Self-care may not be on your mind when you’re starting a business. In the busy start-up phase, business growth is your priority, but looking after your health is important – not only does it facilitate long-term professional success, but it also gives you the vital energy, strength, and vigour that you need to drive your company forward.
In this post, market-leading company formation agent 1st Formations discusses the significance of wellness for entrepreneurs and how they can find room for health and fitness in their busy schedules.
The business benefits of health and fitness
You might be surprised at just how much looking after your mental and physical health can positively impact your business and professional IQ. Some of the key benefits are:
Less time off work
To start with, being healthy means that you’re less likely to take time off work due to illness. This leaves you with more time to dedicate to your company, which is especially important in those early stages.
The UK saw record-high levels of lost working days due to sickness or injury in 2022. An estimated 185.6 million days were taken off – that’s nearly 6 days per worker. These numbers are higher than mid-pandemic and the highest since the 90s.
By looking after yourself, you can make sure that you minimise your sick day and dedicate as much health and energy as possible to boosting your business. Also, if you pay yourself a salary, staying fit and healthy means that you’re less likely to lose out on wages, especially if you’re not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Improved energy and productivity levels
It’s a given that you need energy to run a business. Being exhausted compromises your productivity levels, leaving you out of focus and inefficient.
Keeping in mind that most of our waking hours are spent working, physical and mental fitness plays a crucial role in our ability to keep up and maintain good work performance. However, just small amounts of regular low-intensity exercise like walking or yoga are all you need to stay energised and focused on your business goals.
Some people might not think of walking as an effective form of exercise, but Harvard T.H Chan of Public Health explains that walking offers similar benefits to high-intensity exercises like running. They also add that walking increases our energy levels by releasing endorphins and improving blood flow, which oxygenates our bodies and makes us more energetic.
Yoga is another low-impact workout that has a similar effect. Practicing yoga regularly helps increase blood circulation, which reduces fatigue.
Increased creativity and concentration
The term “fitness” can make you think of lengthy and intense training sessions. However, simple mindfulness exercises like meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises are an excellent way to improve your concentration and get your creative juices flowing – some of the key components of running a successful business.
The mindfulness app Headpsace clarifies that meditation aids spaciousness – a key condition that creativity thrives in. Regular meditation helps us feel calm, still, and focused, which increases creativity and concentration.
Remember that these exercises don’t have to be very long. As long as you’re consistent, a quick meditation session can completely refresh your concentration and creativity to inject into your business decisions.
The life of an entrepreneur is stressful. While you might not always be able to prioritise your health over business duties, finding the time for it where possible can significantly reduce stress. It can also leave you clear-headed and confident about tackling difficult problems and making business decisions.
In September, the UK saw the highest levels of work absences in over a decade. The main cause was mental health, with 76% of people calling in sick due to stress. People missed an average of 7.8 days over the past year, compared to 5.8 in 2019 – that’s the highest we’ve seen since 2010.
These statistics show that looking after your psychological health is vital. Especially when you’re running a company, you should be as healthy as possible to give your business your all.
Stress also impacts those around you. If you’re feeling the pressure and not doing anything about it, it can have a domino effect on your team, starting a vicious cycle of stress-related absences.
Therefore, looking after your mental wellbeing and actively reducing your stress levels can have a multitude of benefits on your overall health, your colleagues, and your business.
How to find time for wellness
There’s no doubt that the life of a business owner can be hectic, making it difficult to fit personal time into your busy schedule. The key things to remember are that wellness exercises can be both mental and physical, and you can personalise your regime to suit your lifestyle.
Here are our top tips for adding health and fitness to your daily routine:
Exercise in the morning
Find a mental or physical exercise that you enjoy and give it a go in the mornings before you start work. This way, you can tick it off your list straight away and dedicate the rest of the day to running your company.
Adapt your existing routine
Try and find a natural gap in your current routine that could be used for self-care. Remember that your exercises don’t need to be long or intense; something as simple as a short walk, a 15-minute yoga session, or even a slightly longer sleep can work wonders.
If you’re still struggling to find the time, try exercising on your commute. If you drive to work, for example, swap it for a bike ride or walk, if possible.
Add it to your diary
If you’re starting completely from scratch or really struggling to find the time for wellness, you’ll need to be self-disciplined. Work out how much time you need and add it to your diary. This way, you can visualise your day and stick to your timetable.
Build a routine
Once you have found the exercises and timings that work for you, find a rhythm and build a routine that you can stick to. Consistency and determination are key to enjoying the long-term effects of fitness.
Set yourself goals
Visualising your objective is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay on track. Use your abilities and aspirations to set yourself attainable wellness goals that work with your current daily structure. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re working towards and keep maintain the motivation to meet your target.
Basic exercises for beginners
As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to jump straight into long-distance running or extensive gym sessions. Looking after yourself can be much simpler than you think and your mind, body, and business will thank you.
If need some inspiration, here are a few basic physical and mental wellness ideas:
- ‘Me time’ (focus on your hobbies and things that make you happy)
- Spend quality time with loved ones
- Optimise your sleep pattern
It can be difficult to look after your health in the best of times, but when you’re running a business, it can feel impossible to add self-care to your long to-do list. The good news is that wellness can be as light or intense as you like – find a routine that you enjoy and can realistically stick to.
Dedicating some time to your physical and mental health doesn’t have to disrupt your work life and it can have huge benefits on your professional development and business success.