Establishing a startup that hinges on working nonstop and cramming accomplishments into tight timelines is setting oneself up for failure. It’s simply unsustainable in the long run.
Last year, Gallup released a study that looked at the five real causes of burnout. Among the top factors for burnout include unmanageable workloads and unreasonable time pressure.
Those who suffer burnout tend to experience real consequences. Some 63% of those surveyed by Gallup were more likely to take a sick day because of burnout. 23% surveyed even said they were more likely to visit the emergency room.
After an unprecedented year, we need to refresh the #riseandgrind to #healthyhustle status. I asked three entrepreneurial women for their best advice, and they all said: Ditch hustling into the ground for doing what you love at a sustainable pace. This will allow you to stay healthy and happy. Here are five tips to ensure you do that.
1. Establish boundaries.
Jessica Miller is the co-founder of Colony Cocktails, a line of wine-based canned cocktails now carried by national retailers like Whole Foods. She and husband Philip of Middleburg, Virginia, began building the company four years ago, inspired by a wanderlust for exotic places.
Prior to starting up, Miller created a list of compromises she would not make related to quality of life. For instance, she would not force herself to remain busy during downtime. Hustling, she decided, does not out-prioritize the need to rest and relax.
Miller credits her list of compromises with keeping her physical and mental health in check. “If you create boundaries that you are unwilling to cross, you will be more committed to protecting your personal health,” she says.
2. Practice holistic self-care.
Since 2017, Samia Gore has been focusing on her hustle, Body Complete Rx, which makes plant-based wellness supplements.
As her startup has grown year after year, Gore says she has also experienced certain challenges and stressors.
“Being a wellness business, it can feel like a contradiction,” Gore says. “I created my brand to help myself and others live a healthier life but running a business doesn’t lend itself to leading a healthy lifestyle.”
This is why Gore emphasizes the importance of practicing holistic self-care. She steps back to recharge during overwhelming moments. Gore works out first thing in the morning and wraps up the evening with a good night’s sleep. She also has a second phone that allows her to completely separate her personal email from work. The additional phone has allowed her to hit pause and recharge when necessary, and further allows her to choose her health and personal wellbeing over her hustle.
3. Surround yourself with a solid support system.
There can never be enough support from trusted family members, friends, and partners when running a small business. This is especially true for entrepreneurs with children.
In addition to running Body Complete Rx, Gore is a mother to four children. She surrounds herself with a strong support system in order to run her business and be a great mom.
“For me, a good support system is having a good team, friends, and family,” Gore says. “Taking care of yourself from the inside out is so important. But taking care of yourself also has to happen from the outside in.”
4. Find your work-life harmony.
What if we choose not to pursue work-life balance? What would happen if we chose work-life harmony instead?
This is the question proposed by Rachel Geicke, founder of Snow Monkey, a dairy-free dessert. Geicke was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was 20 years old. The diagnosis propelled her to explore alternative diets and primal ingredients where food acts as a functional fuel. After starting Snow Monkey in her college apartment, she secured a spot in the prestigious Chobani Food Incubator — and within two years, the business expanded to 1,200 retail locations. In 2019, Geicke landed a spot in Forbes 30 Under 30 for the category Food & Drink.
“I’m lucky because I love what I do and my company has never felt like ‘work,’” Geicke says. “But it can be difficult to draw the lines between personal and professional life.”
Geicke believes now is the time to find your work-life harmony. Instead of a work-life balance, where work and life exist separate of one another, work-life harmony encourages these two aspects of life to come together.
“It’s important to find a way for these two parts of your life to work together as opposed to each other,” Geicke says.
How can you find your work-life harmony? Geicke advises starting by identifying the personal activities you enjoy. Maybe you like to work out, cook or go for a walk. Once you know which personal activities you like to do, find ways to enjoy them throughout the working day. Do not keep these activities limited to after-work hours. For example, take a work call while going for a walk around the neighborhood or use a break in your day to try flowing if you enjoy yoga.
5. Get a good night’s sleep every night.
Before I wrap up, I can’t forget to talk about the importance of sleep. All three of the entrepreneurial women I spoke to believe that it’s a critical part to maintaining any healthy hustle — and a healthy life.
Don’t overlook or dismiss the value of a well-rested you! Create a bedtime that allows you to get in eight hours of sleep each evening. Stick to this bedtime, too. Power down a few hours in advance and prepare for an evening of good rest that allows you to wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Heather Taylor is the head writer for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She been published on HelloGiggles, Brit + Co, Joy, Business Insider, and more online outlets. Find her on Twitter @howveryheather.