April is National Stress Awareness Month, so there’s no more appropriate time to reflect on our lifestyle and habits to make changes. Having high levels of stress is normalized as a part of being in the workforce, but even the most accomplished individuals understand the importance of taking a break to prioritize your well-being. Long-term prolonged stress can have a detrimental impact on the brain and body, from poor heart health, decreased cognitive function, and anxiety, amongst a myriad of other ailments. Poor health can hinder you from running your business to the best of your ability or producing the best work at your company.
Between career, family, and all of the other obligations we have in life, it may seem impossible to live a stress-free life, but the truth is that stress can be regulated if we approach it with intention. Here’s how successful business owners take control of their wellness.
Media Mogul Oprah Winfrey says that she practices meditation twice a day. She believes in the practice, so much so that she launched a 21-day guided meditation program with author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra. Meditation is a great way to implement the practice of mindfulness in your life. Defined as the practice of being present in the current moment, meditation has been proven to help people avoid dwelling on past events that can cause them mental unrest and avoid worrying about future events that can cause anxiety.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey uses exercise as his outlet for stress relief. According to this interview with New York Magazine, he reportedly goes for a 6-mile run every morning. Dorsey’s got the right idea because running stimulates the production of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, making it a great stress reliever.
Former COO of Meta platforms, Sheryl Sanberg, told CNBC that she finds it helpful to disconnect from her phone before bed. Turning off your electronic devices at least an hour before bed sets a boundary with others, granting you much-needed time to yourself. Opting out of mindless scrolling before bed is also beneficial because you’ll be avoiding those harmful blue lights and negative content that can further induce stress.
Having hobbies outside of work is a great way to alleviate everyday stress. Finding something outside of work to do that you enjoy allows you to have “me-time” that can serve as a productive distraction from your troubles. Warren Buffet shares that he enjoys carving out time from his busy schedule to play the ukulele in his free time.
According to the National Association of Mental Illness in California (NAMICA), making time to read is an effective way to battle stress. Stories can provide a healthy escape as well as relax your body and lower your heart rate. Microsoft founder Bill Gates uses this method daily to keep his stress levels at bay.
If you have the opportunity to take time off, take advantage of it. Companies give employees this time for a reason. Employers understand that rest and recharge play a significant role in productivity. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki agrees. She tells Business Insider, “I think it’s really important to take time off. I’ve found that sometimes you get really good insights by taking time off, too.” Taking time off doesn’t necessarily have to include a luxury getaway, simply taking a mental break away from your work to do the things you enjoy can be just enough.