Caught between the growing demands of running a business, managing a team, networking and developing the client, vendor and industry relationships needed to thrive, busy entrepreneurs often put their own health and happiness on the backburner. But not taking the time for yourself and allowing work to overwhelm you can have devastating consequences on your mental and physical health, with long-lasting effects on both your personal life and your career.
These seven entrepreneurs share their best advice on how business leaders can prioritize their own health and happiness and explain why this approach can ultimately enhance their entrepreneurial success.
Check in with yourself.
"Something I've found extremely beneficial to maintaining positive mental health is checking in with myself at different points throughout the day," says Brandon Ginsberg, CEO of ApparelMagic. The key, however, is to be honest and truly acknowledge how you feel.
"It's nice to imagine being able to work nonstop, but it's important to recognize when you need some rest," Ginsberg explains. "Being honest about how you are feeling will help you remain productive and positive when you need it most."
Schedule away time during your day.
As tempting as it is to think that the more hours we put into work, the more we'll accomplish, at a certain point entrepreneurs need to face reality: being overworked leads to burnout, which leads to a drop in productivity and all sorts of health issues.
"When we don't take time to step away and do the things we love (like gardening or spending time with our families), our work and efficiency begin to suffer," says AccessAlly CEO Nathalie Lussier. To tackle this problem on an employee level as well, Lussier encourages team members to schedule walks and even naps into the workday -- with optimal results.
An effective way to focus on one's health -- especially mental health -- is to set clear boundaries to where corporate culture ends and personal life and growth begin, according to Alphametic CEO Matthew Capala.
"With the addition of new team members and the diversity and inclusion principles we practice, I find that in order to maintain my own identity, I need to set boundaries to allow the business to grow outside of my ego and life," Capala explains.
Put family first.
Keeping a positive outlook and focusing on personal health is difficult for entrepreneurs, as they constantly need to overcome challenges and deal with rejection and relationship issues, Marquet Media, LLC founder Kristin Kimberly Marquet underlines. A good solution to this issue is to prioritize your family and loved ones.
"To help maintain a positive mindset and overall mental health, I make my family my first priority. This helps refine my communication and listening skills, which ultimately serves my businesses well," Marquet adds.
"There is this saying, 'You are what you eat.' It's true," says HUGS Wellness co-founder Colbey Pfund, recounting his less-than-healthy eating habits in his younger age and underlining the importance of good nutrition for physical and mental health.
"As I'm maturing, I have come to learn that what I eat does have an impact on my mood, my energy levels and my productivity. Ever since I began making an effort to eat a healthier diet, I have been a happier person in all facets of my life," Pfund explains.
Get enough sleep.
Getting enough sleep is as equally important for a busy entrepreneur's health as developing good eating habits. Becoming aware of your sleep habits and the proper amount of sleep you personally need is one practice that can help, according to John Turner, founder of SeedProd LLC.
"I know there are some business owners that get a few hours of sleep a night and function properly. I'm not one of those people," Turner says, detailing his sleeping habits. "Some of us need more sleep than others if we want to stay at peak mental health and performance. If you're one of the people who need to get your eight hours of sleep, don't be ashamed!"
Limit unnecessary arguments.
An element that is sadly in short supply for entrepreneurs but can work wonders for their overall health and happiness is peace of mind. One way of achieving this is avoiding conflict and unnecessary arguments at work, says Accounting Institute of Success CEO Bryce Welker.
"If a trusted team member raises a significant objection to a decision I make that is far too minor to justify a lengthy argument, I will make an exception for their sake," Welker explains. "Avoiding unnecessary arguments this way has significantly improved my mental health."