If you are starting or running a business, you will encounter stress and problems maintaining your energy. To successfully run your home-based or small business, it is important to make sure you stay relaxed, energetic, and passionate about what you do even if you have many other responsibilities like a family, another job, or health issues.
To stay energetic and meet your goals, you may need some strategies to balance the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of your life.
1. Breathe – Many people are shallow breathers, who are unaware that at various times during the day they stop breathing. Holding your breath is an automatic response to stress that creates a chronic state of mild hyperventilation which decreases your energy and puts a strain on your heart. Take time during the day to check on your breathing and see if you are holding your breath. Look at the quality of your breath – is it shallow and constricted or deep and easy flowing? Take breath breaks and breathe deeply into the lower abdomen several times a day as a way of reducing stress and increasing energy. Remember all the times you were told to take ten deep breaths!
2. Get regular and consistent exercise – Exercise is good for your body and your brain. Develop some exercise strategies that you can weave into your everyday life: walk, use the stairs, go to the gym, dance, ride your bike, get a personal trainer. Physical exercise increases blood supply to the brain and has been found to lessen stress, decrease the incidence of some disease states, and increase mood and motivation.
3. Eat well – Avoid fast food and processed food. Eventually the sugar, salt, and synthetic ingredients take their toll. The typical American diet is too high in fat and calorie content and deficient in antioxidants for brain and body health. How many times have you been told to eat more fruits and vegetables?
4. Have a hobby – If it is physical all the better. (Yoga, a martial art, Salsa) If it is creative or requires thinking even better. (write poetry, do photography, make quilts, play chess) So make the time and take a class or go online and learn something that you have always wanted to learn.
5. Stay energized in your work –. Keep learning. Take classes, go to conferences, read about what is going on in your field in books, magazines, journals, and online.
6. Surround yourself with people who give and take – This means having regular meals with family members; sharing information with other family members so they understand the stresses you encounter in your working life (entrepreneurial and other jobs); establishing support systems such as babysitting, parent-sitting, carpools, and responsibility-swapping to make your workload more manageable; making regular “dates” with each of your children, parents, and friends so you can have relaxed ongoing involvement in their lives.
7. Set boundaries with family members and clients, if you have them. – Have a system so that family members will respect your home-office work time. Close the door, post a sign, wear a special “I’m working cap,” turn on music that indicates that you are not to be disturbed. If you are a coach, consultant, or healer set policies on showing up for appointments, payment, and regular office hours.
8. Practice gratitude – Here are two suggestions. (1) Write a gratitude sheet each day, either at the beginning of the day or at the end. List everything you are grateful for and reflect on your day. (2) Pick a day at the end of the week and make a list of 20 or more things that went well for you during that week or things that you did well. Both methods are a brain dump of gratitude that allows you to reflect on your day/week, see the good, and re-energize.
9. Read, watch, or listen to something motivational and uplifting – Find books, videos, music, or audios that you can ponder or that brings joy to your heart. Uplifting music might be played while you are “on the job,” especially if you write, answer emails, or do some type of craft.
10. Engage in a daily spiritual practice – Don’t let the word “spiritual” get in your way. If the word does not resonate with you find another word or phrase. “A spiritual or growth-fostering practice includes three elements: intention, regular repetition, and presence,” (Nancy Eldridge – Action on Purpose Newsletter) There are many paths of spiritual practice. Some of the most common are prayer, meditation, reflective journaling, chanting, yoga, tai chi, communing with nature, social action, and artistic endeavors. Pay attention to what you feel drawn to do. You might revisit a practice you learned during childhood that you can now bring new meaning to or you may feel drawn to explore new practices.