As a business owner and health expert, I understand first hand the unhealthy side effects that can come with being an entrepreneur. Unknowingly, I’ve seen many entrepreneurs suffer from what I call “the entrepreneurial hormone trap.” This occurs when the stresses of business ownership are slowly (or rapidly) eroding your health. If you start to feel tired in the mornings, can’t settle into sleep at night, are constantly getting sick, have trouble thinking straight, feel cranky/snappy/low/bummed, and start to see changes in your menstrual cycle, the stress of your business may be affecting your body more than you think.
Here’s how it works.
Chronic secretion of low levels of your body’s main stress hormone, cortisol, causes an inflammatory cascade that not only prevents you from absorbing nutrients from your food and suppresses your immune system, but it also throws off natural sex hormone production.
Lower levels of progesterone, compared to estrogen, can cause anxiety and interfere with sleep patterns, as well as contributing to fatigue and brain fog.
Relatively high estrogen can lead to breast tenderness, heavy flow, painful cramps, and dreaded PMS mood swings.
Here’s what you can do about it.
1) Replete deficiencies. When your body and brain are working far beyond the 9-5, you need extra nutrients, and sometimes you can’t get all of them from food (that’s a whole other article for another day). Some typical nutrients your stress glands use include B vitamins, Magnesium, and Vitamin C. I work with patients to determine the amounts and combinations of vitamins they personally need.
2) Balance hormones. I almost always test hormones for my patients. Sometimes, we need to practice some liver love to increase clearance of estrogen, sometimes we need to boost or supplement progesterone. Balancing hormones can help women feel like themselves again.
3) Heal your gut. Stress not only inflames your gut but it disrupts the delicate ecosystem of happy, healthy bacteria that hang out there. Try your best to eat nutrient-dense food, and pay attention to when you feel tired after meals – may those foods don’t serve your body at this time. A full gut restoration program is key to hormonal health and healing from stress and should be administered by a pro.
4) Develop your de-stress regimen. And commit to it, no questions. I don’t really care what it is, so long as it is easy and gives you joy. You don’t need to be a yogi or Buddhist to have a stress-busting routine (although the research for mindfulness-based meditation is promising) but you do have to be consistent. You know that whole ounce of prevention = a pound of cure thing…
Look, if you’re running your own company, whether you’re a solo operation or you command an epic fleet of employees in multiple countries, in order to do your best work you need to take care of yourself. I’m constantly reminded by my body that I have to slow down and stop pushing so hard, but it’s taken many many hard lessons learned to actually tune in to what my body needs. Of course, there are times when business doesn’t wait and sometimes you have to push hard, but you better have a good self-care plan in place to protect your mind and body against the wear and tear so that you can rock your business for a long time. If you’re not sure where to start or need some help with a self-care plan, please consult an expert. We’re here to help you stay sharp, because when you’re healthy and at your best, so is your business.