According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed, which makes sense, right? As entrepreneurs, we’re totally consumed with not only the present but the future–and how our decisions will affect it. With so much to do and so much to always be planning for, it’s impossible not to get overwhelmingly stressed out.
Temporary stress is completely normal and in fact, can be healthy. Chronic stress, however, is where the physiological and physical effects become far more dangerous.
Prolonged exposure to chronic stress can lead to memory loss, anxiety, irritability, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, weight gain, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.
As individuals at risk for chronic stress and its consequential health problems, entrepreneurs should be paying especially close attention to their mental health.
In fact, a recent study has suggested that mental health challenges affect more than 70% of entrepreneurs. So, how do we care for our mental health as entrepreneurs?
Reach Out to a Professional
Reach out to a lifestyle coach, business coach, licensed therapist, or counselor to guide you in caring for your mental health during the stressful journey of entrepreneurship. Getting recommendations from other small business owners, entrepreneurs, or friends can be a good place to start on your search for a business coach or therapist.
Also, take time to do some online research and then try out a few professionals in a low-cost initial session (which most coaches offer) to get a better sense of who would be the best fit for you and your business.
Manage Your Workload Effectively
Unpredictability and looming deadlines are the primary contributors to work-related stress. Without proper time management, it can be easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the tasks on your plate. Once you have control over your time, you no longer subject yourself to the stress of missed deadlines and rushed tasks.
Check out this article for more info on managing your workload effectively.
Boundaries can be applied to all aspects of your business life, but the most important boundaries to set as an entrepreneur are those pertaining to the hours you work.
We’ve all had desperate periods in which we’re forced to work around the clock and sacrifice personal time, but when you attempting to sustain that pace, you leave yourself sleep deprived, stressed, and burned out.
Set the following boundaries for your work life.
- Work Hours: Set distinct work hours, and adhere to them. Stick to your schedule, and learn to take advantage of your personal time.
- Space: Leave your work at your workplace. Whether you work in your home or at a collaborative office space, try to limit how much work you bring home with you.
Take Personal Time
Because our smartphones enable us to take work wherever we go, it can be easy to complete another quick work task when we’re supposed to be off. Value your personal time, and honor the commitment you made to yourself.
Marianne O’Connor, CEO of Sterling Communications, a 25-employee company with offices in Silicon Valley and Seattle, says, “There’s no overarching secret to balancing work time with personal time, except making it a priority. Before, I didn’t consciously think about how I was spending my spare time. But I’ve learned that you have to take care of yourself first, or everything else gets out of whack.”