Many times in entrepreneurial routines, we get "super productive.” “Super productive” times are times when we are working more hours than normal, pushing to meet deadlines, and completing grueling projects. Hours slip away, and before we know it, the day is gone. Days turn into weeks and sometimes months. It is times like these that we get so completely emerged in work that we often neglect our eating, sleeping and fitness habits to "get the job done.”
Eating healthy meals, getting proper sleep and staying fit are minimized and often not maintained. We simply get off track during our "super productive" times. However, sooner or later, it catches up with us. As a result, we grow fatigue, we develop altering moods and, in extreme cases, our job performance is jeopardized, risking inefficiency and burn out.
Health and wellness are essential to living and even more important to entrepreneurs that work long hours and carry heavy responsibility.
With so much at stake, how can entrepreneurs maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I sought out answers from two growing small business owners, specializing in fitness and health in the Atlanta, GA area. Jenay Green, who has a non-profit organization and blog, "Tips on Living Healthy,” and Aarifa W. Rogers, crowned the "The Fitness Diva 21," both work with professionals to create a better balance and handle on their fitness and health goals. Collectively we discussed five key points on how entrepreneurs can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Avoid the breakdown. The long hours, the deadlines and the balance of personal and business are not easy to master. As entrepreneurs, we are very driven people; therefore, work can sometimes consume our lives. Entrepreneurs must successfully manage when to spend time with their spouse and/or children and when to close up for the day—maintain strict business hours and know when to take a break to rejuvenate, such as a vacation or another time for yourself.
To avoid a breakdown, Jenay recommends that Entrepreneurs develop a management system to help them balance their day-to-day activities. “Because once a breakdown happens, Entrepreneurs risk losing control over everything. A breakdown will cause the business and personal to plummet."
Therefore, it is a must that you schedule your day. Otherwise, it runs together and it all feels like work. Time management helps to avoid the breakdown and aids in maintaining a good balance between business, personal, and time for yourself.
2. Get enough sleep. Sacrificing sleep is another imbalance that is perpetuated among Entrepreneurs. Contrary to belief, although the hunger to success may be great, it doesn't require a sacrifice of sleep to get there. Sure, there may be some long hours from time to time, but it is imperative that entrepreneurs set their bedtimes to ensure proper sleep.
"Sleep plays a major role in maintaining health and wellness. Sleep rejuvenates the spirit and restores energy, aiding in ensuring we are mentally and spiritually healthy. Insufficient sleep can lead to diseases in the body, including digestive disorders, heart problems, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few", said Aarifa.
As a result, lack of sleep makes you less productive, among other things.
The more sleep we get at night, the more productive we are in the day. It is recommended that entrepreneurs should be getting six to eight hours a night. Anything less than six hours may negatively affect productivity.
3. Eat properly. Eating healthily will help to keep the mind and body functioning at its best! Aarifa and Jenay both suggested keeping your protein up, limiting process sugars, and eating more veggies and fruits. “Eating from the Garden,” coined by Jenay, means having a natural eating pattern to sustain energy.
“We see it all the time, the dos and don’ts of healthy eating. Do more of the dos and avoid the don’ts,” said Aarifa.
Overeating can also be problematic to the lifestyle of the entrepreneur, especially when there is no meal planning involved. Often, after working long hours, meal-skipping patterns are developed. This causes one to binge when they do eat. Going long periods without eating is unhealthy.
Another factor is late-night eating. This also causes our digestive systems not to properly digest, making food transform into fat instead of being burned off for energy. We need the food for nourishment and energy in periods of movement, not when we are resting. My suggestion is not to eat at times such as before bed when you are not going to be burning it off.
Both Aarifa and Jenay agreed that having “cut off” times if you’re overeating is a good solution. “If you are hungry, and you are eating a healthy diet, then the body is truly hungry,” said Aarifa. Jenay agreed, following up with, "If your body is being fed with the proper nutrients, obey the body. But the body will also crave for more food if it isn't being fed the right foods.”
4. Schedule in your fitness. Fitness is not a cookie-cutter activity, and it differs from person to person. Every entrepreneur should have a weekly schedule for fitness. Fitness should include cardio for the heart and weight training to build muscle mass. It enforces detoxification and cleansing, as well as accelerating weight loss and eliminating the fat in the body. It also aids in bringing mental energy.
"The amount of fitness varies from person to person, so it is important for entrepreneurs to know their bodies. It is suggested to schedule fitness at least three times a week. Don’t look at it as a task; it can be done throughout the day. You can do a few squats while brushing your teeth; it’s just that simple. But it must be incorporated in your schedule," Jenay stated.
Aarifa suggested that entrepreneurs participate in an exercise routine they enjoy.
“Whether it be Zumba, spin classes, Pilates, or another form, remember that the more you enjoy it, the more committed you are to sticking with it.”
5. Commit to a healthy routine. Remembering to have a healthy routine is not an easy change, but it is a healthy one. Following a healthy routine of fitness, healthy eating and getting the proper rest will overall enhance your output and energy levels to make you more efficient. Entrepreneurs who are committed to a healthy routine have more time in their day to keep other personal obligations within reach, thus creating more energy and time to handle those responsibilities. The key is to stay committed!
Here are a few more pointers that Jenay and Aarifa suggested:
- Focus on being more active and find creative ways to get your exercise in;
- Acknowledge that it is not an overnight change;
- Slowly wean into your lifestyle change to avoid burnout;
- Drink plenty of water, but don’t overwater your body, as adverse reactions can happen from over watering your body. To determine how much water intake you should have, consider your daily activities, your sweat levels, and when you are dehydrated;
- Eat more fruits and veggies;
- Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do. Remember to keep a healthy mindset. Don’t get overwhelmed with what you cannot do. It is okay to take baby steps.
For more information, contact:
Aria W. Rogers
"The Fitness Diva 21"
"Follow" my Instagram @aarifa_tfd21
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