There is no shortage of business startup info online and there are plenty of gurus offering coaching tips for entrepreneurs, heck I subscribe to nearly all of them it seems, but what I want to offer are tips and strategies for how to maintain your health and wellness sanity while taking the plunge into the “entrepreneur zone”. (say entrepreneur zone in a deep booming voice for effect)
I especially want to talk to my ladies. Let’s face it, as women we take multi tasking to whole new levels and more often than not our own healthy habits take a back seat. I've been navigating the same waters as a self-professed workaholic for the past 11 years. Back in 2002, without any design or real business experience AT ALL, I started making jewelry. What started as a hobby grew into a business and within two years I was wholesaling to several boutiques and galleries. Once my mind and heart latch onto an idea or project I get hyper-focused to figure out all the moving pieces to make the project work. As a consequence, I've allowed myself to subsist on coffee and one, maybe two meals a day. It always seems there is something more to read or learn or plan, but as I launch into this New Year I'm choosing to break unhealthy habits and I invite you to come along as I choose a new course to healthy business success.
There are many items on my “New Year, New You” list but at the very top is that I need to get more sleep. Stop laughing. Yes, I know it is easier said than done but I really don’t have to tell you how important proper, restful sleep is to your creative process and of course your overall good health. Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, high blood pressure, depression, and diabetes. I’ve already added a few things to my evening routine that have helped me to get a few more hours of zzz’s and perhaps they can help you too.
1. Turn out the lights at dusk and light some candles. You might be really rolling your eyes at this one but check it out…our internal sleepy time clocks are linked to melatonin in the brain and melatonin is regulated by sunlight.
“…light exposure after sunset signals ‘daytime' to the [brain], shifting the clock later, postponing the second wind and delaying the onset of melatonin secretion. As a result, many people are still checking e-mail, doing homework or watching TV at midnight, with hardly a clue that it is the middle of the solar night.” – Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, Turn Off The Light: Electric Light Disturbs Natural Sleep Patterns.
Feel free to get all romantic-like with yourself or a willing participant but the goal here is to allow your body to adjust to a more natural association with ambient light. Plus it’s pretty and relaxing and if you light naturally scented candles you have the added benefit of some aromatherapy. Even if you’re still doing work at your computer or watching a little TV, reducing bright overhead lights is the better option for you. Likely your computer, laptop and TV use energy-efficient light like light-emitting diodes (LEDs), again, better for you.
2. Get an eye mask. Unless you live on a farm or in a very remote area, likely there are light sources that sneak into your slumber time that you may not even realize. One of the best ways to ensure that your peepers are in total darkness is to cover them up. Now, I have tried this little trick for years and I always seem to wake up with what felt like pink eye because the eye mask would press against my eyes all night. No bueno. That was until I stumbled upon (insert drum-roll…) Bucky 40 Winks Eye Masks! The deep molded cups fit nicely over my eyes and cause no eye pressure at all. I found mine at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond for the same cost as the Bucky site. My boyfriend teases me saying that they look like I’m wearing a bra on my eyes, but I don’t care, they work.
3. Relax your body. Take a hot bath or shower. Massage your shoulders, feet and hands; yes, you can do that yourself but you can enlist your partner too, or listen to soothing music. Because I tend to fill my days and nights with as many tasks as I can muster, I had gotten into the mindset that sleeping was disrupting my flow. Mentally I had allowed bedtime to become a chore that I didn’t look forward too. Yeah, messed up I know. I had to choose to stop my mind and body and prepare for rest. Making this conscious and necessary decision allowed me to better plan for my bedtime, okay I added it on my task list, but hey, it worked.
These are just a few things that you can start implementing now to help add some sanity back into your over-driven, entrepreneur life; think of it as an investment in you and the future of your business.
I’ve got a whole heck of’a lot more tidbits on my list but what are some things that you have found to coax a little sanity back into your life?
Jaszy McAllister is a freelance writer and media consultant. She offers assistance with creating brand identity, marketing, multi-media production, social media management, and web design. Additionally, Jaszy is an actress and avid Latin dancer. When not working, which is rare, she enjoys fresh sushi, good pizza, live music and sci-fi movies. Get social with her on facebook and twitter @MsJaszy.
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