The Big Challenge: Being Happy, Healthy and Running a Business

One of the things about setting up a company is ultimately, no-one cares as much as you...and the buck stops at your front door.

That’s a recipe for 24hr stress as being at home doesn’t insulate you from the inevitable emails and messages from around the world.

Stress is not good...It narrows the focus and stops the necessary breadth of vision for business development - but most of all it makes you ill. 

The good news is there’s now irrefutable medical evidence that a great way of dealing with stress is exercise, in combination with some form of mindfulness and healthy eating.

But if you’re busy trying to deal with sales, marketing, building the equipment, handling enquiries and visiting customers there never seems to be enough time to don some shorts and hit the road.

So I’ve found a few things that work for me and for what that’s worth here they are in no particular order. Like everything, it’s consistency that counts, and a habit takes 6 weeks to form so keep at it!

• I’ve found that a simple form of guided meditation works really well to induce a sense of stillness and enhance focus. This can be done at the beginning of each day or the end - bookending the day seems to work best for me. Set up a comfy spot away from distraction and noise if possible, close the door and work through the guided meditation. There are lots you can try on any App Store so look at the reviews and see what works.

• Exercise first thing in the morning. It’s really REALLY hard to do at first when it’s cold and dark and windy and wet outside, but I find that an early morning run, cycle, HIIT session or gym workout takes the least out of the day. I get up at 6 and for me by mid-morning it’s almost as though it never happened - the mind works in mysterious ways…

• I find it much easier to eat healthily if I’ve got a bunch of good food around me when I’m likely to get hungry. Simple. Except of course it’s not! It’s so tough to be organised enough to have some nuts and fruit during the day and some soup in the fridge for lunch instead of some chocolate and a pasty. Food is the bit I find most difficult to do well, especially as exercise often makes you hungry - so it’s a case of do what I say, not what I do (and I’ll try to do better).

• Sleep enough. Very hard to do but super important. What I do is set an alarm on my phone for bedtime - and then try to stick to it. No emails, TV, social media or YouTube after that point. And if at all possible, don’t set an alarm to wake up - just wake up when your body says. (ok this isn’t always practical but if you go to bed at the right time it should kind of work).

• Travelling. I try to keep to UK time if it’s possible and cat nap to make up the difference. It’s so much easier to get back to the swing if you don’t have horrible jet lag. I’ve tried melatonin, food supplements and exercise and they all help a bit but for me UK time is the thing. Also important to keep up the exercise regime whilst away.

Of course, I’m not perfect, and once the habit is lost it’s very hard to get back to it but I think, so long as you do something, it’ll help in the long run and keep the Dr away far better than an apple!

by Simon Heap
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