Being an entrepreneur is a lonely, difficult journey. You're running your own business and dealing with the fact that your financial security is directly tied to your company 's success. So, it's challenge to simply cope with all this, but actually being able to thrive at the same time is a different story altogether.
Related: 7 Healthy Habits That Maximize Your Productivity Every Day
Since many of the problems entrepreneurs face each day are mental, it should come as no surprise that many of the most valuable habits you can develop as an entrepreneur have nothing to do with business acumen, but with your personal mental health.
Here are five such habits that will not only improve your mental state, but boost your motivation and productivity:
1. Getting a good night's sleep
Many entrepreneurs like to work late into the evening and rise early in the morning to make the most of each day. By pushing yourself to the limit, however, you're actually lowering your productivity. The Harvard Medical School found that a lack of sleep can prompt an inability to focus and prohibit higher brain functions. If the sleep deprivation is severe enough, these side effects can last for several days.
In addition, poor sleeping habits are linked to a variety of health problems, including heart attacks, diabetes and obesity, which can lead to even more issues. If you want to perform at your peak and prepare for the long haul, getting six to eight hours of sleep each night is a must.
2. Eating the right foods
Another aspect of being an entrepreneur constantly on the run is that you don't always have the chance to eat well.
It's much easier to grab a burger and fries in the car than to take the time to sit down and enjoy a more wholesome meal. Unfortunately, this is affecting more than just your health. Food actually has a direct impact on the way we think and feel. The food you put into your body is turned into glucose, which fuels your brain.
Meals that are high in fat require much more energy to break down properly, leaving you tired and unable to perform at optimum levels.
Related: 7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur
3. Exercising regularly
In a day packed with responsibilities, it's not easy to set aside an hour to exercise. Taking the following benefits into consideration, though, exercise is a good use of your time:
Reduces levels of mental and physical stress
Releases chemicals into your system that cause happiness and fight depression
Improves your sense of self-worth and self-confidence
Gives you a chance to turn your brain off, boosting creativity and allowing you to take a fresh perspective on problems later
4. Taking the time to pray and meditate
Meditation isn't usually attached to entrepreneurial success, but it can boost performance no matter how spiritual you are. Meditation gives you the chance to shut down for a little while, relax and let the stress of running a business (at least briefly) wash away. It's not surprising, then, to learn that meditation's positive impact has to do with the fact that it lowers blood pressure, too.
Related: 6 Habits To Improve Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Health
The best part about meditation is you don't need a lot of room or time to do it. You can simply set aside five minutes a day on the bus or train during your commute, or 10 minutes in a quiet place at the end of the day before you leave the office. Personally, I commit time to prayer, providing me with periods throughout the day when I can feel grounded and at peace.
5. Reading voraciously
If you want to learn and be a successful leader, you need to read as much as you possibly can. There are plenty of successful examples: Bill Gates is well-known for his love of reading. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg actually started an enormous book club right on Facebook. Warren Buffett is estimated to spend 80 percent of his time each day reading.
You don't need to spend your time consuming the latest self-help and business non-fiction books, either (although you should certainly work them into your rotation). Evidence shows that reading has an impact on your emotional awareness, thus helping to mprove your bottom-line.
Related: 5 Habits of Healthy, Happy and Wise Entrepreneurs
Most entrepreneurs have an intuitive understanding that mental health is important to the success of their business, but not many understand how deep it actually runs. By taking the time to get enough sleep, enjoy a healthy diet, exercise regularly, meditate and read, you may spend less time working but you'll produce higher-quality output and enjoy a better overall lifestyle.
Firas Kittaneh is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Amerisleep. Most recently, he launched OCLU to improve how we record our most memorable moments.