Running a small business is stressful. It’s also time-consuming and perennially problematic. But if you’re a small business owner, chances are you wouldn’t want it any other way. Your business is your baby, and you’ll do anything to protect it and help it thrive.

That said, compromising health and wellness for the sake of your small business is unsustainable. While the occasional all-nighter is bound to happen – and anxiety comes with the territory – business success doesn’t mean much if it involves an early grave.

Think about it this way: protecting your health and wellness is essential to protecting the health and wellness of your business. It’s like how, in an airplane emergency, you put your oxygen mask on before helping your child with theirs. That’s because your child needs you. The same applies to your business.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at eight ways small business owners can look after their health and wellness:

Eating the right foods

Many small business owners find themselves relying on fast food as a way to eat on the go. While the occasional stop through the drive-thru is okay, your diet should consist mainly of nutritious foods packed with energy. That way, you’re ready to conquer, not take a nap. It may also be a good idea to take a food sensitivity test to determine if certain foods make you sick. By avoiding these foods and eating healthier, small business owners will find they have more energy, focus, and determination.

Getting enough sleep

Most small business owners make a habit out of sleep deprivation. It seems like the only solution to finding enough time to get everything done. However, chronic lack of sleep is guaranteed to impair your business acumen and limit the energy you have throughout the day. As you adjust to a healthier sleep pattern, the short-term implications may include a slump in sales and other unwelcome developments. However, in the long-term, better sleep will significantly benefit your ability to manage your small business successfully.

Managing stress

As mentioned in the introduction, running a small business is stressful. Small business owners must find ways to manage that stress to avoid burnout. It could mean hiring an assistant, practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation, or remembering to take breaks throughout the day. Don’t make the mistake of thinking stress management is a waste of time. Consider it an essential aspect of running a small business.

Maintaining a work-life balance

It’s common for small business owners to spend virtually every waking hour poring over their enterprise. In the process, they leave little time for anything else. Even if you don’t have a family, work-life balance is essential for maintaining health and wellness. Taking time out of each day to spend on yourself or with loved ones is a way to keep your business from taking over your life.

Finding time for exercise

Who has time for exercise? That’s what most small business owners tell themselves. That might be true, which is why we have an obligation to ourselves to make time for exercise. Even walking for an hour outside is better than nothing (though more intense workouts take less time). While the primary benefits come down to health and wellness, exercise helps business owners by also giving them something else to think about. In doing so, they may find themselves struck by inspiration that otherwise eludes their overburdened brains.

Avoiding drugs and alcohol

The unfortunate reality is many people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with work-related stress and anxiety. While relying on stimulants to stay productive and depressants to take the edge off may seem helpful at first, drug and alcohol dependence is never sustainable. It’s also detrimental to your health and wellness. If you find yourself dependent on substances to run your business, consider seeking treatment.

Staying hydrated

There are countless benefits to drinking plenty of water during the day, all of which help improve health and wellness. If you feel sluggish, tired, or cranky, it might be time to drink a nice cold glass of water. Give yourself 10 minutes, and chances are you’ll feel like a new person. Stay hydrated throughout the day to stay out ahead of a dehydration-induced slump in performance.

Taking time off

Many small business owners can’t bear the thought of leaving their operation for a day, let alone a week or longer. But taking time off is essential for maintaining health and wellness. Even a situation where you step back but check in once a day is better than nothing. Doing so allows your brain to have a mental reset, which can help you upon return. It also staves off the possibility of burnout. With this in mind, make a point to take time off now and then. Your body and mind will thank you, while your business will benefit.

The typical small business owner is willing to put their business before everything else. While that’s an admirable approach, it’s not very sensible. What would your business be without you there to run it? With this in mind, it’s easy to see why health and wellness should be the priority of every small business owner.