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How to Maintain Your Health When Starting a New Company

Three experts recommend ways for new entrepreneurs to best take care of themselves while launching their companies. 

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A few months ago, I was at a women’s networking event where bestselling author and motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein was speaking. During the Q&A portion, where women were asking for advice, one entrepreneur raised her hand. She knew her cofounder was not properly taking care of herself while they were working on launching their business. With her business partner sitting right next to her, she asked how her cofounder could look after her health during such a stressful and time-consuming period. To be completely candid, I don’t remember what Bernstein’s answer was; I just remember thinking, “I wonder how many other entrepreneurs struggle with maintaining their health during the founding of their company?”

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And so here we are, dear reader. Worth spoke with Dr. Jonathan Leary, founder and CEO of Remedy Place, Claire Siegel, founder and CEO of Flourish, and Audra Gold, founder and CEO of Vurbl, about how early-stage entrepreneurs can best look after themselves. Here are the nine practices they recommend. 

Dr. Jonathan Leary Recommends:

Getting Your Mindset Right

The healthier you are, the better that you shine and people mirror you. So, if you show up and you’re stressed out, you’re agitated, people are going to show up that same way. I found that first, getting your mindset in the morning, whatever it takes…It’s about being present and then showing up every single day the way that you want everyone else to show up around you. And it’s contagious. If you walk into a room and you’re happy and you’re smiling and you’re so inspiring and motivating, people are going to mirror that. And I think [for] any entrepreneur, people need to realize that it starts with them.”

Fueling Your Body Properly and Intentionally

“Everything that I ingest, I look at it as either fueling or fighting disease. Am I enhancing my performance or am I working against it? I always I tell my patients, or I tell anyone that I’m now mentoring, ‘look at everything you put in your body. Is that going to make what you’re doing better or worse?’ And, you know, if you’re drinking too much or eating bad food, it’s going to slow you down. And every minute and every hour counts. Also, the healthier you are, the more creative you’re going to be, the more likely you’re going to have a deeper connection with other people, you’re not going to have this brain fog and be tired. You have endurance to keep going, so nutritionally, it’s really, really important.”

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Claire Siegel Recommends:

Determining Your Non-Negotiables

“What are the one to three things you can do to support your mental, physical and emotional health? This will look different from person to person, and even season to season. Take a few minutes and reflect on the small habits that’ll have the biggest impact on your overall wellness. For me, it’s sleep and hydration. If I am well-slept and hydrated, I’m far better equipped to handle what the day throws at me.”

Prioritizing Sleep Quality and Quantity

“Entire books have been written about the impact of sleep on our mental and physical health, but for founders, in particular, I like to highlight one important finding: According to the National Sleep Foundation, one of the best predictors of job-related burnout is sleeping less than six hours a night. If sleep is a struggle for you, check out Andrew Huberman’s toolkit for sleep and see which sleep hygiene habit(s) you can implement.”

Talking to Someone 

“Starting and leading a company can be really lonely, and many people around you are not going to understand the highs and lows that come along with entrepreneurship. The best thing I’ve done for my mental health and sense of belonging is to seek support from people who get it. I work with an executive coach once a week, and I have a small group of founder friends both [in real life] and online. These relationships are invaluable—whether they’re celebrating the good times or offering wisdom and a listening ear through challenges.”

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Audra Gold talks to Worth about health

Audra Gold Recommends:

Eating Healthy

“The importance of eating very healthy is overlooked by a shocking amount of people I have met. Eating healthy is essential to staying both mentally and physically healthy, no matter how much exercise you do. There is no way around it. No shortcuts. Discipline when it comes to what you put in your body is everything.”

Moving Your Body Often and Standing Up at Your Desk

“This can be as simple as using a stand-up desk and stretching a few times a day. I like doing planks to maintain [my] core, and it’s a low time-spent-to-results type of exercise. Go on walks) and/or bike rides when you can to break up the day.”  

Parting Advice for Busy People:

“The saying is trite but true: You cannot pour from an empty cup,” Siegel says. “To take care of your business, your team and your family, you have to take care of yourself first. This is an important mindset shift to really internalize and believe. From there, keep it incredibly simple,” she says. “Focus on the one or two non-negotiable daily practices that will have the biggest impact on your overall health—
and do them most days.”

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