Courtesy of Dennis Hamilton
Let’s be honest--the life of an entrepreneur can be tough on the body and soul. As more and more professionals abandon the traditional confines of “work,” opting instead for an entrepreneurial path, the need for a sense of community becomes paramount. Successful entrepreneurs are openly discussing the loneliness and stress that comes hand-in-hand with starting your own venture. Running a business is all-consuming and many entrepreneurs forget that their productivity is directly related to how well they are taking care of themselves physically and mentally.
Of course, critical to combatting the sometimes mind-numbing loneliness is fostering connections with others. Addressing this need are the numerous coworking spaces opening from coast to coast. These communities not only provide a physical location for entrepreneurs to work, but also, according to Harvard Business Review the social constructs for them to thrive.
But thriving requires more than human connection. The reality is that even people working in collaborative coworking communities like ours at Grind find themselves putting their own health and wellness on hold for the sake of their work--burning the midnight oil, cranking caffeine all day, working through the weekend, skipping meals, forgoing events with family and friends and placing exercise way at the bottom of their to-do list. Of course, this behavior is not exclusive to the entrepreneurial community either--in traditional workplaces the same rings true.
The entrepreneurial journey should not happen at the expense of wellness, especially since wellness plays such a fundamental role in the happiness and productivity of entrepreneurs. In fact, At Grind, we find the opposite is true. Being part of a community that prioritizes health and wellness -- whether it’s in the form of nutrition, meditation, exercise or mindfulness -- not only facilitates, but can actually inspire our community members to put their own wellness front and center,.
We recently introduced GrindLife, a first-of-its-kind wellness program for our community. GrindLife is rooted in the philosophy that business productivity stems from greater health, happiness and connection and offers opportunities for meditation, exercise, and mindfulness. Spearheading GrindLife is John Kalinowski, Corporate Life Coach, and Grind’s new Consulting Chief Wellness Officer.
“The challenge is fitting wellness into an entrepreneur’s schedule,” explains Kalinowski “In order for any of us to thrive at work, prioritizing attending to our lives as a whole is paramount to our productivity and success. To dismiss that is a disservice to yourself and to the businesses you’re working so hard to grow. This is not only a win for your business, it’s a win for your overall happiness.”
So, how do we combat the natural inclination to abandon self-care in the face of a heavy workload? How can you utilize wellness to enhance your working environment? We’ve put together 4 tips to get you started.
Here are a few ways you can tap into your work community to commit to your own wellness journey:
- Prioritize Human Connections. Feel appreciated.
Finding your people = finding your happiness. We are not talking about networking opportunities here. Many people spend more time at work than they do at home, so feeling comfortable, happy, and safe there is essential. It goes back to the old saying – no man is an island. Surround yourself with like-minded people whose values align with yours. Look for people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself. People who have your back and get what you’re trying to do. Finding the right workspace might seem like shopping for a romantic partner (supports your dreams, check; is attractive to you, check; has a kind and interesting network of friends, check), but it’s really and truly important.
We all need encouragement, regardless of our profession or level of success we may or may not have already achieved. Coworking communities should provide that, and help to build you up while you build your dreams.
- Step Away From Your Work. Try something new.
Being busy with work (and building your empire) is an excuse...sometimes. But be careful not to throw your personal life to the wayside while you’re building your empire. If you don’t have the time to create your own activities look for a community that will do it for you. Many spaces will offer group workshops, guest speakers, social events, and more to get you away from your desk and interacting with others. Invite a friend, client or collaborator. Take the opportunity to learn something new that is purely entertaining instead of useful. Try something you may have never done before. Even if you only do one activity a week, you will feel less like you’re missing out on the fun.
- Exercise Your Brain. Use your body.
We have all heard about the dangers of sitting at a desk all day and the creative benefits of taking a walk. The positive effects of exercise, not only for the body but also the mind, have been touted for years – but group activities offer an additional bonus missing from solo physical fitness pursuits, the idea of connectivity. Get out of your own head. When you go to a group class, be it yoga, spinning, dance, even meditation, you’re not just getting a workout, you’re also gaining the opportunity to be with others who will get you out of your own head and make the experience that much more fun.
- Schedule Down-Time. Refresh your little grey cells
Understand that while the knee jerk reaction for most entrepreneurs is “go go go!” there is a serious benefit to down-time. Think of it as interval training for your brain. Look for locations that offer a dedicated space to recharge, as well as to be stimulated. Forget about the guilt and catch a few zzz’s. Your brain will thank you. There is a lot of information available about on the effects of sleep deprivation on productivity. Wellness rooms can provide a calm dedicated place to nap, meditate, or simply take a quiet moment before jumping back into action. These short breaks can minimize stress and allow you to return to the task at hand with a clearer head and more focused approach.