5 Wellness Tips That Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur Jonathan Herrick Many entrepreneurs wear themselves out trying to keep others happy. A potential client who is traveling in Shanghai wants to jump on a call at 11:30 pm? No problem! A customer needs you to squeeze in an extra project when you’re already overbooked? Yes, glad to help! Saying yes to requests like these occasionally can keep the wheels of your business turning, but if they’re routine, they can start cutting into activities that are good for your health–like spending time with the people you love, getting enough sleep, eating right and exercising. Pushing yourself to the limits of your energy all of the time will lead to burn out, mentally, emotionally and physically. Fortunately, if you take the attitude that taking care of yourself is not optional, it’s easy to avoid problems. Here are some strategies to apply. Treat yourself like a precious resource. Learn how to protect your time and sanity by offering alternatives to stressful, last-minute requests. For instance, “I’d love to talk with you about the project—plus, I really want to hear about your vacation!—but I’m not able to do it tonight because of other commitments. Could we talk at 9 am tomorrow?” Or, “I’d love to help you with the project but to do it the right way, I’ll need three hours, and I’ll be onsite with a client tomorrow. Is there wiggle room on your deadline?” Often clients have more flexibility than you may think. Schedule time to hit the gym…or the pavement. Even if you don’t have the time right now to get into the peak shape of your life, make it a point to do some physical exercise several times a week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of both—and spreading them out throughout the week. It’s also important to do strength training of all major muscle groups at least 2x a week, HHS says. No matter what exercise routine you choose, you won’t be able to follow it if you don’t plan it into your schedule. Whether you do 6 am runs or head to a yoga class after work to recharge and release stress, look ahead to the next two weeks and add the times you plan to exercise to your calendar. What if you keep missing your planned sessions because of work-related demands? With a regular calendar in place, you’ll quickly be able to troubleshoot and schedule your workouts at a different time. Let’s say you keep planning to go to a 6 pm CrossFit class but can’t get there on time because your work never quite ends at 5:30 pm. You’ll know you need to find another class that starts at 6:30 or 7 pm. Or if you plan to work out at lunch but tend to get really busy in the late morning and end up needing to take a working lunch at your desk, perhaps you need to go to the gym before you come to work. Plan ahead for lunchtime. When you’re busy, it’s easy to slip into the habit of rushing out for fast food at lunchtime, simply because it’s the easiest option. That can lead to a daily situation where you feel horrible from eating poorly and never do your best thinking after lunch. If you don’t have the time or inclination to pack a lunch from home, make a list of three eateries in your area where you can pick up something healthy or, if you work in a food desert, the three healthiest menu items you can find at your eateries of choice. That’ll help you avoid the menu items that really take a toll on your health. For those who work from home, stocking up on quick, easy lunch items can save you from heading out to the drive through because you’ve waited too long to get a bite to eat. If you have some basic groceries on hand, it’s much quicker to prepare a bowl of soup, a sandwich, a salad, or scrambled eggs than to head to the nearest fast food joint. Reset your brain. Many entrepreneurs find that meditating is a great way to create the mental and emotional distance from work they need to be a good leader. Try using an app like Headspace to get in the groove or reading 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris. If you’re juggling work with raising young children, even finding 10 minutes to meditate may be tough. If that’s the case, set aside some time with your kids where you give them your undivided attention every evening. Not only is it great for your relationship with them, but it’ll take your thoughts away from work, allowing you to come back to it refreshed and with a brand new perspective. Keeping yourself healthy does not have to be an overwhelming effort. Putting a few simple wellness practices in place every week will allow you to feel better and bring a much better focus to work.