Stressed Out

Dealing with the stress.

This article was published on January 20, 2010.
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Lately I've been really stressed out with work. The last two weeks have been the busiest I can recall. Last week was especially strenuous, with over ten business meetings and Grant in New York for the week to work with us here. I'm trying to maintain a balanced life, but it's difficult right before a release, and some Carbonmade stuff is getting close. Here's what I've been doing to try and stay sane.

Stress

Eating Healthier

I've never been a habitually unhealthy eater, but I sometimes have given in to temptation and convenience. Not eating healthy is one of the worst things you can do if you're trying to maintain your energy levels. If you eat too many fatty foods, carbohydrates and sugars, the quick energy boost you get will quickly fade and you'll be worse off than before. You've got to maintain a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. Easier said than done.

For most of the month of January I've eaten vegetarian, with the occasional piece of chicken or turkey. It's not hard for me to eat vegetarian in my office, as Dave, Sahadeva, Matt, Shawn, Karen, and most everybody in our office shies away from meat. What's hard has been making sure I get enough protein, so I've been trying to eat a decent amount of tofu and I've been nibbling on healthy protein bars after the gym.

Working Out

This past week I only made it to the gym twice, but the week before I was able to escape from the office around six times. Going to the gym has always helped me reduce stress and kept my body in tune. I sleep better at night. I feel better about how I look. Best of all, it's one of the only places where I don't think about work at all.

About half the times I go to the gym it'll be for a squash game followed by some light lifting. The others times I'm either running on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine. I'm not really into lifting weights — it bores me and I don't want to bulk up — so I prefer to do some core exercises after the cardio. I follow that up with a five to ten minute steam and a cold shower. Nothing is more relaxing than the steam room.

No Alcohol During January

A group of six us (Mike, Phineas, Naveen, and others) put alcohol on hold for the month of January. The main reason was that my friend Jake has to be on medication for three weeks and can't drink alcohol because of his prescription. We joined him as a gesture of support. Well, that decision has turned out to add to my stress levels, but overall it's been better for me.

I've never been a huge drinker, but typically I'd drink a couple of beers about four times a week — and more heavily on the weekends. Not having a drink has added to my stress level in some respects, as it's hard getting used to being at a bar or a music show with everyone around you drinking but sticking to water yourself. Overall, though, I've been sleeping better at night, getting just about eight hours, which I need. Also, I'm waking up more refreshed and ready to go. Both sleeping more and waking up fresh all the time are welcome changes.

Unplugging

One thing I need to work on is unplugging myself now and then. Having an iPhone the last few years hasn't helped. At least before then I wasn't constantly bombarded with e-mails and only a touch away from an Internet browser. Who really wants push notifications incessantly?

The advantages of unplugging once in a while are obvious, but for me it's very difficult to do because I handle all the e-mail that Carbonmade receives, and part of our pledge is to deliver the best and quickest customer service we can. However, it's been nearly a year since I've taken any kind of vacation. I've got to figure out some sort of compromise to relax, but there isn't a lot I can do until we hire more people to help out. That's running a startup for you.

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