Avoiding “Low Battery” Entrepreneurial Burnout: 5 Practical Tips
Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO of The NIIC
You’ve likely heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” That saying applies to the general population, but entrepreneurs especially need to take note. Think about it – your Apple iPhone 8 Plus might not be the only thing on low battery. You might be getting a “low battery warning” and pop-up notifications as well.
A study cited in Inc magazine by Dr. Freeman at the University of California San Francisco found that 49% of those who start company say they have struggled with some form of mental illness in the past.” Wellness is not just a buzz word du jour but an essential component of a healthier lifestyle for entrepreneurs and their families. Sir Richard Branson, opined in his blog, “Mindfulness is one way that many entrepreneurs choose to combat the toll wrought by round-the-clock emails, long working hours and other aspects of our accelerated business culture.”
But what is mindfulness? Psychology Today says, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. It means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
The truth is, though, if you want to be at your best, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. That means taking important steps to building and maintaining balance alongside working on your business. Here’s are some of the basics to building healthier habits:
- Carve out time for consistent exercise. Rhythm is really important. Rhythm is about consistency so frequency matters more than time duration in the activity. Don’t set yourself up for failure by overcommitting. Instead, ease into it. I need work in this area. Maybe start with a few days a week (walking, jogging, or running), then go from there. What’s most important is that you find something you like. Engage an accountability buddy if you’re worried about follow through.
- Plan your meals. Food is fuel. Are you putting junk into your body? Your productivity will suffer over time. A steady diet of sugary, fatty and greasy food will only make you crave more of it, thus putting you in a cycle of weight gain and lethargy. And that’s no fun! Planning your meals is an easy way to stay on track, cutting down on portion sizes and eliminating or reducing some of the ingredients. I am famous for asking for 1/3 of the dressing on my salad. Even better would be not having salad dressing at all, but I can’t do that yet! Also, cut down on those impulse decisions and stock healthier snacks – fruits and nuts.
- Unplug and reset. Our minds weren’t meant for constant stimulation and noise. Take some time to unplug from technology and get outside. Don’t forget about the importance of face-to-face interaction. No screen can ever replace that! Make it a point to schedule regular interactions (surround yourself with people who make you better) and participate in other activities that give you a release like yoga or meditation.
- Sleep quality is #1. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule (Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.) Avoid working and eating in your bed. If you work in your bed, your mind might associate it with stress, which can affect the quality of your sleep. It’s proven that when we’re well rested, we have a sharper mind and healthier body while sleep deficiencies can lead to chronic diseases and increased health risks. Sleep Cycle is a great app for measuring your sleep quality and activity levels.
- Use technology. Apps like MyFitnessPal, iHealth, Health or others can help you track your activity, diet, exercise and plug into a community of support. Many are free but have additional opt-in features that can help you stay on track.
Which of the 5 tips is most difficult for you? I know I need to work on #1 and #3 and priortize better. What tips or tricks have you found to be effective in staying healthy, in terms of mind, body and soul?