Entrepreneurship is an adventure. You can set your own hours and choose where and when to work. You make money by doing something you are incredibly passionate about and your income potential is unlimited. Chances are you are the sort of person who likes to push yourself to grow.
But let’s be honest. Owning and operating your own business or even trying to get an idea off the ground can be overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes debilitating.
That is why it is essential to keep an eye on your mental health. The longer your mental and physical health go unchecked, the more likely you’ll be under chronic stress, leading to serious health problems and leaving you even more vulnerable to mental health problems.
To be your most productive and best-functioning self, you need to make sure you manage your stressors, take care of yourself and have a great support system. And above all else, talk to a medical professional if you need are in need of help and/or experiencing physical or psychological distress.
Stressors can be grouped into two broad categories: physiological and psychological. Physiological stressors put a strain on your body such as very hot or cold temperatures, or injuries to the body. Psychological stressors are events, situations, or anything we interpret as negative (i.e.: losing a loved one).
While you can’t avoid stressors altogether, you can take time to understand your reactions to specific scenarios so you can mentally prepare and handle situations better.
Two examples of stressors are feeling pressure to always be positive for your investors and team. This can be lonely and create an unhealthy mental connection to your business endeavors. And an unplanned expense from operating your business.
Stressors can cause worry, lack of concentration, poor judgment and more. Your body will also display physical symptoms under stress. These can include:
- Aches and pains
- Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
- Stomach problems
- High blood pressure
It can sometimes be difficult to see what is actually the cause of your stress. Identifying triggers like negative thoughts or physical reactions like panic attacks and tracking them over time could help you make a connection.
If you know something’s wrong, but the answer is not an obvious one, consider seeking professional help to uncover the root cause of any mental health issues you may be experiencing.
Have you ever heard of “messy hour, messy mind?” Administrative tasks, processes and procedures are necessities of owning your own business. Some people embrace processes and others cringe at the idea. Regardless, taking care of the administrative side of a startup can lead to burnout, stress, health issues and more – for anyone. Remember, you are just one person. You can’t do it all. But if you streamline those tasks, you’ll be in a better headspace to take on anything else that comes your way.
Here are some things you can do to streamline your business:
- Organize and clean your office. A cluttered space will lead to a cluttered mind. Whether at home or in the office, purge, clean and organize your stuff. If this is a particularly difficult task for you, consider hiring a professional organizer!
- Organize your files. So much time is wasted when you have to search for documents, papers, videos, photos, etc. Take time or organize your files in a way that you can find things easily – and so that everything is backed up. You’ll save time and frustration.
- Continually audit and monitor your business processes and workflows to identify what is working versus what is not. This is a work in progress.
- Identify areas where you can use technology to automate. There are many software programs out there that are free or cost-effective. For instance, check out this article.
- Ask for or hire help. If you have the chance, consider hiring someone to help you with the administrative items, such as a part-time assistant. Or maybe you have a family member or friend who could help take some of the admin tasks off your plate. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to ask; like we said, some people actually like organizing things and building processes!
Adopt healthy habits
Operating your small business can feel like you’ll never take a vacation day again. But that’s more reason why you should. Rest is essential for creativity and productivity.
Insufficient sleep can lead to a lack of concentration and irritable tendencies. To maximize your sleep, stick to a routine and create relaxation before bedtime. This means putting down your phone unless you listen to a meditation app. Read something relaxing or journal your ideas so you can empty your brain before shut-eye.
Healthy eating and exercise are also great ways to manage stressors in your day-to-day activities and provide more restful sleep. Don’t have time to go to the gym? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do you often grab food on the go? Stock up your car or office with healthy snacks.
Other actionable items for a healthy lifestyle:
- Journal your thoughts.
- Listen to a meditation app like Headspace or Calm.
- Find a hobby just for joy like reading or painting.
- Exercise daily. This could be as simple as a walk outside, a hike at your local park or walking the hallways every hour – just be sure to move. Your body and mind will thank you!
It’s always easier to start small. You’re more likely to be successful and develop long-term habits that stick.
Let go of perfection
Building a successful business takes time, and there will be mistakes along the way. Once you can let go of unrealistic and unattainable expectations, you can get more done.
Here are some thoughts and ideas to keep in mind:
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Take responsibility for your own emotions and actions.
- Schedule your day with realistic expectations. Example: three big to-do items instead of a running list.
- Praise yourself for things you achieve, big and small!
- Learn from failure; your business will benefit from it.
Build your community
At some point, every successful entrepreneur needs to ask for help and learn to depend on others. So be sure to surround yourself with people who can help make your path easier by providing their support. Lean on friends, family, colleagues, or anyone who can help you navigate roadblocks.
Come talk to us!
We are here for you at Bounce Innovation Hub! We want to see all entrepreneurs succeed. More importantly, connect with us if you need help finding a resource to overcome a roadblock.
Finding your support system will help your business stay on track and find new opportunities. More importantly, it will help you have an outlet when times are tough, and you just need an ear to listen.