Is Entrepreneurship Bad For Your Health?

We often sacrifice so much for success. We can even unknowingly sacrifice our health.

The entrepreneurial lifestyle can be a very difficult lifestyle to lead. Many entrepreneurs that I have conversations with say they are very committed and motivated to make a real difference in the lives of others. 

I applaud that—I really do.

Creating a business that makes a real impact in the lives of others is one of the biggest joys there is—but at what cost?


Creating a business that makes a real impact in the lives of others is one of the biggest joys there is—but at what cost?

Things like startup burnout, fatigue, depression, and anxiety (amongst other things) are knocking at the entrepreneur’s door all of the time. You can experience this when you decide there’s a deadline to hit, or you need to get that presentation finished today, or you must seal that important partnership.

 A lack of sleep, startup burnout and being constantly drained or overwhelmed can easily become your norm.

Most of us make the decision to run our own business in order to gain freedom and money while doing what we really want to do, but we often end up working much harder (especially in the early stages to gain new skill sets and overcome challenges). But thankfully, this doesn’t have to be your new normal and you can create a healthier path for yourself.


You need to take a sabbatical

Burn out, fatigue and depression. These are some of the most common conditions entrepreneurs face that affect both their physical and mental state.

Consider how this scenario plays out: You over work yourself which negatively impacts your business performance.
 Then you notice it and believe you need to work even harder to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, this only makes things worse.

You continue like this for months, possibly even years, and it causes you to feel constantly tired and sleep deprived. You know you are on a downward spiral, but unsure how to set things right again.

So, what should you do?

Rest, rest, and rest! 

Your body needs rest to give you the energy you need to be effective.

 I personally recommend taking a sabbatical (e.g., 1-2 weeks off

). In fact, it’s not uncommon in the startup world.

TOM’s founder Blake Mycoskie recalls what led him to step back in business: “In the fall of 2012 I did something I never thought I’d do: I took a sabbatical from TOMS. It was not your typical travel-the-world sabbatical. My wife, Heather, and I moved to Austin, Texas, where I’d grown up, and I used the physical and psychological separation from the company to do some soul-searching,” he shared in an Harvard Business Review article.


Photo: © photopitu, YFS Magazine
Photo: © photopitu, YFS Magazine

Now, I know you may say: “I cant afford to take time off!”

But consider that if you are burning the candle at both ends, it will eventually catch up with you. In this state, your work is not your best work. How long can you function each day as you wake, ready to go back to sleep?

Sometimes we have to realize that taking a step back may be the best possible thing for our business and our life.

 And after that sabatical, start making time for self-care and personal wellness.


Pay closer attention to personal wellness

Your emotional and mental state is critical to your continued success. Start scheduling time each day to stretch, relax, breathe and clear your mind (e.g., prayer, meditation, mindfulness, etc.)

These activities are conscious acts that can reduce stress and tension.

 Reset your mind and your body so you feel more energized, motivated and focused.

Can you imagine how much smarter you can work if you weren’t consistently mentally and physically drained?

Still not convinced? I’ll admit, I was very skeptical myself

. I felt like I either had to push forward full steam ahead or I go to sleep. One or the other. 

I felt like I couldn’t relax and I couldn’t chill out when I decided to take a vacation. All I could think about was running my business and the never-ending to-do list I still had to accomplish.

I soon realized that when I felt myself becoming stressed out, I needed to course correct and relax to respond productively, in the best way I could. By slowing down (or even stopping) we give ourselves chance to reflect and prepare for challenges ahead.


We often sacrifice so much for success. We can even unknowingly sacrifice our health.

 By refocusing on improving our health and wellness we can better respond to the challenges that come with running a business.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Michael McDonnell is a ‘Lifestyle Architect’ and author and creator of “7-Days to Ditch the Yo-Yo Weight Loss Cycle.” Connect with @M_McDonnell2 on Twitter and Facebook at The Healthy Hangout.


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