It can be rough being a business owner, with unusual working hours, high pressure, risk of failure looming, irregular money coming in, and limited social interaction. The amount of small business owners and entrepreneurs are on the rise these days and staying mentally healthy is an integral part of success. Burnout is a real thing, and can be very costly to your business both financially and to your reputation. Here are 5 steps to stay mentally healthy as an entrepreneur:
Use your support networks
This is important for anyone, but particularly those in business for themselves. It can be a very isolating experience at times. Remember that you have support systems both online and in person, and in your professional field as well as personal. These are integral for both success as well as keeping a good mindset. Have regular catch ups with those in your field to brainstorm but also to vent about how hard it is.
Understand your limitations
You cannot do everything and that is okay, accept that. In fact, people who try to do everything usually end up failing at something or falling apart mentally, physically, emotionally.
As Ariana Huffington said “The Western workplace culture— exported to many other parts of the world— is practically fuelled by stress, sleep deprivation, and burnt. This is profoundly— and negatively— affecting our creativity, our productivity, and our decision making: the very things entrepreneurs need in order to succeed.”
Turn off your email at a certain time, have no-tech days, don’t say yes to every opportunity, and say no to things that drain your soul.
Celebrate your wins regularly and reflect on your losses occasionally
As a business owner, you may not have bosses, employees or events to celebrate your wins. So you need to start this practice yourself. Set aside some time each week to recognize any recent wins. You can join a Facebook group of business owners and share your successes. Or perhaps give yourself little rewards (that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting to ge) for milestones or achievements. This is not a trivial thing; this is an integral part of keeping your mental health strong and your mindset positive.
Similarly, take time occasionally to reflect on any losses and why they may have occurred. Could it be because you didn’t put in 100%? Or perhaps you weren’t that invested in the task in the first place? Maybe, you said yes to something that you should have said no to. This kind of reflection will only help you grow both as a business and as a person.
Engage in self-care everyday
In our culture, we tend to celebrate the ‘hustle’ and reward those who don’t have the time to sleep and who are too busy building their empire to rest and relax. This is SO unhealthy and creates an expectation that people cannot meet. It results in burnout, stress, health problems and poor mental health.
Ariana puts it perfect again “We routinely overbook ourselves, fearful of any unused capacity, confident that we can fit everything in. We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we “save.” It’s actually a very costly way to live.”
Take time every day to engage in some self-care. Hire help if need be, leave the dishes for a day, combine self-care with friends, get up 10 minutes earlier to journal your thoughts.
Seek professional help when needed
If things get on top of you too much you may notice the signs of burnout (anxiety, low mood, poor sleep, irritability, poor concentration). In this case, chatting to a psychologist may be very beneficial. You don’t always need to have a ‘mental health problem’ to see a psychologist. Actually, it can be an important step to prevent further issues down the line. Think of it as investing in yourself and by association, your business. A healthy, calm, coping woman is a much better business owner than a stressed out one!