Entrepreneurs can be described in many ways: disciplined, dedicated, passionate, visionary, competitive, creative; and they can also be workaholics. As an ecosystem comprised with brilliant minds, extreme risk-taking and a work ethic that rivals superhuman capabilities is not uncommon. Most of all you take great satisfaction in watching your vision turn into a reality and making a difference in the world.
However, in your entrepreneurial journey, so much is at stake – including your health, one of your most precious assets. Being an entrepreneur means wearing multiple hats. This naturally comes with a huge amount of work, risk, and stress. As a result the lifestyle choices you make every day benefit your health or put you at risk for heart disease and other debilitating ailments.
Fortunately, by making small lifestyle changes, you can make your heart healthier and journey happier.
1. Get up and move
According to Times of India, “Experts are now describing sitting as ‘the new smoking.'” A growing number of entrepreneurs live a sedentary lifestyle, especially those that run online businesses. All of that time spent on a laptop leads to a majority of stationary work activities.
Sitting for prolonged periods is bad for a number of reasons. “A large review of studies published in 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that even after adjusting for physical activity, sitting for long periods was associated with worse health outcomes including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer. If you’ve been prone to a sedentary workplace, conduct a health check with Aviva’s heart age calculator to find out the actual age of your heart and take a few wise steps to break your sedentary lifestyle habits. For example:
work at a standing desk
take brisk walks during phone calls
set a timer and stand up every 30 minutes
2. Sleep well
The benefits of sound sleep are often overlooked. Sleep is essential and it supports exercise, diet and overall wellness. Common effects of chronic sleep deprivation are anxiety, depression, increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and declining concentration. Sleep deprivation also affects your mood and cause irritability and anger issues. Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to fall asleep at a reasonable hour and suffer from insomnia. The positive effect of a good night’s rest is unmatched.
3. Change your eating habits
Several cups of coffee, an extra slice of pizza, potato chips, and soft drinks – might taste good, but they are very wrong when it comes to healthy eating habits. Entrepreneurs often work odd or late hours, especially at the early-stage startup phase. This lifestyle often comes with a lot of take-out food from the local Chinese restaurant, pizza night at the office and sugar crushes that promise tempting highs and rock-bottom lows.
Stay away from processed food. Foods that contain a significant amount of salt, sugar, and oil are bad news for your heart. Instead, incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your food options. Your heart will thank you.
4. Keep stress at bay
It’s not surprising that entrepreneurship can become a breeding ground for stress. Stress is often the result of high levels of activity over a sustained period of time. And it takes its toll. According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, “In the U.S., entrepreneurs are slightly more likely than other workers to report experiencing stress a lot of the day ‘yesterday’– 45% vs. 42%.”
Amidst an uncompromising workload, you may not even realize when temporary stress turns into a chronic illness. Headaches, high blood pressure, heart pain, memory loss, weight gain, insomnia, and depression are all common results of prolonged exposure to chronic stress. Your health and sanity comes first and your business success relies on it. Factor in self-care to your schedule on a regular basis and decompress regularly with healthy lifestyle choices and activities.
Keep your heart young
Unsure how to keep your heart young? Here are a few quick tips:
Dedicate at least 40 minutes every day for exercise
Trace your heart’s health with heart age calculator regularly
Sleep tight for 7-9 hours
Make time for self-care
Get a thorough health check-up every six months
Limit alcohol intake
Say no to smoking, junk food, and carbonated drinks
Whether you have just started or have already spent a few years as an entrepreneur – health should be a key priority (especially heart health). You can only fulfill your dreams when you are healthy. So, take preventative measures and make healthier lifestyle choices. It’s never too late to build a healthy business and a healthy life.
Arushi Mehta, born and raised in Delhi, India, loves the moribund city life as much as she loves to leave the road and take the trails. She is a digital marketing enthusiast, logophile and someone who believes in finding authenticity and purpose in her journey. Connect with @arushimehta8 on Twitter.