As a support network for women in business, Prowess has always promoted the idea that personal well-being and happiness are fundamental to your business success. When it comes to making the right decisions, handling stakeholders with professionalism and giving every task your all, you need to be in the right frame of mind: positive, confident and well-rested, both emotionally and physically. The entrepreneurial life can be both immensely rewarding and uniquely challenging. To survive and thrive you need a well-being plan to go alongside your business plan. During particularly challenging times you may also need benefit from professional help, by using a counselling service like BetterHelp.
But well-being is fundamentally about creating a healthy lifestyle. Here are the 4 well-being pillars you need to think about to get the right balance in work and life.
Meditation slows down the heart rate and gives focus and clarity, which enables our minds to feel calm during periods of stress or anxiety. Mindfulness is an excellent place to start. A recent episode of BBC’s ‘Trust me I’m a doctor‘, found that mindful meditation is the number one way of reducing stress. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to introduce this therapeutic activity into your life either. There are some excellent free apps, like Headspace, that you can use to start plugging meditation into your life right away.
Alternatively, you can start on your own. Preferably in the morning, sit on the floor crossed-legged with your arms at ease. Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath inwards through your nose, until your lungs are full. Hold for a moment, and then slowly exhale through your mouth and visualise clearing your mind, while holding on to the awareness of your body. Repeat this exercise several times for 5-10 minutes a day.
We now know that sleep isn’t just important for day to day well-being; it’s also a key indicator of future health. Getting a good night’s restful sleep has never been more important. And as a population we are getting less than ever.
Don’t leave it to chance. Plan a nightly bedtime routine, ban caffeine from early afternoon and leave screens out of your bedroom. Make sure that your bedroom is restful and your mattress is comfortable.
When you’re the boss of your own business, sometimes early starts and late finishes are inevitable. Eating on the run and snacking to get through though are likely to be counter-productive. Junk food, too much sugar and caffeine, stresses your body and your mind, undermining rather than supporting stamina and sound decision making.
Try to get into the habit of starting each day with a healthy breakfast that releases energy slowly and gets you off on a steady footing. Porridge is perfect and doesn’t need to be boring. You can make porridge with fruit, berries, nuts and nut butters and so on. Experiment and find something you like. Pack a healthy lunch if you’re out and about and make sure you have sensible snacks on hand, like fruit, nuts and sugar-free energy bars. And drink enough water.
If you are dashing about you may already be moving enough. Modern smart phones have step counters built in, so check yours and see just how active you are. If you need to move more, invest in a fitness monitor like a Fitbit. You can join friendly leagues with friends and colleagues to keep you motivated – even if that is just not being bottom of the table each week!
Seriously, we don’t need to tell you that a healthy body is necessary for a healthy mind. And you need both to run a business. You know what you need to do, so set yourself some fitness goals alongside your business goals, then build whatever activities work for you into your schedule and show up.