Managing Your Mental Health as a Business Owner
Last week, we looked at some warning signs that might indicate that your business might be affecting your mental health. This week, we’re sharing some tips on how you can manage your mental health as an entrepreneur.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step is acknowledging what you are experiencing. Check in with yourself — physically, mentally, and emotionally. What are you feeling? Don’t ascribe right or wrong to those feelings, try to push them to the side, or self-diagnose the cause of them. Simply acknowledge that these feelings exist for you in the moment.
Know You Are Not Alone
The demands of navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life and all the risk and uncertainty that go along with business ownership put entrepreneurs at higher risk for chronic stress and specific mental health concerns. Know that you are not alone, and that there are many businesses owners in your community who are likely experiencing the same feelings.
Understand You Are Not the Work
When you are putting so much of your time, energy, money, and other resources in growing your business, it can be easy to lose yourself and see every little problem in the business as a personal blow. It’s important to remember that you are so much more than your business. Your business is only one expression of you. Remember the other parts of your identity outside of your business that are important to you, such as your family, friends, and hobbies.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
As an entrepreneur, you’re always looking toward your vision for the business. When your business is affecting your mental health, your vision may seem depressively out of reach or deceptively at hand. That might cause you to focus on what you haven’t achieved yet. Instead, take the time to reflect on how far you have come and celebrate your accomplishments. Appreciating the journey and celebrating the wins might inspire and motivate you to stay in the game and take action on your business plans.
Take Time for Self-Care
It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of not getting enough sleep, nutrition, or exercise. Create a self-care plan to handle the demands of growing your business. Start by identifying the activities that help you maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health. Then, look at how you can weave those activities into your schedule. Practice consistently so it eventually becomes part of your lifestyle.
Share Your Feelings
Being a business owner can be a lonely experience at times, and you might find yourself making it even lonelier by isolating yourself when things don’t go as well as you anticipated. This is the time when it’s even more critical for you to share your feelings with people who care about you, such as family, friends, colleagues, and employees. When you open up about your feelings, you have the potential to connect more deeply, energize new thinking, and receive support.
Seek Professional Help
It’s common for business owners to seek professional help, such as consultants, tax preparers, and lawyers for business needs that are difficult to handle on their own. Your own mental health is no different. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Make an appointment to see your doctor, or a counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional. They can help you navigate your specific issues with professional insights and confidential, and give you a space to process your feelings without social entanglement.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be medical advice. If you need immediate support or are worried about a friend, please text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273-TALK.
Rani Langer-Croager is co-founder of Uptima Business Bootcamp, a network of member-owned business accelerators dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with greater access to hands-on education, mentorship, resources, and community to create thriving businesses.