Four creative ways for entrepreneurs to prioritise their physical health

Sometimes the best thing any doctor can order is a good night’s rest. File

Sometimes the best thing any doctor can order is a good night’s rest. File

Published Aug 31, 2023


Much has been said about entrepreneurs needing to prioritise their mental health, but physical health, which is as important, does not tend to receive as much attention. As the driving force behind their ventures, entrepreneurs need optimal cognitive function, creativity and resilience to navigate the challenges of the business world effectively.

As a small business owner, maintaining good physical health will ensure that you have the energy and stamina to sustain your ambitious work schedule, make sound decisions and manage stress more effectively. Improved physical health also leads itself to better sleep quality, which is essential for mental clarity and emotional stability.

By taking care of your body, you can set an inspiring example for your team, and contribute towards fostering a positive work culture and encouraging holistic health and employee well-being. Building a positive work culture begins with you. And even the most time-constrained entrepreneurs can take meaningful steps towards keeping healthy. Four creative ways to do just that:

Create a workplace health challenge

Nothing makes exercising and sticking to a healthy diet easier than peer support. Instead of trying to go at it alone, you could invite others to join you in working towards your goals by creating a workplace challenge. The challenges must be simple and easy enough to achieve within the workplace environment.

You could consider challenging employees to take the stairs rather than the lift, drinking a certain amount of water every day or taking turns to prepare a healthy office lunch. Adding a few incentives for those who put in the effort will encourage more people to join and, ultimately, help you to expand your support network.

Why not try a standing desk?

When most of us think about work, we picture sitting at a desk, bent over a keyboard typing away furiously. Unfortunately, in the fast-paced digital world, this is exactly what the experience of work is for many people. Unfortunately, sitting in the same position for an extended period can take its toll on the body and lead to issues such as back and neck ache, stiff joints, poor posture and headaches.

A growing body of evidence suggests that opting for a standing desk for at least an hour every day, may be the solution to staying alert for longer, being more productive and counteracting the physical challenges that are associated with sitting at a desk for a prolonged period.

Catch up on your sleep

Many people view physical health as being associated with diet changes and regular exercise. And although the two components are indeed central to what it takes to maintain a healthy body, sometimes the best thing any doctor can order is a good night’s rest.

Entrepreneurs are notoriously bad sleepers, and often spend more than their fair share of waking hours pondering new ideas, solving problems and processing complex thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, when the mental activity spills over into your bedtime ritual, it can impact the length and quality of your sleep.

Some creative ways of fine-tuning your body in preparation for sleep are to use weighted blankets, which have been found to promote a sense of security and safety. You could also consider keeping a sleep journal to help you keep track of the factors that affect the quality of your sleep. Sleep therapists also recommend doing a digital detox before bed and limiting the use of electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. Another technique to try is yoga Nidra or a meditation regime that can help calm your body and relax your mind.

Operating at your optimal level, especially during the first few years of business, can be extremely demanding. But while staying on top of what needs to be done and managing your day effectively is an obvious priority, maintaining your physical health is vital to your long-term success and the sustainability of your business. Making an investment of time and resources into your health is therefore an investment in the health of your business, as well as your partners, employees and stakeholders.

Ben Bierman is the managing director of Business Partners.