Who Needs Self-Care? You Do!

Entrepreneurs tend to be highly productive (except when they aren’t) and innovative go-getters with laser focus and superhuman habits who work tirelessly toward success, and then work some more.

Read: Entrepreneurs are under huge amounts of self-induced stress and are often obsessed, irritable and anxious. That’s on a good day.

Yes, yes. I know. There are plenty of entrepreneur types who lead balanced lives free of damaging stress. They are productive, healthy and emotionally available to their families. They lead an ideal lifestyle that allows for ample downtime and productive “flow” hours where they are able to run one or more businesses from the comfort of their beachfront villa.

Whaaat? That’s not you?

Well, that’s not me, either.

Like many business owners who work from their laptop, I struggle with certain things: Time management, too much screen time and sitting, isolation and other issues that are unique to this lifestyle.

Also, I struggle with moderate anxiety. This is exacerbated by irregular paydays, tight deadlines and a lack of support.

I’m willing to bet that anxiety is pretty common among entrepreneurs.

Do You Struggle With Anxiety As An Entrepreneur?

We are assaulted with stimulation, information and expectations at every turn.

If so, you’re not alone. Anxiety, in one form or another is rampant today, and it’s no wonder. We live in an increasingly fast-paced society and we are assaulted with stimulation, information and expectations at every turn.

If you’re an entrepreneurial type, then there’s a good chance you are highly intelligent, sensitive, intuitive and maybe a tad obsessive. While these traits are part of your natural genius and help you create, they also mean you are more likely to experience anxiety, burnout and overwhelm.

So How Do You Handle The Anxiety?

The answer lies largely in self-care.

5 Self-Care Habits To Start Doing Now

Let’s keep it simple, shall we? Yes, we like to over complicate things, but hear me out. If you’re already doing some of these things, great. If not, get started today, and you’ll begin to see improvement.

#1 Meditate Every Day

I know, I know. You don’t have time, you can’t shut your brain off and you can’t sit still. Neither can I. But here’s the thing: Almost every super-successful entrepreneur does some kind of meditation practice.

For an easy way to get 10 minutes of quiet time for your brain, I highly recommend the Headspace app. This has been a game changer for me. Ten minutes a day. I’ve worked up to 15, but I kept it at 10 for about two months. What I like about Headspace is the easy-to-use interface, the topical meditations, and the stat tracking that enables me to see my progress. Andy Puddicomb has a soothing voice and the whole app has a practical, simple feel.

Meditation helps you get a few minutes of quiet, clarity and peace in your day. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to do it perfectly. Just the practice helps reduce blood pressure, lower stress and improve focus. Start today.

#2 Take A Screen Break

How often do you step away from your screen? How often do you take a day off from it? You might not be able to cut it down too much (although you should try) but you can definitely take more breaks. I think you shouldn’t go more than an hour without a break, but I know it’s hard when you have a good flow going.

I set a timer. I find that for myself, I need to step away from my screen every half hour or so. It helps alleviate eye strain and overwhelm. It also reduces another problem that many entrepreneurs (and employees) face: Sitting.

But back to the screen. Humans are not used to dealing with this much information and stimulation. Yes, we’ve managed to adapt, but the consequence is  anxiety. It’s not a coincidence that this is becoming an increasingly common mental health condition. It’s a direct result of our lifestyle and the demands that we put on ourselves to be super productive and “on” all the time.

#3 Meet A Friend In Person At Least Once A Week

Isolation is a major culprit when it comes to both depression and anxiety. If you’re primary source of human interaction takes place online, you are depriving yourself of connection. That connection helps you stay grounded and staves off that lonely feeling. Also, the more you interact in person, the less likely you are to experience social anxiety. It’s true. When you habitually go too long without spending “face” time with people, you are more likely to be anxious and feel socially awkward when you do.

#4 Cut Your Sugar Intake

I was going to say “eat healthier” but that’s not specific enough. Yes, you should eat more veggies and high-quality protein, but it’s also a good idea to drastically cut that sugar down. Just do it, you’ll be more relaxed, sleep better and physically feel healthier.

#5 Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others

This could also read: Stay off social media, but for many entrepreneurs this just isn’t possible. In lieu of cutting it out altogether, might I just suggest you reduce it as much as possible. Studies show that an increase of social media time decreases satisfaction and increases anxiety.

You may rely on social media for marketing and networking, but it’s often a huge source of over-stimulation, conflict and stress. And, there is a tendency to compare yourself to others. For example, you may see other entrepreneurs in your space appear to be doing far better than you. This can leave you feeling like you need to work harder or that you aren’t doing as well as you should be. Let’s be honest though, social media rarely represents the whole picture, and people often appear to be doing better than they really are.

Again, this is why it’s so important to connect with people in person. Try to balance it out as much as possible. Avoid online conflicts. If social media is becoming too much of a drain and a trigger for anxiety, consider outsourcing it.

As an entrepreneur, you are doing amazing things. You are a boss and a creator. Each day brings new challenges and gifts, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just remember your self-care, okay? Get up and stretch, call someone on your phone and set up a lunch date. Get off social media and do something not work-related. When you’re online and feeling stressed, discouraged or anxious, it’s not a signal to work harder, it’s a signal to take a damn break.

Finally, if anxiety is getting to the point where it is interfering with your daily life it’s time to get some help. Seek out a therapist specializing in anxiety, not just a doctor who wants to throw a prescription at you. Take some time for yourself and ramp up your self-care. Fill up your cup and keep kicking ass.

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