Invest in Yourself First to Get Your Business Ahead


Invest in Yourself First to Get Your Business Ahead

“Chill out” is often easier said than done. When the pressure is on, real or perceived, our bodies react and often not in our best interests.

For a lot of business owners, this stress reaction is often and unrelenting. We have continual deadlines, cash-flow worries and are time-poor to name but a few. When we are stressed, many people use food as a sedative. It gives us that soporific feeling, but this is only temporary with the long-term effects of using food as a coping mechanism, being disastrous on many levels. You know that when you’re stressed the ‘flight or fight’ psychological reaction cascades out. Adrenaline and cortisol pump through your bloodstream with your heart rate increasing, your blood sugar and fat levels rise, senses sharpen, and you are ready for action.

What is important to remember is these stress hormones, if not used up, keep us in a cycle of stress which often leads to cravings, deposition of fat and our behaviours often become reactive. Plus, cortisol can trigger food cravings by stimulating a hunger chemical in the brain, so managing stress has a direct benefit for weight loss. Many business owners do struggle with their weight with many studies linking this weight gain to a body overloaded with cortisol.

When you find yourself in a moment of overwhelm, one of the best things you can do is use up that adrenaline and cortisol; clear those fats and sugars out. If time is limited, try doing a short burst of exercise. Some squats or push-ups or maybe go out and walk up and down the fire escape a few times. If you’re at home, walk or run around your backyard or put up a punching bag and do a couple of rounds or uppercuts, punches and/or kicks. This works wonders for me.

My 4 hot tips for managing your stress:

1. Physical activity.

If you’re not into exercise, it’s time to think about what you can do. It is too important to ignore. Go for a walk first up in the morning, at lunchtime, after work or later in the evening. It doesn’t matter when, but it does matter that you do it.

2. Mindfulness.

We don’t need more coffee, what we need is the opposite. Try to be mindful of what you are doing, thinking and feeling. When you do have your coffee, just sit and focus on enjoying it; savour the warmth, the taste and feel it run down your throat. Try doing the same with your food; chew it slowly, notice the textures and enjoy the pleasure of eating.

3. Meditation.

Just even for a few quiet moments when you open your eyes in the morning. Think about your day, visualise yourself in a calm manner, thinking clearly, as you work through your day. When chaos or stress shows up, try to take yourself back to the calm place in your mind you created that morning.

4. Food is fuel.

You only get one body so fuel it well and have it working in pristine condition. You wouldn’t put sub-standard fuel in your car so why put it into your body? Be smart about planning ahead and have healthy, whole foods at hand. Then when the pressure is on you don’t have to think about what to eat. Try and stay away from processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sugar, too much coffee (argh, that one’s tough) and of course alcohol and tobacco.

Business owners are renowned for putting themselves last; self-care is critical for you to be working at your potential so your business can reach its potential too.

There will be times when you lose sight of what is important, so now is a good time to cultivate strategies to reach for when times are tough, and stress is winning. Here’s to yours and your business’ health.

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