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  • Mary Windham

Camp Out, Don't Burn Out

From the Desk of Mary

Event Manager - Entrepreneur - Adventurer

Entrepreneurship is a very difficult journey and if time is not set-aside for self-care, this journey can lead to entrepreneurial burnout, stress, depression, anxiety, weight gain, and more. Therefore it's absolutely critical for entrepreneurs to set-aside time just for themselves to decompress and re-energize.

As entrepreneurs, we get so wrapped up in operating our companies and keeping up with home life that self-care can easily be forgotten or placed on the back burner. Then eventually we start to notice our creativity waning, patience getting shorter, depression and anxiety starts seeping in, and more.

What we don't realize is tending to your health and wellness is critical to your company's growth and success, as well as the happiness of your home. If you are not at 100%, then it will flow through to your company and family.

Personally, as an entrepreneur in Event Planning - a career that continuously stays on Forbes’ Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs list - I definitely have to set aside my time to just unplug.

I have always been an outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, biking, climbing, running, kayaking… I love it all. But even I have fallen into the trap of getting so wrapped up in work that I totally neglected decompressing and re-energizing my mind, body, and soul. I’ve experienced many of the negative side effects mentioned above.

Now, no matter what, I always make sure to fit in some type of exercise several times a week to help with stress levels, maintain a healthy weight, keep mental clarity, and boost energy. This can be invaluable. It’s also important to enjoy time with family and friends, your support network as you travel down the entrepreneurship path.

When I need to REALLY decompress, re-energize, and work out solutions, I escape to the mountains with my hiking buddies for the healing benefits of nature! There’s something about disconnecting completely from our fast-paced, constantly connected world that helps my brain breathe.

This month, I unplugged and traveled to a secluded wilderness area in the Great North Mountains near Woodstock, Virginia with my good friend and hiking buddy, Volky Garcia Cullis. The area has beautiful trails and overlooks, including Big and Little Schloss.

We conquered a steep 3.4 mile hike up the mountain to the ridge where our little historic, primitive, off-grid 10x10 Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) cabin, “Sugar Knob,” awaited us. Most importantly, there was no cell service, no electricity, and no running water… just us with nature.

Over our two days, we enjoyed tough hikes, great conversation, gathering and cutting wood, cooking delicious meals around the campfires, and just soaking in the quiet and beauty of the wilderness. Times like these help the mind and body reset.

Separation from constantly working helps with introspection and bigger-picture thinking. Fresh air and good company can help cultivate new solutions. Doing something you love can remind you of your purpose and motivation. Don’t wait - time away from your day-to-day hustle and bustle can be the break you need to feel and do better, at work and in your personal life.

How do you unplug? Leave a comment below!

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