of your company, and that can produce a ton of anxiety, especially when compounded over time. Meditation and relaxation exercises can help with this.
  4. Addiction. When experiencing stress, you may turn to substances to help you cope, such as alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, or even excessive amounts of caffeine. In any case, most substances will only make your physical health problems worse, and the longer you engage in the habit, the harder it will be to break.
  5. Hypertension. The chronic stress and working conditions of entrepreneurship can also lead to hypertension, better known as high blood pressure. This, in turn, can increase your risk of heart disease and other heart-related conditions.
  6. Obesity. The stress of entrepreneurship will make it easier for your body to store fat, and you'll be more tempted to make unhealthy food choices--on top of that, you won't have as much time to exercise, so you'll almost certainly gain weight. The best countermeasure here is a preventative commitment to healthy foods and regular exercise.
  7. Migraines. Migraines are especially common in entrepreneurs--even if you've never experienced one before. You'll usually find them during the onset of an especially high load of stress, so try to take plenty of breaks throughout the day, and get lots of sleep so your brain gets the rest it needs.
  8. Sexual dysfunction. A combination of working too hard and being too focused on your company could make it harder for you to perform sexually--or even desire affection at all. Unfortunately, this can drive you further into isolation and depression, which can make all your problems even worse.
  9. Vision problems. Staring at a digital screen for too long every day can lead to computer vision syndrome, a collection of symptoms that affect your eyes. Thankfully, this is mostly preventable, so long as you give your eyes regular breaks from computer screens. Take a walk around the office every hour or so, and spend some time staring into nothingness so your eyes can relax.
  10. Back problems. Sitting hunched over your computer, day after day, can really take a toll on your back and neck. Many entrepreneurs find themselves with chronic back issues after just a few years of these working conditions. Investing in more ergonomic furniture can proactively solve these problems--but you'll need to do it early, before the first symptoms start to arise.

Balancing Responsibilities and Health

Being an entrepreneur means making sacrifices, and there are some elements of the job that are unavoidable if you truly want to run your own business. However, you need to be able to find a balance between your work and your physical and mental health.

Published on: Nov 3, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.