The life of an entrepreneur is never dull – however, it is rarely easy. Working for yourself often sounds like the dream (especially when you’re still working for someone else), but the challenges that come with it aren’t for everyone. Even the best prepared and the best suited to the entrepreneurial lifestyle feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and emotionally drained at times.
Let’s explore how you can better manage your mental health while tackling (or planning to tackle) entrepreneurship.
The importance of mental health
Mental health is getting more and more attention, and having mental health challenges is no longer as stigmatized as it once was. However, there’s more to staying mentally healthy than not having a mental health challenge or issue.
Preserving your mental health allows you to enjoy life to the fullest. To be your most productive and best-functioning self. To be able to stay creative, inquisitive, and ready for the next challenge.
When your mental health suffers, you’re simply not at the top of your game – so making sure you manage it well is paramount.
1. Know what stresses you out
The first step to preserving your mental wellbeing is identifying the causes of your personal stress. Different people are triggered by different stressors, so knowing yours will help a lot in feeling better.
Remember that you can’t avoid all stressors completely. You’ll still have to face some of them – but understanding your reactions and knowing which situations will cause you stress can help you mentally prepare and handle these situations better.
2. Use technology to your advantage
There are plenty of ways to use tech to become better at what you do and who you are. There are the apps that you use at work, from productivity apps to time trackers and all the tools of your trade. There are also apps that will help you sleep, those that can help you sharpen your cognitive skills, apps for mediation, and so on.
Test out apps that you feel will benefit both your work and your private life, and stick to the ones you feel are working best.
3. Sleep better
Sleep is one of the most underrated components of physical and mental wellbeing. Without it, our health begins to suffer, we become more moody and irritable, less productive and focused, and consequently, our performance at work suffers as well.
If you find you’re unable to sleep, try to identify the causes of your sleeplessness. You want to make sure you’re going to bed on time (leaving yourself plenty of potential hours of sleep), sleeping well, and waking up refreshed.
4. View rest as a part of productivity
While we’re on the subject of rest, don’t forget that rest and relaxation are not the enemies of productivity, but quite the opposite. You may mistakenly believe that you need to work more in order to get better results, but if you’re sacrificing rest to get more done, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
A rested mind that has had time to focus on things other than work will always perform better than a mind that has been preoccupied with work for days on end. So make sure to schedule in plenty of downtimes, if that’s what it takes to get you away from your work.
5. Know that happiness is not the goal
People often mistakenly believe that they need to be happy at work. However, happiness is a fleeting emotion, and it cannot be sustained, since longevity is not in its nature.
The emotion you’re actually looking for is contentment. This translates into being satisfied where you are in life and work, and comfortable with the things you’re doing. This is a sustainable emotion and one that you can derive a lot of satisfaction from.
6. Adopt healthy habits
One of the keys to success is health. Without it, true success is never quite achievable, or it is marred by feeling unwell.
To stay healthy as an entrepreneur, you need to adopt some healthy habits. Move every day and don’t just sit at your desk. Eat healthy foods that are good for you and that you actually enjoy eating. Drink plenty of water, and find a way to channel the stress out of your body. You can do this through yoga, meditation, martial arts, running, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Whatever works for you, make sure you keep doing it.
7. Write your ideas down
We’re all plagued by an excess of ideas sometimes, ideas we can’t hope to put into action over the course of several years sometimes. Instead of letting them take up space in your mind, write them down, plot them out, and know that you can come back to them at a better time.
Choose your priorities consciously and focus on them willingly. That way, you won’t have the feeling of doing something you don’t want or something you have been made to do.
8. Find the support you need
Having a support system that works is incredibly important – so make sure you surround yourself with people who can help you out. Whether it’s someone you can bounce ideas off of or someone who can just listen to your rants when you need to vent, find people who have your best interest at heart, and who will be there for you when you need them.
You can also find yourself a business mentor, talk to a therapist, or find a group of entrepreneurs online with who you can share your thoughts and struggles.
To sum it all up
Being an entrepreneur is an incredible experience, one that you can thoroughly enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean it will be a walk in the park or that there won’t be incredibly hard times ahead. Be prepared for the stress and the hardships, and accept them as part of the experience. Meanwhile, work on your mental health and resilience, and you should be just fine.