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Don't go to the gym. . . .

. . . Do something enjoyable instead!

Small business owners are prone to stress and stress-related diseases. This can stem from:
  • Financial pressures, especially in the early days.
  • Working alone.
  • Working long hours
  • Being sole decision maker and risk taker.
  • Family pressures
  • Not eating properly
  • Tendency to drink alcohol for relaxation
  • Lack of physical activity for office workers
All these challenges take their toll on the mental capacity to cope. If there is no you, there is no business. Take regular time away from the business to relax, de-stress, rebalance and recompose yourself.

Why feel guilty about looking after yourself? Apart from being counter-productive, it makes more sense to feel guilty about not taking care of your mind and body. Strengthening your mental and physical health means strengthening your ability to make clear-headed decisions to nurture and make the business flourishes.

Relaxation and leisure time can come in many forms. For it to be truly effective, you need to enjoy it. The equation is simple: the more enjoyment the more often you'll exercise and the sooner the benefits will be felt. Why join the annual queue of people signing up for a year's membership of their local gym only to lose interest after week 5 and never step over the threshold again. So if you aren't a gym junkie here are some other ways to stay fit.
  • Swimming. It doesn't have to be strenuous laps. Even splashing about can help at first.
  • Join your local running club. Timeoutdoors.com have a long directory of clubs and identify those where beginners are welcome, and those that are for women only.
  • Go for a walk. You don't need any special equipment if you're just going for a stroll around the local park, other than a pair of comfortable shoes and water. If you want to venture further or take things a bit more seriously take a look at the Ramblers Association website for information and advice. For more ideas on routes, buy a good ordnance survey map which will show all the paths and byways, or the AA publish some great guides on local walks of varying difficulty and length all around the UK .
  • Go cycling (on a real bike). To get some help planning a route that takes in some refreshment along the way, take a look at this selection of cycle routes and pub walks.
  • Play badminton. Badminton is cheap and easy to learn, so everyone can have a go without it becoming too strenuous. However, it can also get very fast and challenging as your game improves so will manage to keep the interest of even the most competitive amateur. Courts can be hired by the hour from your local sports centre. If you can't hire rackets from the centre, they're not very expensive to buy.
  • If you like to play golf
  • Go fishing - get all the fishing equipment you'll ever need from Fishit.
Not forgetting the essential basics of eating well and getting enough sleep.

And for something less strenuous but great for relaxation:
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