Self-Care & Mental Health Tips For Entrepreneurs

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The life of the entrepreneur can be demanding and difficult. Entrepreneurs often bear incredible amounts of stress. They work long hours or stick to grueling schedules, sometimes for years before the workload can ease. Entrepreneurs navigate uncharted territory by definition, often blazing trails into places or realities others have not traversed. They must manage large amounts of risk and responsibility, especially as their endeavors grow and they may employ staff or manage large investments or contracts. 

These formidable realities create huge amounts of stress and pressure. If not managed effectively, these stressors can destroy an entrepreneur’s mental health and cause problems that are sometimes irreversible, or at the very least, take ample concerted time and intentionality to correct. This is why it is incredibly important for entrepreneurs to stay on top of their mental health. By proactively protecting it while engaging in their work, entrepreneurs can thrive and remain able to carry out their roles. 

The Nature Of Entrepreneurship 

There are many types of entrepreneurs. Some start small-growth businesses that won’t be scaled past, for example, one location or brand. An example of this would be a small restaurant, shop, or craft line. Others begin enterprises they hope to scale into large companies. These endeavors often involve pitching for investments, hiring teams, and planning for large growth over a period of years. Others begin social enterprises, campaigns, or causes. 

Any of these categories involve risk, pioneering, and vision casting. Though the details can look different, entrepreneurs all work to bring a vision to life that is not currently a reality. 

The Stressors That Entrepreneurs Commonly Experience 

Due to the nature of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs will experience high levels of any or all of the following stressful factors: 

High Workload 

Entrepreneurs don’t get the luxury of the 9-5 job. They have signed up for workloads above and beyond that of normal careers. Entrepreneurs can work 60, 70, or even 80 hours a week depending on where their companies or projects are in their life cycles. 

Decision Fatigue 

It takes great capacity to make high volumes of decisions, or to make decisions that carry a lot of weight. Entrepreneurs can frequently face both scenarios, often at the same time. Add to that the frequent need to make decisions quickly and often without adequate data, and this stress point can become formidable. Decisions and the burden of being responsible for them can be incredibly demanding. 

Taking On High Levels Of Risk 

More often than not, entrepreneurship involves considerable risk. The rate of failure amongst startup ventures is staggering - over two thirds of entrepreneurial projects do not survive to ten years of age. Only just over half of the small businesses started in the United States make it to five years. These statistics reveal just how difficult it is to keep a startup venture alive and see it last. 

Responsibilities To Stakeholders, Employees, And Customers 

Entrepreneurship doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Along the way, every startup gathers various stakeholders. This might include a co-founder and could be followed by investors, employees, and more in addition to customers. Family members, friends, and significant others are also personally affected by an entrepreneur’s endeavors. These large networks of people that have interest or stake in the project can add immense pressure to the process. 

Each of these factors and more can create highly stressful environments for entrepreneurs. Without combating them, they can become detrimental or even dangerous to an entrepreneur’s mental health. 

Tips For Maintaining Strong Self-Care And Mental Health 

In order to keep their mental health strong, entrepreneurs need to be intentional about incorporating self-help and mental health first aid into their regular routines. Here are some of the best methods for accomplishing this: 

Prioritize Sleep 

Sleep is one of the biggest determining factors that can help maintain strong mental health and prevent a variety of breakdowns or problems. It’s also unfortunately one of the first things to go for entrepreneurs who feel compelled to work long hours and pour every moment into their business or endeavor. This is ultimately a doomed strategy and should be avoided. Entrepreneurs must allow themselves the number of hours their body needs to feel rested as much as physically possible. 

They should work to ensure good-quality sleep, set regular rhythms and bedtimes to help their bodies acclimate to sleeping patterns, and think about sleep aids like essential oil diffusers or others when they find it difficult to fall or stay asleep. 

Get Input, Advice, And Support 

Some entrepreneurs tragically think they have to accomplish their goals and dreams without the support of others. This is foolish thinking. 

Entrepreneurs need mentors, peers, and support systems just as much (if not more so) than anyone else. Entrepreneurs can find valuable aid in the form of entrepreneur networking and support groups; seeking out a business or personal mentor; arranging standing monthly or weekly meetings with a trusted outside ear; or signing up for business or career coaching. These types of relationships can provide valuable support for entrepreneurs who can often feel isolated and alone in their work. 

Delegate Tasks 

As soon as possible, entrepreneurs should work to bring people into the fold that can do the tasks they shouldn’t be doing. Entrepreneurs cannot hope to scale their projects or reach whatever success they envision if they have no capacity to think strategically because they are doing all the small, mundane things that someone else could accomplish. Without learning to effectively manage, coach, train up, and hand off, entrepreneurs will never scale their projects beyond themselves. 

Spend Time On Other Things 

Getting time to relax, enjoy recreational activities, and spend time doing things completely separate from the work at hand is actually a vital part of entrepreneurship. The brain needs time to recover, rest, and process subconsciously. Those who incorporate non-work activities into their regular routines find it easier to problem-solve, maintain higher levels of productivity during work hours, and maintain interest and passion for their projects or endeavors. 

Because entrepreneurship is a high-pressure and high-stress occupation, maintaining strong mental health as an entrepreneur requires intentionality and planning. If you are an entrepreneur, be sure to incorporate the tips above (or related self-help practices that help you maintain your mental health) to preserve your stamina and to remain strong under the unique stressors that entrepreneurs experience.

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