Everyone tells you that being a successful small business owner will feel glamourous and energized. If you follow your dream, your life will instantly be filled with rainbows and ponies and pots of gold.
Business owners are creatures of passion and running a business is incredibly fulfilling. Unfortunately, business owners are generally terrible bosses to themselves and frequently put their needs to the side when things get busy. Which is pretty much all of the time. I’ve spent the last year working on living a healthier lifestyle as both a business owner and a person, which has been a major challenge for me. While the rainbows and ponies haven’t appeared yet, I’m definitely a healthier and happier person as a result of some of the lifestyle changes that I’ve made. Today I have 5 tips to help you relax more and stress less.
1. Move your butt.
Most business owners spend most of the day at a desk or a worktable. It’s a fact. This isn’t great for your health, but it also makes you grumpy and gives you mental tunnel vision. Getting up and moving can be the best way to get inspired and stay in shape. You don’t have to start running or anything, but finding something semi-athletic to do will help clear your brain and strengthen your body. You’ll also sleep better, which helps you get up early and have a productive work day. If you feel like you don’t have the time, there are tons of great 20 minute exercise tapes that are accessible and fun.
2. Stop eating out/out of boxes.
Other people dream of ponies, but I dream of a personal chef. My apartment is cute, vintage and in a great neighborhood but the tradeoff is that I don’t have a dishwasher. It’s so easy to give up and go out or eat processed mac and cheese, especially when I’m busy.
Don’t give in (at least not more than once or twice a week)! Not only is cooking fun and a stress reliever, but farmer’s markets are great places to relax and get your mojo back. There are tons of great simple and tasty meals out there, if you’re willing to look around on Google for a little bit. To start, check out Orangette and Smitten Kitchen, as well as the recipe archive on Mark Bittman’s blog.
3. Read for fun.
I know you, business owner with a stack of business books on their bedside table that is threatening to fossilize. I have been you. If you’re not going to read them, throw them out or give them away.
Then, find some books to read for fun. Reading is a great way to engage your brain, but not if you’re reading about the same subjects you think about at work all day. Try reading some fantasy novels or a great mystery. Whatever it is, go for escapist instead of practical. Even trashy romances work (and we promise not to tell anyone).
4. Strengthen your connections.
I have one of those dogs that people call “velcro dogs”. From the time I get up to the time I go to bed, he is there at my feet or on my lap. On busy days, I still feel like I barely see him.
All of this is to say that being in the same space with a significant other, your kids or your pets isn’t really the same as interacting or bonding with them. Going out to dinner and talking about work for 45 minutes isn’t really bonding either. If you don’t have anything in your head besides work to float as a conversation topic, you definitely have a problem.
5. Chill out about the future.
When you run your own business, it’s easy to feel like every sale could be the last one. The truth is that if you’ve been at this awhile, your hard work will probably translate into customers and clients for years to come. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan ahead or work hard to grow your business, but you also need to come to terms that you can’t control everything. If you’re a responsible business owner (of course you are!) you’ve done everything you can do to make the future bright and secure. Acknowledge that so you can relax when you need to.
Holly Jackson is the owner of The Full Figured Chest Copywriting, along with being a fashion blogger and columnist. She lives in Mississippi with an artist, two dogs, and a whole bunch of mystery novels.
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