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De-stressing for success - ideas for busy entrepreneurs

4 relaxation techniques to increase productivity and to get the creative juices flowing


As an entrepreneur it's easy to become consumed by your work, which often involves long stressful hours, sleepless nights and having little time to spend with friends and family.

But even the busiest entrepreneurs need to take some time out to relax and unwind. 

Katlego Kolobe, a certified master coach who works in the corporate sector with a focus on blue chip organisations, says some of the benefits of unwinding is that it gives you the opportunity to take off your business hat and do something different, which will increase energy levels, refresh your mind and get the creative juices flowing. 

Here are five activities that Kolobe says entrepreneurs can explore to not only de-stress, but be more productive. 

1. Creative pursuits 

According to Kolobe, being creative is a good way to de-stress and take your mind off challenges or problems. This includes everything from art, music, dancing, crafting and even cooking. 

Kolobe says research shows that when one takes time to do something different, even if it's dancing to music, it will help them get back to their work or challenges with a fresher perspective and renewed thinking.

"This is often what is needed to find creative solutions, rather than more hard work or over-thinking a problem," she adds. 

Well known South African businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo who is the owner and CEO of Basetsana Woman Investment Holdings has said that she uses music to unwind from her busy schedule. 

"I’ve come up with many of my best ideas at 30,000 feet" - Richard Branson

"I play the piano and have lessons every second week. I am a closet muso, and there is always music playing in our home over the weekend and we all fancy ourselves as great dancers," Kumalo was quoted saying.

According to Kolobe, cooking can be also be creative pursuit.

"For some people it is a chore, but for those who enjoy it, and are able to experience their creativity and enjoyment in the cooking process, are lucky because it's an every day activity that can make a healthy difference to their life in holistic way. The more you can integrate these activities in your life the higher the chances you will stick to it even when the going gets tough," she says.

One entrepreneur who is a self-confessed foodie is João da Fonseca the co-founder of 34 Music label and front man of the Micasa music group. He says that cooking is what helps him to unwind. 

"Cooking and good food is something I have grown up with. Both parents work in the hospitality industry so it’s always been a very important part of my upbringing. So with my free time I explore that side of me. I taste different cuisines around the world and bring them back into my kitchen and experiment," he says.

2. Meditation and relaxation

According to Kolobe regular practice of meditation  and yoga can help entrepreneurs find stillness, "this is incredibly powerful because it has been shown to improve your brain stability positively," she says. She adds, "there are many different types of yoga and meditations, choose one that suits you and your values and needs, and you will be glad for it".

There is no shortage of successful entrepreneurs who believe in the power of yoga and meditation. Russell Simmons, the American business magnate is a long-time yoga and meditation enthusiast. American, Rick Goings who is the CEO of Tupperware has also been quoted saying that he uses meditation daily as a means of refocusing, and that he tries to spend twenty minutes practicing every afternoon.

3. Travel and leisure

"It's difficult to leave your business in it's early stages of growth, so be careful with your timing on this one. But when you business is well established, find opportunities and specials that can allow you to get away every couple of months rather than just at the end of the year," says Kolobe. 

She says getaways are great and refreshing, especially if you choose a quiet and relaxing destination away from the crowds. 

Richard Branson who is founder of Virgin Group, has said that he finds traveling to be beneficial. "Business often involves a lot of traveling, for better or worse. While I find travel incredibly stimulating (I’ve come up with many of my best ideas at 30,000 feet), I know that leaving town can be problematic for some people. Everything from packing to getting a good seat to fighting jetlag can turn into a hassle," he says.

4. Physical activity

Kolobe says that exercise or physical activity is crucial for all of us, if for nothing else, but for the fact that exercise enhances energy levels. Your body, she says, gains additional energy from an active life, and sitting all day at a desk is not as productive as you may think. Everyone, she says, can benefit from activities such as long walks, running, swimming and gym.

Many of the world's most successful entrepreneurs have established fitness habits. Elon Musk, founder Tesla Motors and Spacex and co-founder paypal has said that he keeps in shape by playing sports like tennis and swimming. 

Sibusiso Leope who is co-owner of TS Records label, says at the top of his list of activities he does to unwind is sport. "I swim, I spend more time with my daughter, I read, I watch movies and play my favorite sport is tennis". 

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