I dare to say, taking care of your mental and emotional health is one of the most important tasks of an entrepreneur, and it is often underestimated. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness each year. Your mental health is part of your life as it impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Is also related to your physical health. A study done on the Effects of Mental Health on Physical Health concluded that positive mental health significantly retards irreversible midlife decline in physical health. One factor that can affect emotional and mental health is high levels of stress. As an entrepreneur, you might feel overwhelmed with all of the work that running a business has, feeling pushed to the brink, and some may feel anxious as you are constantly engaged.
The first step in taking care of your mental health is identifying what causes you stress. Once you have done that, the next step is finding a solution. Here are a few common stress factors to help you identify what is affecting your mental health and a few tips to relieve stress.
You have decided to enter the entrepreneurship world where other businesses are trying to solve the same or similar problem for their customers. As an upcoming entrepreneur, your focus will be on what the competition is doing, how many customers they have, and what you can do to differentiate yourself from them. However, spending every moment thinking about the competition can only do so much. Instead, focus on what can be done to solve the problem in your own way for your specific audience. Change your focus from how to be better to how to be different.
All great businesses are made up of a great team of people, not just by the greatness of one person. Companies like Google, The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft were developed by a great team of people. Just because you had the idea to create and develop a business does not mean you have the skills or experience to do everything, and not every entrepreneur understands this. Delegating can help you focus on other important tasks. Hiring candidates with diverse experiences will lead to better outcomes on the things you do not know. Trust them, they are here to help your business be successful.
Entrepreneurs do not limit themselves to how big they can dream. They find a problem and creating a solution for it is the main goal. As a creative person you will come up with multiple solutions to the same problem. Make sure you have the resources to make it happen, because when your goal requires more skills, energy, knowledge, time, and other resources than those you have available, it becomes unrealistic in certain timeframes. This does not mean you cannot have big goals, in fact, dream big. Just make sure you have the resources and time to achieve it, that is what makes those dreams achievable.
Being an entrepreneur means you are the face of a company. Decision making lies on your shoulders. Your business will have its ups and downs and your team will look at you for solutions. Taking responsibility for your actions, saying no when events do not benefit your business and having mentors that can help your decision making will help you succeed as an entrepreneur. Focus on the solutions rather than the problems and ask for help from your mentors when you need it.
Startup money is different for every business. Some will develop easily with little investment while others might need millions before they see income. The problem comes when there is not enough startup capital and a need arises to borrow from friends or family. Be sure to evaluate the capital needed to start your business and set aside more capital for any unforeseen circumstances.
Journaling your emotions can reduce stress by transferring your negative thoughts and emotions from your mind onto paper. Find a time that suits your schedule and create a routine. Write about what is bothering you and reflect upon it. It also helps with problem solving. Writing down the problem will inspire you to reflect on it and the solutions for it. Journaling helps you keep perspective of your goals. Write down your goals for that day or week and the steps that you need to take in order to achieve your ultimate goal. You will feel more organized and satisfied when you achieve those goals.
Hobbies can be the relaxing time you need between your busy routine. Think about all of the fun activities you used to do when you were younger. Even if you are older now, that does not mean the fun needs to stop. Find something you enjoy doing and make time for it. Simple things like watching a movie, reading a book, or going for a walk are the perfect escape for challenging times.
Being an entrepreneur can become a 24/7 job causing you to spend less time with family and friends. Spending time with loved ones improves psychological well-being and helps you cope with stress. Talking about your problems with people who will listen and care about you can be the medicine that you need. The amount of time you will be able to spend with them is going to be less than before but once in a while it is important to make time for them. They can become the energy burst to continue your journey.
As an entrepreneur, you will find many situations that can affect your mental and emotional health. Try maintaining a positive attitude, focus on the solutions and not the problems. Take time for yourself and do something you love to do. Most importantly, talk about your problems, whether it is with a friend, a mentor, or on a piece of paper, what matters is not letting it stay in your mind.
We want to know how you take care of your mental health. Share your experience with other entrepreneurs and help them take care of their mental health.