Operating a business can be extremely rewarding and equally as stressful. Ironically, thinking about how your stress levels are impacting your body, your business, and your relationships only adds more stress.
Fortunately, you don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your life to improve your stress levels and overall health. Making small, sustainable changes can have a huge impact in the long run. For example, you may not be ready to quit smoking cold turkey but might switch to an electronic cigarette instead. Rather than drinking seven lattes throughout the day, you may swap out two or three for water.
Here are a few small steps you can take to limit your stress levels and improve your health and longevity.
By now, you’ve probably had a few people recommend meditation to you. While this spiritual practice is great for reintroducing calm into a hectic schedule, it isn’t for everyone. However, setting aside time to practice mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to sit in a lotus position and control your breathing.
Make mindfulness and meditation your own. If having a bubble bath and taking a half hour to unplug every evening is what helps you get your thoughts in order, work it into your schedule regularly. If putting on loud music and dancing for ten minutes before bed helps you shake off the stress, make your movement your meditation.
Get Your Nutrition on Track.
Eating well is something everyone struggles with, even health professionals. With an endless parade of fad diets and limited time or desire to prepare food, going for a quick fix can is too easy. If you travel a lot for work, the problem only intensifies.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to eat healthily. Start by keeping a food journal for two weeks and identifying your challenges. Rather than trying to change everything at once, make small swaps until they become habitual. After you have a routine in place, make another change, and another.
Consider using a meal prep service to ensure you always have something healthy on hand. It may seem expensive upfront, but it will probably counteract the money you spend at restaurants and the waste of food spoiling in your fridge. Ensuring your body has the nutrients it needs will help you feel less stressed about dieting and spending too much on food.
Exercise a Little.
It’s hard to get the motivation to exercise after a long day at work. We also tend to get hung up on the recommendation of 30-minute sessions every day. That recommendation is a guideline, and a worthy goal, but you don’t have to start there initially. Exercise has a dose effect, meaning that every little bit you do has an impact. Obviously, the more you move, the better the effect (to a point).
Try starting with a quick, five-minute workout each morning, even something as simple as jumping jacks. When you feel ready, increase it to ten minutes. Continue over the course of a couple of months until 30 minutes each day is a breeze.
Try to ignore the constant barrage of what form of exercise is best. Find something that you enjoy and can commit to.
Improve Your Time Management.
So many entrepreneurs and corporate goddesses have the potential to be great but lack the time management skills to make it so. Research different methods, like the Eisenhower Decision Matrix and the Pomodoro technique. Alternatively, invest in a coach to help get you on track and help you reach your goals through guidance and accountability.
Stress has been proven to have negative impacts on one’s health and behavior. To be successful in business and all aspects of your life, you need to take care of your greatest asset: you.