Being an entrepreneur is among the most stressful lifestyles in our times. Whether you start your own company, you’re a freelancer trying to build your business, or you just founded a startup with your friends (or even in later stages), uncertainty is prevalent. It literally hides behind any corner.
You don’t know if your business will survive this year, and sometimes even quarter, and under the constant need to reinvent yourself and your business and find solutions to problems you didn’t even know existed. Most days, you feel like a gladiator fighting against lions in a colosseum.
So how can you cope with such a chaotic lifestyle? Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but we gathered here seven useful tips to deal with stress. Following these, not only that you’ll be calmer and happier, you’ll be sharper and could work on your business much better.
1. Sleep enough, and have quality sleep
Not sleeping enough is one of the worst things you can do to yourself and one of the main causes of feeling stressed and unhealthy, among a lot of other negative things (promotes unhealthy weight gain, depression, and more). Many entrepreneurs work days and nights, as work is never-ending, and making a clean cut between work and home is extremely difficult.
However difficult it is, you must have at least 7 hours of sleep, or you’ll be on the fast route to burnout. Some things that’ll help you do that – keep a schedule with the desired bedtime; make sure you have at least 30 minutes of no-screen time before bed as it has been proven that screen time before bed makes it harder to fall asleep and impairs sleep quality. If you have difficulties changing your habits, you might even want to look into visiting a sleep clinic.
2. Find work-life balance, or at least try as hard as you can
It’s hard to do that when you feel that every free moment, every drop of energy, should be spent in your business. However, the toll it can take on your family life is not worth it. If you want your partner (your husband, wife, parents, children) to fully support your efforts at work, you must show them that you care. Also, spending time with your family will also rejuvenate your powers. Spend some time with your loved ones before bed, make the weekends count. You’ll have countless opportunities to be at meetings, miss events, business trips, and whatnot.
3. You must exercise
It’s been proven numerous times that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Research shows us that physical activity lowers stress as it releases endorphins and other chemicals. Post physical activity, your body will be in a state of lower cortisol and adrenaline; both promote stress. A good idea is even to try and do a sport or physical activity that you love! And that brings us to the next point…
4. Find a hobby and make time for it!
Many people, entrepreneurs, and employees sometimes forget that at a certain point in their life, they had hobbies. It’s usually the first thing you neglect when you start your adult life. School, work, relationships all get in the way. But it’s very important to have hobbies, especially when you’re very busy. It will help you maintain a work/life balance, meet new people who share similar interests outside of work, and you’ll vent a lot. And hey, if you choose a certain sport as your hobby, it’s two birds with one stone. It’s no wonder the most successful people on the planet have hobbies.
5. When times get tough, consider therapy
We all hit rough patches, and when we do, it’s alright to ask for help. Mental therapy has never been more accepted than it is today, and getting treated at a certain point in someone’s life is somewhat the norm nowadays. It’s not right to rely on your family or partner to assist you in some things where professional assistance is required. Also, in some cases, your work might be a heavy load on your family life, and then family therapy is needed.
It’s hard to make time as it is, and your business might require a lot of trips like most businesses do. If you are short on time or travel between places on a regular basis, online therapy is much more convenient.
6. Adopt a cat, dog, or another pet you have the time to take care of
Many researchers point to the fact that owning a pet (and spending time with it) can potentially reduce your stress levels. Any pet will do, but it shows that dogs and cats are best at it, with rabbits being third. A lot of people report that owning a pet gives more meaning to their lives, helps them stay connected, and encourages playfulness.
But you must make sure you actually have the time to take care of your pet, or you might add another thing to worry about. Therefore, be sure that you choose your new pet carefully. It costs money, takes time and effort, and prevents spontaneous changes in your daily routine and schedule. If you see that you can make it, adopting a pet is definitely worth it.
7. Make sure that you eat well
Bad nutrition is familiar to anyone who lives at a fast pace. It’s very tempting and convenient to treat yourself to fast food. You save time, and it’s delicious. However, food high in sugar will increase your cortisol levels, and therefore can cause more stress and other long-term conditions if you keep eating fast food for prolonged periods of time. Alcohol and processed carbohydrates will cause the same effect. So eat real food, whole grains, vegetables, avoid soda and sweeteners (which ironically have the same effects as sugar), and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Stress isn’t something to be taken lightly. Stress alone cannot kill you but have it in your life for long enough, and it can lead to cardiovascular issues. The number one cause of death in America today is a heart attack, and stress promotes it not less than smoking and obesity. Being an entrepreneur or a business owner is very stressful, so take the necessary steps to reduce stress as much as possible and live longer and happier.