Being an entrepreneur in today’s world comes with a set of obligations and expectations which can take a toll on your mental health. Taking care of yourself has perhaps never been more important than now, so here are 10 mental health tips for entrepreneurs everyone should consider implementing:
1. Sleep Is Not Overrated
It’s not uncommon to sacrifice precious sleeping hours for late-night emails or early morning numbers-crunching, but that's the exact opposite of what you should be doing to boost your productivity, improve your focus, and be able to perform at your best at any given moment.
Implementing good sleeping habits is crucial when it comes to recharging your brain and making it refreshed and ready to tackle everything you throw at it. Try going to bed at a decent hour and waking up with enough sleep to give your mind enough rest. Remove all technology from your bedroom to minimize any blue light exposure, and try leaving your to-do list away from your cozy sanctuary, giving your brain a chance to unwind.
2. Take Breaks, Often
Whether you’re working from home or commuting to the office, make sure your schedule has penciled in breaks so you don’t end up typing away or having end-to-end meetings from morning to evening. Schedule short, often 10-15 min breaks in between tasks or meetings to simply clear your head, stretch your legs, get some fresh air, replenish your bottle of water, or eat something nutritious, and give yourself a boost of fresh energy. It’s way more powerful than you think.
3. Do Something That Brings You Joy
Even when you genuinely love your entrepreneur job, you still need to spend quality time exploring a non-work-related hobby that brings you joy. Take dance classes (YouTube videos count too!), listen to podcasts, take up painting, read a new book, learn how to knit, or simply move your laptop away from you when you’re watching your favorite Netflix show.
Even if work doesn't feel like work for you, it’s still important to be able to distance yourself from your job and carve enough time for other enjoyable activities in your life so that you’re able to give your brain a much-needed change of scenery & avoid burnout.
4. Stay Connected To The People You Love
Don’t neglect your friends and family because of work. Socializing is extremely important for mental health as it keeps you connected to the people you love and it gives you the much-needed emotional support you might not even think you need.
Spending day after day after day just working on making your dreams come true is exhausting and hard, and those around you see that, respect that, and want to be there for you - as you should be for them too. Take a night off and go out to dinner with your friends, call your sister and catch up on the latest updates, say yes to your mom when she asks you to come to Sunday lunch, and don’t skip after-work (Zoom) drinks with your colleagues. Nourishing social connections is something we all should strive for as it keeps us healthier, happier, and less stressed.
5. Spend Time In Nature
Nature is a form of therapy that does wonders for both, your physical and mental health, supplying you with fresh oxygen, disconnecting you from the stressful technology buzz, and allowing you to relax and let your shoulders drop, feeling a sense of calm overtake your entire being.
Even a short, 10-minute walk around the park will do, so try to implement it more often during your week and feel yourself getting the much-needed zen your stressed-out brain so desperately needs.
6. Pay Attention To Your Physical Health
Taking care of your body directly takes care of your mind, and it’s not just because of those exercise endorphins. Making sure that everything runs smoothly keeps your blood sugar and stress levels down, giving you enough energy to deal with your daily tasks and get proper sleep during the night. That’s why engaging in some kind of physical exercise is extremely important, and keeping a consistent routine will build up your strength and endurance, make you challenge yourself, and help you translate that to your daily mental tasks.
At the same time, nourishing your body with healthy food options supplies you with muscle-building protein, hormone-balancing fats, energy-creating carbohydrates, and immune-boosting vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy and thriving. One simply cannot go without the other.
7. Find Your Self-Care Routine
It’s important to find what works for you and actively brings your stress levels down. Whether it’s drawing yourself a bath, putting your phone on airplane mode and reading a book, cooking an elaborate dinner, or putting on your favorite Spotify playlist and dancing around the house, it doesn’t matter as long as it brings you those zen vibes.
Having a consistent self-care routine that works for you will help you feel better even on the worst of days and it’s exactly that counterbalance you need that will keep you calm and ready to tackle whatever problem you’re facing. It’s the yin to your entrepreneurial yang.
8. Talk About Your Struggles
Every entrepreneur knows how one minute you could be riding the high and the next thing you know, you have an escalation that threatens your whole project from succeeding. These ups & downs can be hard to deal with by yourself and that’s why it’s so important to talk it out with someone who either knows the whole situation and can offer some help, a friend or family member who can offer some support, or a professional who can offer some guidance.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re doing the right thing as you’re not keeping it in and letting it occupy your mind and stress you out even more. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a text to a friend and your stress levels can drop from a solid 10 to a 5. Try it yourself!
9. Create Clear Boundaries
If you’re having a hard time shutting off your laptop at odd hours of the night or staying off your emails at every social gathering, it’s time to create some clear boundaries between work and your personal life, as chances are, you are severely crossing over. Setting a cut-off time when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed is critical to maintain your sanity, so create a schedule and stick to it, even when all you have to do is “answer one more email.”
Stay consistent with it and over time, it’ll become so normal, you won’t even understand how you didn’t do it before.
10. Business Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
It’s important to remind yourself that once you’re an entrepreneur, you are in this for the long run. Building a business takes time, perseverance, dedication, and a whole lot of tolerance. It’s important to acknowledge and accept that there’ll be ups and downs, successes and failures, moments of crazy hectic schedules and moments of peace and quiet.
The sooner you get accustomed to these constant changes, the lesser impact it will have on your mental health. It’s important to keep nourishing your mental wellbeing even when the work-life balance isn’t where you want it to be and you feel like giving up. That’s how you grow stronger and more resilient.
Entrepreneurship is wonderful and hard at the same time, but your mental and physical health have to come first. Taking care of yourself means you get to make smart choices, increases your creativity and productivity, gives you energy and a clearer head to focus on how to deal with unpleasant situations and helps you become a better entrepreneur all around.
Author: Karla Ilicic