As an entrepreneur, it is no exaggeration to say that for every achievement there is a failure. It is a sacrifice through and through. If you feel you are excelling in all areas you’ve got a pretty major shock coming as your health slips out from underneath you. That being said, although as entrepreneurs we accept the fact that we can’t be as present in all of our life, we will often put our health at the bottom of the list.
With phrases like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or “taking time off doesn’t build a business”, it is no wonder that we feel the pressure to push through when every part of our being is screaming to slow down, allow some space and prepare for the next stint. We just don’t feel we can find the time for ourselves to give our body what it needs to calibrate a little.
Sometimes it is about finding time where you didn’t know there was any and utilising it to the best of your ability with as little effort as possible. Jane Tarrant, founder of LiNK BREATHING, an awareness & breathing coach and host of LIVING MORE OF A LIFE podcast shares her tips on how you can regularly find 2 minutes in a world where 2 minutes feels near impossible, and how to make them count.
There are some key points to learn here which weren’t taught to us as kids.
You can’t be as effective or work optimally, whether mentally or physically without enough oxygen getting to your brain, muscles and other tissues. AKA you’ll work longer hours and achieve less.
Stress, anxiety, deadlines, money worries (all common things in entrepreneurship), increase respiratory rate, exacerbate high chest shallow breathing and plummet CO2 levels. This breathing style exacerbates feelings of anxiety and stress.
Higher CO2 levels are critical for getting the oxygen that is in our blood in plentiful amounts to actually leave our blood and arrive at the required destination, such as the brain, muscles etc. See ‘Bohr Effect’ if you are remotely interested in the full science.
Examples of unhealthy and less optimal breathing patterns are:
mouth breathing at any time other than when talking
movement in your upper chest and shoulders when breathing at rest
shallow or fast breathing
audible breathing (e.g. by someone near you)
apnoea (where you stop breathing for a few seconds whether asleep, reading emails or during a stressful situation)
- SLOW – reduce the flow and therefore retaining higher levels of CO2 for longer
- LOW – use your diaphragm to draw air into the bottom of your lungs
- NOSE – use your nose which is your primary healthy breathing passage
Want to know how to start habit-stacking your conscious breathing for efficiency?
Habit-stacking in the loo
Allow yourself 2 minutes of conscious slow nose breathing (without your phone) in the toilet.
Habit-stacking at the kettle
Allow yourself 2 minutes of conscious slow nose breathing (without your phone) whilst the kettle boils.
Create slight inconvenience
Find ways to increase a very short journey on foot to allow yourself up to 2 minutes of conscious slow nose breathing (without your phone). How about parking further away, walking the long way round, going to the furthest toilet in the building, or moving your rubbish bin to the other end of the office.
If you really want to remember, you need to set yourself up to remember. This is the time to get the post it notes out and stick one near your kettle, loo, car dashboard etc.
Park your phone
Often we end up on our phones at times where we would otherwise have space to ‘be’ because we don’t know where to put it. No pockets? Nowhere to put it down in the toilet cubicle? Consider sellotaping a poly pocket to the wall, drill a soap dish to the toilet wall, label a basket in the kitchen as a phone parking spot. Get creative, enjoy it and find a way to make it easier for your future self. In reality it will be the only 2 minutes you really need to find.