As an entrepreneur, I’ve definitely found it easy to neglect my physical and mental health, especially when I’ve been in the process of getting my business up and running. But, as I’ve experienced, neglecting your health, especially your mental health, can have severe consequences for your new business.
I have learnt that mental health concerns affect 72 percent of entrepreneurs in some way, compared to only 48 percent of non-entrepreneurs who are directly or indirectly impacted. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, this is the case. Only 32 percent of other people have experienced mental health concerns, compared to 49 percent of entrepreneurs who have dealt with them. In a similar vein, 23 percent of entrepreneurs have family members dealing with these challenges, compared to only 16 percent of those who do not have family members who are dealing with these issues.
These numbers speak for themselves, so making sure you are protecting your mental health can not only boost your mood and your confidence but your ability to support your business in the way you need to.
Don’t Ignore Negative Feelings
Compared to the general working population, entrepreneurs are more likely than the general working population to experience stress. Entrepreneurial stress is commonly caused by uncertainty, loneliness, and financial concerns, and it can become severe if not treated promptly. I know that impostor syndrome has been one of my biggest stressors, and being a people pleaser. If stress isn’t treated promptly, it can become fatal.
Accepting your negative thoughts and feelings in their entirety is a particularly effective strategy for dealing with them. Consider your thoughts and feelings, allow them to wash over you, and give yourself time to address the issue that is causing the problem.
Identify Your Stress
It can be overwhelming to run a business, especially in the beginning stages, and it can take up all of your time and energy to do so. When you’re a small business owner, certain situations will come up, again and again, that will cause you a lot of stress. This could be your workload, financial uncertainty in your company, or your fear of the unknown.
Identifying what causes you to feel stressed is the first step in preventing that stress from occurring in the first place. Is there anything you can do to lessen the burden you’re placing on yourself?
Try keeping a trigger tracker to help you identify what is setting off your stress. Once you know this, you can find ways to deal with the stress.
Coping Mechanisms for Entrepreneur Mental Health
Knowing how to deal with stress and overwhelming situations and feelings is part of the battle. It is often seeking professional help from therapists such as Three Seas to help you work through your issues and support your mental health. For some, this looks like medication; for others, it’s counselling or it is putting barriers and controls in place to manage the situation. Whatever works for you, you must use the tools at your disposal to keep you well.
Separate Your Self Worth with Your Business Value
Entrepreneurs sometimes define themselves by their company enterprises’ success, which can harm our mental health. There is no logical connection between self-worth and business value, but it’s still a common challenge experienced by entrepreneurs. Impostor Syndrome is one of them. I know that when my business is going very well, impostor syndrome kicks in. I find myself questioning the situation “I’m not that good, it must just be luck.” Linking self-worth to business success leads to self-sabotage when things are going well. To combat these thoughts, I’ve found that working on self-reflection and analysing my behaviour works well and reminding myself that my business and my worth as a person have nothing to do with each other.
When worklife gets challenging, entrepreneur mental health is often overlooked. Friends, family, and personal lives fall to the wayside for a focus on business. Try not to stack your business on top of your life and yourself. You need to build a supportive foundation if you ever want to reach the top. Make time for self-care, and remember that numbers don’t determine who you are or what you’re worth.