If you’re an entrepreneur, trying to make it today, one of the greatest and most significant assets you have in your entrepreneurial toolbox, is often your most overlooked… that of your mind.
See, without a strong and positive mind, it doesn’t matter how great your business plan is, as you’ll be unlikely to execute your ambitious plans without one. You are the most integral component of your business, as, without you, nothing can happen… and keeping a healthy mind along with a positive mindset is fundamental to you achieving the success you deserve.
The book “attitude is everything” couldn’t be truer for entrepreneur’s as often at the core of all business activity is that of solving problems – whether your business relates to crane hire or crayon manufacturing. It doesn’t matter what your business is, as an entrepreneur, you are likely to come up against a lot more problems than most people, meaning, you need to develop a robust and empowered mind that can deal with challenges positively.
Yet, there are only so many storms even the toughest and most positive person can take, meaning it’s essential you learn to take care of your mind as an entrepreneur – in the same way, that athletes must take care of their muscles.
Today, mental health in the workplace is becoming much more recognized – yet, as a business owner, this actually ends up putting more responsibility on your shoulders, as it makes you responsible for other people’s state of mental health – but does little to protect the entrepreneur.
Indeed, the term reasonable adjustments are enshrined in law, meaning that an employer must make the necessary adjustments for mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression – yet, again, there is little protection for the entrepreneur.
This means, that you need to take care of yourself, in this aspect, and one of the most important things you need to embrace within this vein is the concept of “self-care” as it relates to keeping yourself in optimum condition. Just like how a racing car, over time, wears down and needs some replenishment in the pit-stop, entrepreneurs are much the same, and you need to make time for yourself to replenish your energy and mind.
In simple terms, if you are always on the go, you will burn out. It’s just inevitable. Similar to how a boxer cannot keep boxing for hours – they must pull back between punches, and even take a break between rounds, the same is true for business owners.
Yet, in such a reactive and high pressured world, it can be hard to carve out the much needed time for self-care that all entrepreneurs could deal with.
It’s been understood that your physical health is your foundation, for a long time, as without it, life becomes a struggle yet this is just as true for your mental health.
Self care, in the sense of taking care of your mental/emotional health is incredibly important for everyone, no matter whether you suffer from a mental health condition or not; yet, if you have been diagnosed with a particular condition, such as depression – taking care of your mental health will be even more important.
In many ways, this is similar to how diabetics must pay particular attention to the amount of sugar they consume, in that managing your sugar intake is important for everyone, in order to live a healthy and balanced life – but it becomes much more vital to keep it in check if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
No matter what, it’s important for all of us to take care of our mental health and in that vein, here are some simple things you can do to help take care of your own emotional health as an entrepreneur.
#1 TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF
It’s really important you make time for yourself. It can be so easy, particularly when in the startup phases of running a business to run yourself into the ground by working all hours without any rest.
Ensuring you get enough sleep is vital for your health, and we’ll look at that in more detail later, but in this sense – you need to ensure you have some “fun time” where you can unwind and recharge. For instance, you could head out to a nearby lake and go kayaking or fishing – something active, in nature, on the water is a great way to replenish your energy.
Water is known for being emotionally soothing which is why many people when they feel upset to spend more time in the shower or bath than usual, and why being by a waterfall or the sea tends to feel so soothing on the soul.
The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be overlooked. Sleep plays a vital role in our overall state of health and well-being. You, therefore, want to ensure you get enough deep sleep (rather than light sleep) as this is the sleep that replenishes your mind and body on a cellular level.
To appreciate the importance of sleep, think back to a time when you might have suffered from a hangover. In fact, whilst most people think the reason for their symptoms is caused by dehydration, a huge component of this is that they do not get adequate REM sleep — because, when people are drunk, their body doesn’t access that deep phase of sleep that is required for thorough replenishment and renewal; instead, it adopts a “standby mode”.
During sleep, a lot of behind the scenes work takes place in your body and mind; in the sense of neural connections being built, cells being replenished, and so on. It’s like a phone, in that it needs to be recharged each day in order to perform well the next day – as without adequate sleep, just like a battery on a phone, you will be drained and unable to function… indeed, eventually, you will run out of steam.
#3 HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
You put your body through a lot, as an entrepreneur, even though you might be sat at a desk most the day – your mind and emotions often get much more exercise than most people that work in a standard job, as you tend to be more emotionally invested in the process of running your business; meaning things feel more personal.
Interestingly, a ninety-minute presentation has been likened to the same physical exertion as running a ten-mile race! This shows just how draining intellectual tasks can be, and therefore, you need to hydrate and fuel your body with the correct substances to produce optimal results.
If you are dehydrated then your brain tends to perform much worse than when it is hydrated; the mental fog some people experience is often a result of poor hydration or nutrition. In this sense, think of someone that hasn’t eaten all day – and how it affects their mood. The term “hangry” exists for a reason – so it’s important to keep yourself fed and hydrated throughout the day… even if you are perpetually busy.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and take care of yourself. Not only is it brilliant for your body, but it is also great for your mind, and more importantly – it raises your sense of self-esteem and personal power.
Entrepreneurs require a substantial amount of self-esteem on the basis they are often putting themselves out there, whether this is through trying to obtain investment, sales, or leading a team of people. The better you feel about how you look on the outside the better you will feel on the inside; meaning you will have more confidence if you keep yourself in shape.
Exercise is a fantastic cure when it comes to taking care of feeling blue, as the endorphins which get released into your body during exercise (and several hours after) are natural mood enhancers that lift you up in a sustainable way.
In addition, there are many social benefits of exercise due to the social nature of many sports, in fact, even going to a group exercise class leads to a sense of camaraderie, which can help people feel part of something – particularly important if you are working in a reasonably isolated way.
Boxing, in particular, is a great stress-busting activity that many entrepreneurs embrace as a way to let off steam and regain a sense of personal power that is important to have present when leading a company.
In summary, the need for self-care is significant in all people, but even more so when it comes to entrepreneurs, as they tend to be under much more strain than most, work longer hours, and have more ambitious plans – meaning, they put immense pressure on themselves to perform and as such, self-care, is imperative to healing and replenishing from the demands they put on themselves and the world puts on them to deliver their commercial value proposition.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a huge thing, either, it can be as simple as making sure you don’t skip breakfast, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly.