Work, health, family, and social commitments can make the pressures of everyday life feel insurmountable.
As a consequence, 83% of US workers are suffering from work-related stress that is costing US businesses a whopping $300 billion each year.
But for entrepreneurs, mental health is equally, if not more, concerning.
TechCrunch reports that entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to have a mental health condition, with founders experiencing:
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
- 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization
- 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
Why is this happening?
Well, entrepreneurs are stressing over pretty much everything — from the worries of meeting bills on time, hiring — to other things like raising funding or going after big KPIs.
To put it simply, running a business or a startup in growth mode, requires a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice.
Even though the rewards of being an entrepreneur can definitely have their payoffs, with dreams of big exits and the like — mental health deserves some serious attention.
Here are five ways an entrepreneur can take care of their own mental health and making their new venture a great success.
1. You Are What You Eat
The occasional chili dog won’t kill you. But, did you know that a poor diet compounds the effects of stress on your body?
It’s hard enough for your body to repel constant stress, and giving it empty calories, hidden sugars, and other nasty additives for fuel is like trying to drive a Ferrari on kerosene — it’s not a pretty picture.
As the celebrity chef, Paula Deen says, “You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken.” Meaning, follow a varied diet you can enjoy and stick with — one that’s healthy for your body, not the insane gym instructors.
2. Catch Some Sleep
Entrepreneurs are notorious for working all hours of the day and night, trading sleep for extra tasks. But here’s the thing, sleep deprivation actually slows your productivity down.
Then it may come as no surprise to hear that a well-rested brain is far more able to cope with the arduous tasks of starting a new business and making it successful than a brain deprived of sleep.
As Ryan Hurd, author of “Dream Like a Boss: Sleep Better. Dream More, and Wake Up to What Matters Most says, “Sleep deprivation is an illegal torture method outlawed by the Geneva Convention and international courts, but most of us do it to ourselves.”
Sleep deprivation also affects your health, both physical and mental. On one hand, sleep deprivation makes you more vulnerable to whatever bug is floating around; and on the other hand, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, negative thoughts, feelings, and clinical depression.
Stress is not endemic; it doesn’t exist by itself. That’s because we create stress ourselves by worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. This includes things like worrying about paying bills, completing tasks, and all other problems that come in hand with entrepreneurship.
Whilst, relaxing is different for everyone it is important to find out what relaxes you and then make time for it on a daily basis. Janet Zaretsky of Empowered Women Enterprises says “Discover what you are afraid of that is not real, then let go of that and relax.”
4. Stay Focused
“Anxiety is often a result of our imagination and not the evidenced truth. Instead of battling with your thoughts, focus on what is true and what is present,” says Michael Dadashi, CEO of Infinite Recovery.
An entrepreneur wears many hats, usually at the same time. Doing many different things during the workday can cause you to lose your focus; anxiety creeps in, gradually taking over your thoughts.
Keeping focused on the current task keeps you from worrying about everything else you need to do; keep your focus on each task as you go through your day, and at day’s end you will have accomplished what you needed to do without stressing out over it.
5. Create Some Me-Time
Learning to live in the moment means finding ways to get away from the job and just being. Go for a walk. Hike a Nature Trail. Take a Tai Chi class, or learn yoga. Amit Ray, from Om Chanting and Meditation, says, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Relax on your back porch and watch the squirrels or climb a mountain top. You need to disconnect yourself, in order to stay focused on work.
If you do experience stressful moments at work, try closing your eyes and then focus your mind on something that is calming, like a mountain top. Breathe deeply, and you’ll ease the stress, allowing you to get back on track.