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Being an entrepreneur comes with a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows as you begin to create and grow your business. This can leave you with one of your fight-or-flight hormones (cortisol) running the show, putting your health and your business at risk.

When this happens, you’ve essentially hired cortisol as your C.O.O. And cortisol is not world-renowned for making good decisions!

If health and stress management are not high on your priority list, the challenges of running a business increase the likelihood of making less-than-ideal choices about nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and other health habits.

This creates a vicious cycle. A lack of time and energy to devote to treating your body well leads to fatigue and a bad case of “I don’t give a crap.”

Before you know it, your body, with its toxic load of stress, worn out adrenal glands, processed food and flabby muscles has become a “bad neighborhood” for your business.

This is important because your body is a complex network of systems. When one part of the system (say, cortisol) goes rogue, it all goes rogue. Ignoring this won’t make things better and could ultimately lead to a roaring case of burn out or chronic illnesses.

No thanks to that.

So how does a busy, up-and-coming rock star entrepreneur get back her health and energize her business? (And fire her C.O.O. on the spot?)

  1. Make Your Health a Priority

Your health should be one of your top 3 priorities in life. Without it, you are unlikely to be wildly successful. Give yourself (and your business) the gift of a conscious commitment to creating the healthiest you possible!

  1. Create Systems and Habits to Support You

We all know that infants and young children thrive on routine and structure. Why not apply this principle to yourself? Here are several great places to start:

  • Get up and go to bed at the same time every day (even weekends). Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. This allows your body to repair itself and keeps cortisol in check.
  • Eat on a regular schedule. This goes a long way toward keeping your cortisol levels low. Set an alarm if you need a reminder.
  • Schedule exercise time just as you would any meeting.
  • Take frequent breaks from work. Sitting is the new smoking and actually takes years off your life!
  1. Clean Up Your Stress Mess

All of us have some degree of stress in our lives. But for some, it can be chronic and persistent. This situation is like having a gang of thugs hanging out on the corner in your neighborhood. Cortisol is the ringleader of the rogue band of bad girls and plays havoc with your sleep, your hormones and your weight. It’s not a pretty sight.

Entrepreneurs are highly susceptible to chronic persistent stress, mainly because they often fail to establish clear boundaries around the demands of business. With a 9-to-5 job, it’s much easier to leave your work at the workplace, but not so simple if you are the owner of a business.

  1. Create a Plan

Creating good long-term health outcomes requires attention to ALL of you – mind, body, and spirit. Try applying the same principles to your health as you would to your business: identify the outcomes you want, set reasonable goals and establish a clear path to achieve success.

Creating new habits takes time and a willingness to commit to consistency. The key to success is taking baby steps and giving yourself permission to be imperfect. No one gets it right all the time and that’s fine!

If you find yourself off track, regroup, tweak your strategy if needed and recommit. Before long, you’ll have created a “good neighborhood” that includes a healthy body with rockin’ energy!

And your former C.O.O.? She’ll be hanging out in the unemployment line.

I’d love to talk about what your experience has been with this. In the comments below, share with me one change you’re making to give your health priority (or where you’re feeling stuck).

Today’s guest post was written by Dr. Anna Garrett, health care provider and wellness coach.


Dr. Anna Garrett is Chief Mojo Office at www.drannagarrett.com. She helps women in midlife escape from hormone hell with hormone balancing, weight loss and health coaching services.

8 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Karen DeBraal

    Thanks for the baby step reminder. Somedays It seems to take hours to achieve the smallest task, as one bit leads to another unexpected bit which takes more time and then another complication will arise. Finally, the main priority task is done but it is the only one on the long list for the day. Who knew it would take all day and truly, the baby step happened but not the toddling hoped for. Crazy making.

  • Starla Fitch

    Great article and perfect timing, Anna! We are all on overdrive these days. It helps to remember what we need to stop and do. Listening to our bodies rather than pushing forward in fatigue. Great advice! Thank you.

  • Amy Kobos

    I love this article. As a small business owner, it’s easy to forget to do these things! Duh, it makes so much sense. I get so wrapped up in writing and producing content for my website that I forget to eat, exercise or take a break. No wonder it’s easy to be stressed. This article is such a simple reminder that our businesses are not competitions, and to succeed, we have to be healthy. That equals quality and sustainability. Thanks for this!

  • Karen Lynn

    Funny you should mention forgetting to eat… thank you for the reminder! Great article! I get so focused on my business that I do push my body and forget to listen to what it needs. Thank you for reminding me of all of that!

  • Ginger Meek Allen

    That sneaky bugger Cortisol is SO FIRED! Gosh, it feels good to say that! Thanks, Anna, for bringing this to light! I have been that stressed out, unhealthy business owner you wrote about, and I appreciate all the tips you mentioned to keep us out of that downward spiral of fatigue, fat and funk. #notgoingback

  • Colleen O’Grady

    Anna,
    This is great. I love your practical advice, and I love that you say do it imperfectly. I definitely have the imperfect part down. Thanks for reminding me about having a long term plan…I usually think about a week at a time. I will spend some time this week thinking about it. I think one of my challenges is going to be sitting…we seeing clients and writing a book.

  • Sue Ludwig

    Anna,

    Thanks for writing down what we’re all feeling and then giving us concrete steps to follow. I love that you are always practical even as you teach us how to become and stay healthy for the long haul. I will be sharing this! (Eating on a regular schedule would be a great one for me to begin! I mean WILL be. :))

    • Dr Anna Garrett

      Thanks Sue! Forgetting to eat is not one of my weak spots, but I’m amazed by how many of my clients wrestle with this. Use theat smart phone to remind you!

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