For busy entrepreneurs and small business owners, healthy habits are vital to long-term success. Starting a small business often goes hand-in-hand with long hours and enormous amounts of stress that can negatively impact your health.
The good news is that both entrepreneurship and taking care of your health require habitual actions, writes Scott Christ, a health and wellness entrepreneur. And creating healthy habits that can be automatically done each day makes it easier to take care of your body and mind without adding more tasks to your overflowing to-do list. Here are five tips to help you make health a habit every day.
1. Stretch Your Mind
Entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers, says Scott. They fuel their dreams by thinking as hard as they work, and absorbing knowledge through books, websites, podcasts and many other sources of information.
The trick is not just to learn about topics relevant to your business, he says, but to stretch your mind in many directions–including teaching yourself how to be healthy so you can maximize your energy at work.
2. Eat Well
Poor eating is directly connected to low energy and moodiness, according to entrepreneur Peter Gasca. One way to improve your health—and increase your productivity—is to make a habit of adding a few high impact foods to your daily diet, he says. Stick to foods that come directly from nature and aren't processed.
Chicken breasts (grilled not fired) and eggs are protein-filled foods that can help boost your energy throughout the day, he says. Both Greek yogurt and a handful of almonds are also good sources of protein that make great snacks. Health experts say it's also important to eat breakfast every day, which keeps you even-tempered through the morning and reduces long term-health risks.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Don't let last minute deadlines make you sleep deprived. Find a consistent sleep pattern that leverages your strengths, whether you are a night owl or early riser, writes entrepreneur John Phillips.
It's important to know how many hours of sleep your body needs to function at its best and keep a normal sleep routine as much as possible. Just as critical are the actual hours you sleep, he says. Your body has higher quality sleep before midnight, so making sure that you're asleep by 10 p.m. is a great habit to start in order to take advantage of prime sleeping hours.
4. Exercise Regularly
It's important to make exercise non-negotiable, writes entrepreneur Toby Nwazor. Some 60 percent of American adults don't get the recommended amount of physical activity, studies show, and 25 percent aren't active at all. But even the most hectic schedule can accommodate 10 minute-intervals of exercise, says Nwazor.
For example, try to stand up when making phone calls, or pace around your office. When having face-to-face meetings, go for a walk instead of gathering at a conference table or conversing over a meal. And rather than sitting down to have coffee, grab a drink to go and take a stroll around the block.
5. Find A Hobby
Entrepreneurs typically have higher levels of stress and anxiety than regular 9-to-5 employees, writes Digital Media Strategist and Entrepreneur Samuel Edwards. One way to alleviate stress is to have a hobby that allows you to get lost in your own thoughts.
Three popular hobbies include tinkering with cars, woodworking and cooking, he says. And all are easy to learn with plenty of do-it-yourself tips on the Internet. Whatever you choose, make sure it's constructive and hands-on to help refocus your thinking and ease symptoms of stress, he says.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners work hard to create long-term success for their ventures. But poor health decisions can sabotage those efforts. By making health a regular habit, however, you can have the best of both worlds: A healthy body and mind that provide enough energy to grow a thriving business.