Health Before Hustle: Redefining Success for Female Founders

In recent years, the modern entrepreneurial landscape has been flourishing with powerful She-EO stories. Women are steadily claiming their rightful place in the business world, however, as these female founders redefine success, there’s a gripping narrative that demands attention – yes, we’re talking about the importance of physical health in a world of #HustleCulture.

Entrepreneurship’s Correlation with Mental- and Physical Health Issues

According to a Startup Snapshot report, a whopping 72% of founders admitted to struggling with mental health problems due to the pressure of running a business. Delving deeper, 37% mentioned that they’re grappling with anxiety. This isn’t just about mental stress. When it comes to CEOs, half of them, as per a survey, barely clock in six hours of sleep nightly. And if anecdotal evidence holds any weight, startup founders in their beginning stages fare even worse.

  • Depression: 

Entrepreneurs experience depression at a rate of 30%, which is double the 15% in the comparison group and almost twice the 16.6% in the general population, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

  • ADHD: 

An astonishing 29% of entrepreneurs have ADHD, which is significantly higher than the 5% in the comparison group and the 4.4% in the general population, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

  • Addiction: 

Entrepreneurs also have a higher rate of addiction at 12%, compared to 4% in the comparison group and 8.4% in the general population, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • Bipolar Disorder

Alarmingly, 11% of entrepreneurs experience bipolar disorder, which is much higher than the 1% in the comparison group and more than double the 4.4% in the wider population, as reported by the NIMH.

Why Physical Health is the Foundation of Your Fempire 

When thinking about all the things female founders have on their daily to-do list, tasks like attending endless meetings, business development, managing a team, and putting out any necessary fires probably come to mind. But what about things like going for a walk, actually sitting down and being present for lunch, or getting some vitamin D? 

Here are five benefits of putting health before hustle: 

  1. Productivity Power-Up: 

It’s pretty straightforward. Physically fit fempreneurs have more energy, focus, and stamina. This translates directly into increased productivity, which every female founder craves. 

  1. Bye-bye Stress: 

The interconnectedness of physical and mental well-being cannot be stressed enough. A consistent exercise routine uplifts your mood and acts as a stress-buster. In business, mental fortitude is gold.

  1. Crystal-Clear Cognition:

Decision-making can be the bane or boon for any She-EO. A well-nurtured body ensures a sharp mind, fostering enhanced problem-solving and critical-thinking capabilities.

  1. Redefining Resilience: 

Running a business doesn’t come without its setbacks. Resilience becomes the backbone of any thriving enterprise, however, this should never be pursued by sacrificing sleep, skipping meals or skimping on self-care. Having healthy routines in place for your body and mind ensures that you’ll bounce back faster, no matter the challenge.

  1. Building Bonds: 

The ripple effect of good physical health is not only felt in boardrooms but also in your relationships. A She-EO exuding confidence and positivity fosters stronger connections, essential for networking, collaborations, and personal relationships. Plus, you’ll set an incredible example for your employees to take charge of their own health. 

Prioritising Health: Beyond the Business Plan

Health taking a back seat? Here’s how you start prioritising your health as part of your daily routine:

  • Precise Goal Setting: 

Generalised resolutions are not the way to go. Instead, be assertive with your health goals, setting clear intentions such as: “I will dedicate 20 minutes daily to meditation every morning before opening my laptop” or “I will take a 15 minute walk between meetings at 12 o’clock everyday.” Being specific and consistent in your approach will also help others to understand and respect your routines. 

  • Strategic Planning: 

Align your health goals with daily schedules. Set reminders, incorporate short breaks during work, or even blend business with health – how about a walk-and-talk meeting? 

  • Track to Triumph: 

Make use of health apps, digital journals, or even old-school tick marks on your calendar. Seeing yourself make progress in prioritising your health is incredibly motivating and will help you to continue with your newly found health habits in the long run. 

  • Accountability Ally: 

Pair up with another female founder or a trusted friend. When you share your health journey, your motivation multiplies! And if you don’t have any entrepreneurial friends, consider joining a free online community, like Xena! 

  • Consistency is key: 

At times, it may seem like being an entrepreneur goes hand in hand with unpredictability. No matter the challenges that may arise, or the little surprises that come with your day to day, your commitment to your health should be the one thing that remains constant. 

Although many entrepreneurs still view “the hustle” as a badge of honour, things are slowly evolving. For today’s She-EO’s, there’s a definite realisation that there’s more to life than work and that the long-term impact of stress and poor habits far outweighs the temporary business gain. 

So, as you grow your business, don’t forget to take care of your health, ladies! Your business will thank you for it.

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