The contribution of entrepreneurs to a society’s growth, both socially and economically, is unparalleled. And yet, recent studies by Michael Freeman, an award-winning journalist, have revealed that entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition. While there is a lot of debate going on around the topic of mental health, it is still treated as a secondary issue. How many times have you taken a day off because you weren’t in the right state-of-mind? You would most probably reject it as a lame excuse, right? The same cannot be said of a gnawing back pain, though.
While it is totally understandable that your job as an entrepreneur is riddled with stress and burn-out, ignoring them is never the right solution. On the contrary, it may lead to chronic conditions that does no good to anyone. Well, fret not; here are 5 mental health hacks that can help you enjoy a fruitful work life.
Build mental resilience
People generally view entrepreneurship as a cool job; you’re your own boss, after all! However, no one realizes the amount of responsibilities that comes with the job. Running a business is tough and may get to you at some point. This is why, it is extremely important to understand right from the beginning that entrepreneurship is much more than just having an optimistic outlook. You must be ready for all the failures and setbacks that are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes at any stage in the journey. Patience and focus are crucial in dire situations, and only a strong mind can give you the emotional stability to stay put even when nothing seems to be going your way.
Involving in constructive hobbies can help you build mental resilience and cultivate an attitude of taking things in your stride. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, just switch off and tend to your backyard garden.
Identify the stress triggers
Anxiety and depression are common outcomes of extreme pressure, and they are not to be taken lightly for they have the potential to shut you off to your job and even yourself. You might sometimes feel a compulsive drive to get things going, unfortunately at the cost of relationships and health. Also, irregular eating and sleeping habits and losing touch with friends because of work may seem natural, but they can very well be the early signs of impending mental health issues.
Hence, it is crucial that you proactively identify the triggers that leave you stressed and anxious. Once you have put a finger on the triggers, find out ways around them. For example, if working on complex reports is what triggers anxiety, allocate a time of day when you’re in a relatively fresh state of mind and don’t have too much on your plate, such as in the morning. Take breaks or even sabbaticals. If need be, seek professional help. Understand that there’s no shame in admitting that you can’t take it anymore.
Manage your workload effectively
Managing deadlines and dealing with unpredictability at work are two of the biggest causes of stress, as your success depends on how effectively you manage them. As an entrepreneur, you juggle a lot of things and sometimes, it may all seem too much to handle.
Therefore, you should understand the importance of working smarter, instead of harder. Prioritizing your goals, assigning small tasks to each goal, and scheduling them properly can make things a lot easier. For example, set out two days in a week for all your meetings, so you don’t end up wasting precious time in the logistics of it all, which is mostly unproductive. Also, efficiency is something that entrepreneurs live by. So, investing in solutions that can automate most of the menial work can help a lot.
Nurture a support system
Entrepreneurship is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride with as many lows as highs. Failures and setbacks are part and parcel of the trip. And most of all, it is a lonely job – of course, you have a team to support you but the brunt of it all is eventually yours to bear. This is why it is incredibly important for you to have people you can fall back on. It can be anyone – your wife, parents, friends, mentor, or even colleagues. Just make sure you don’t hesitate in reaching out to them. Conversations and dialogue have always proven to be the best solution to dire situations.
Take out time for yourself
In addition to being your own boss, don’t forget that you are also your best friend. Entrepreneurship is a demanding job, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you don’t give time to yourself. It is as important to invest in yourself as in your business.
Exercising and eating healthy can have a positive impact on your mental health. Ensure that you do something every day that makes you happy, be it reading, watching movies, or exploring new places – whichever suits you. Get involved in projects outside of your work – it can be anything, from cooking and cleaning your room to being involved in outdoor activities like football or trekking. Just make sure you enjoy the process more than the results and, most important of all, give yourself the room to make mistakes. It will keep you motivated and certainly help you deal with stress and anxiety.
Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of passion and commitment, and along come incredible amounts of stress that can affect your peace of mind. There is so much at stake; therefore, taking care of your mental health is crucial. After all, if you are not fit, the health of your business is also bound to take a hit.