Stress, anxiety, and overwhelm are something that people all around the world are experiencing more than ever right now thanks to the pandemic. But these are things that many entrepreneurs were already living with. Starting and running a business is no small feat. You may feel like you’re under constant stress on a daily basis which can be damaging to your mental health.
Because there is no division between who you are at work and who you are as an individual, it’s important to learn how to protect your mental health while running a business. Here are a few strategies that can help.
Develop a self-care routine
Self-care activities are the simple things that we do as people to help us rest, recharge, and be healthy. This includes things like eating right, exercise, getting a good night’s sleep, and spending time with people we enjoy. These sound easy enough to do, however, they can be a challenge for entrepreneurs.
There is a quote by Lori Greiner that says, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”
And that might sound a little crazy, but if you’re an entrepreneur you understand what she means. You’d rather work long hours while getting to be in control of your destiny then work a 9 to 5 for someone else. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, except you need to keep an eye on your self-care.
Starting a business requires long hours at times. You may find yourself grabbing too much fast food between meetings, staying up too late and waking up too early, and cutting out that morning workout or evening out with friends because you “just don’t have time”.
You might be able to get away with it for a while, but if you try to keep up that schedule for too long, you may find that your mental health suffers. You’ll end up exhausted. Creating a self-care routine that you use each day can help you avoid reaching the point of burnout.
Get systems in place
Well-run businesses are usually doing well because they have the right systems running. However, it takes some entrepreneurs a while to get to this place. Many start their businesses by jumping into the business work itself instead of developing efficient systems and processes. And it may work for a while but as the business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand.
When you reach this point, the inefficiencies really start to show but you may feel too busy to address them. This can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
The book, “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E Gerber, walks entrepreneurs through the process of establishing systems in a business so they can work “on” their business instead of just “in” their business. Not only will this help your business to grow more efficiently, but it will also help you with your mental health as you run the business.
Look for areas of your business where you could create systems that will help make your life easier now and in the future.
Delegate what you don’t need to do
If you have a growing company, you’re going to reach the point of needing to hire help. This could be either hiring employees for your business or finding contract workers that can help you out as you expand. This can go a long way in helping with your mental health by taking things off your plate and shifting them to someone else.
Delegating tasks can free up your time to focus on the areas of your business that need your attention and it can free up your time for maintaining your personal life as well. This is a good step in reducing the number of hours that you need to work.
Learn to separate yourself from your business
When you feel that you are the sole person responsible for the success or failure of your business, the lines of personal and business start to blur. You may find that when you experience a failure in your business, you think you’re a failure too. If a customer complains about something, you may take it personally. And eventually, your self-esteem and confidence are 100% tied up in how your business is doing.
It can be tough to make and maintain that separation between who you are and your business performance. However, healthy self-esteem is important for maintaining your mental health and wellness.
You may find it helpful to set aside time for you to be yourself outside of your business. Spend time doing activities that you enjoy in your personal life. Establish times when you don’t check your work email or phone messages. Provide yourself with time where you can free your mind from the stress of the business.
Reframe your thinking
Negative self-talk can have a large impact on your mental health. This can come from the way you think or talk about yourself after experiencing setbacks in business. However, you may also struggle with this from other areas of life as well. Learning to use positive affirmations in your day can be effective at helping you shift the way that you think.
For example, when you experience a failure at closing a deal with a client, instead of thinking that you failed because you’re not good enough, you can reframe it. You could choose to think something like, “I might not have closed this deal, but I learned important things that I can apply to my next sales lead.”
Spend a few days tracking your self-talk. Look for any instances of negative self-talk and then create ways to reframe it to be more positive.
Reach out for help when needed
Sometimes the struggles we have are more than what we know how to manage on our own. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for therapy. While some people think that therapy is only for those with mental health disorders or trauma, the reality is that a counselor can help you learn to manage the daily stress that you are exposed to when running a business.
Taking care of your mental health and wellness can help you think more clearly, feel reenergized and even enjoy your business more.