While it’s essential that everyone pays attention to their mental health no matter their age, job title, or gender, entrepreneurs have a unique lifestyle that may require them to pay even closer attention. There’s no other way to say it – being an entrepreneur is hard.They have to keep up with stressful financial matters, are constantly working their brains by coming up with novel ideas, and usually contribute more of their day to work than most other people do. With all the stress and hard work that comes with starting a new company or presenting a new idea, it’s no wonder mental health can sometimes fall on the back burner. Monitoring your mental health as an entrepreneur is vital because good mental health is what will allow you to perform at the best level, reach your goals, and make you more likely to succeed. Sometimes looking out for yourself even requires you to ask for help from others. You may do online therapy with a MyTherapist professional or something similar. No matter what it requires of you, make sure to take care of yourself. Your mental health (and your new business) will be better for it. So, how can you practice good self-care as an entrepreneur?
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Adopt Healthy Habits
Part of having good mental health is having good physical health. This includes both diet and exercise, among other practices. Eat foods that give you energy and are low in sugar. Instead of adding tons of creamer to your coffee in the morning, try to find a coffee that you can drink black. If you struggle with anxiety, recognize that drinking coffee could be making your anxiety worse and consider giving it up. Tea is a great alternative for a caffeine boost. Make time to exercise, even if it’s only for 30 minutes per day. Step outside of your office or home and go for a walk or jog or head to the gym after work. While at the office, try to stand up and walk around at least every 30 minutes or run up a flight of stairs. A little movement can go a long way.
Lean on Others
Your support network is central to your wellbeing. This includes family members, friends, colleagues, and anyone else in your circle or community. It can be hard to ask for support when you need it most, but rest assured the people who care for you will want to be there for you. Try networking with other entrepreneurs who may be more likely to understand what you’re going through. The world of entrepreneurship has unique challenges that not everyone will be able to grasp.
Set Up Strict Boundaries
Boundaries are essential in every aspect of life. From work to home to friends and even yourself, you need boundaries to stay focused and healthy. Failing to have strict boundaries set up can lead to poorer sleep, more stress, and less satisfaction with life. You may end up disappointing a lot of people or even yourself. Part of having good boundaries is keeping work at work so you’re not thinking about it when you’re at home or with friends. Sure, it may pop into your head, but do your best to stay in the moment. Practice saying “no” when it’s tempting to take on another request from someone that you are certain you don’t have the energy or time for. Boundaries are healthy, normal, and keep everyone happier, even when they feel a little harsh. The more you set up boundaries, the better you’ll get at creating and keeping them.
Manage Your Time Better
Poor time management can lead to a decline in mental health. Not only will it make you more stressed, but you’ll be less productive as well. You can have better time management by making a to-do list at the beginning of the week detailing everything you’d like to accomplish. You’ll feel satisfied being able to cross items off of the list each day. Try staying present and leaving work at work so you’re not consumed with it when at home. Staying present in the moment will make you more efficient as you work through tasks for the day and will make you happier at home. Poor time management quickly leads to burnout, which will have negative consequences for you and your company.
It may be smart to consider hiring others to help out. You may feel like you are doing fine on your own but having even one other person to help makes a huge difference. It can be hard to give up control in certain areas but bringing in new people can also mean fresh ideas and they can point out things you may not have noticed before. Areas of weakness can be improved upon and your startup company will run more efficiently. Consider hiring freelancers for small tasks if you’re not ready to add a full-time employee quite yet.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The amount of sleep you get each night directly correlates with your mental health. Going to bed even 15 minutes earlier at night has been proven to have amazing benefits. You should try to get at least eight hours of sleep but realize some adults may need more or less than eight hours. If you take naps during the day, make sure they’re not too long. Long naps can produce brain fog and can actually make you even more tired.
Do What Makes You Happy
You might be thinking “being an entrepreneur is what makes me happy.” While that may be true, you should aim to have hobbies and interests outside of your entrepreneurial pursuits. Everyone needs a break every now and then, even from the things and people they love. Try joining a sports team, taking up fishing, painting, listening to music, or simply relaxing. Even a small break can reset your mind and allow you to focus even better than before.
Take it Easy
No one’s path looks the same when you’re an entrepreneur. Sure, they may look similar, but every journey is different and new because the ideas being presented and sought after are new. Try to slow down and focus on the present-day instead of rushing through what needs to be done. While it’s tempting, try not to compete with others and recognize that timing will always look different for everyone. Not only will your work be completed at a much higher quality, but you’ll actually be able to enjoy the work instead of rushing through it.
Go on Vacation
Sometimes you just need to get away from everything. This is nothing to feel guilty about, and you should take a vacation away from work whenever you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Even a quick weekend vacation can be the perfect way to reset your brain and refocus. If all you’re doing all day every day is staring at the same set of papers or going through the same financial documents, it’s no wonder you can quickly get burnt out. Do yourself a favor and step away from all of it, even for a short time.
Enjoy Your Path
Since everyone’s path looks different, you should try to celebrate yours no matter what it looks like. This means both the highs and the lows. The truth is that even setbacks are part of your journey and they often make you stronger in the end. Instead of looking at challenges as reasons to give up, use them to propel you and your company forward even more. Being an entrepreneur is all about adapting and trying new things. While you may not be successful right away, always believe that your big break is just around the corner, but don’t let that be what dictates your state of mind. Your business doesn’t determine your sense of worth, so try to separate the success of your business from how you feel about yourself. Remember that in the end, the most important thing is that you never give up.
See a Professional Sooner Rather Than Later
If you’ve tried everything and still don’t feel any better, it may be time to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. You’ll want to consider what you’re aiming to get out of therapy and ask lots of questions when picking a therapist. Ask yourself whether you’d prefer a therapist with a specific gender, age, or who has certain qualifications. Remember you can always switch if one doesn’t work out. Hopefully, you will find someone who listens well, gives great advice, and helps you start to feel a lot better.
Being an entrepreneur brings with it special challenges and you should prepare yourself for these. While you may be even more prone to mental health issues as an entrepreneur than the average population would, don’t let that scare you. Awareness and prevention are key. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and take note of any negative thoughts you experience. Practice healthy habits and take good care of yourself. Note that mental health problems aren’t entirely in your control, so you shouldn’t ever feel bad for experiencing them. They are extremely common, and recovery is always possible. Remember there are lots of people just like you trying to start their own companies. Network and connect with them because it’s likely they have very similar experiences as you do. Lean on the people around you and never hesitate to seek professional help when needed.