Mental health is key for all entrepreneurs. It doesn't matter where you're at in your journey or how many challenges you have faced. Creating strong mental health practices allows us to grow our businesses and continue to understand our "why," which is key when creating a brand experience for others.
I've always shared my journey with mental health on my Instagram page and want to be a part of the solution in flipping the script and speaking openly about the challenges entrepreneurs face with mental health. Below are 5 ways I cope with and manage my mental health as an entrepreneur.
I've personally seen a therapist at three different chapters in my life and will probably see one again when I feel the need for it. There is no shame in this. When there are big shifts like losing a loved one, being in a hostile work environment or even a happy moment like moving in with a significant other - therapy can help. For me, this gives a third-party approach to problems and helps find solutions that are simple through clarity. It's not just in moments of suffering, therapy has helped me even in times where outsiders only see success and power. As entrepreneurs, there is a constant need for more. We forget to celebrate the victories and often look on to the future. We accomplish a goal only to start worrying about the next - or at least that is how I see things. Through professional medical therapy, I've uncovered more about myself and learned how to cope with things that would regularly give me anxiety.
Alternative healing is what I would call reiki, a retreat or workshop. It's essentially space where you're building on yourself. I've done all three of these methods and am always interested in more. Even at times where you think you're signing up for something you may find it heals another aspect of your life. For example, I recently completed a yoga workshop that focused on living a yogic lifestyle in the modern world. Through this, I discovered more about myself and realized there was a part of me that was hurting. I had been pushing this feeling away for the longest time by keeping busy with my business, but the more I peeled away the more I realized I needed to face myself. In the end, the workshop not only gave me what I signed up for but taught me how to heal and work through problems with my busy lifestyle. Go into things with an open mindset - because you just never know.
As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to give a lot but it's important to take time to recharge. For me, this means having a fluid routine. Originally when I started my business I found it easy to rise early, practice yoga asanas, meditation and mindful reading then start my day at 8 am sharp. It worked, but then, life happened and due to this I wasn't able to rise early daily. My routine fell apart, and I lost my "me time." Without time to recharge, I wasn't able to be as productive as I wanted to be, until I created a fluid routine. Regardless of the time I rose, my routine stayed the same for my mornings. This was a game-changer because it allowed me to focus on myself prior to allowing everyone else into my day.
Having me-time is so important. If you're not into meditation, yoga or mindful reading I would suggest journaling or even just taking a few moments to go for a quick walk by yourself. Trust me this time will not only help your productivity but also your mental health.
Protecting your mental health also means creating boundaries with others, including friends, family and clients! When you're consistently available to everyone you tend to burn out. That's why it's important to set boundaries. For me this means blocking off time for various tasks, setting certain office hours for client meetings and taking the weekends off to recharge with loved ones.
Of course, there may be the odd time where life happens and business may take over, but having structure overall helps provide you with a healthy life.
Networking isn't just for building your business but can also be there for your mental health. I am a part of a mastermind filled with female entrepreneurs where we share our business experiences every 6-8 weeks. Having space or a group or even a person who is on a similar path as you can make all the difference. My network and mastermind group have helped me through good times and bad - especially with problems that my friends or family didn't understand. As entrepreneurs, there are certain struggles - like imposter syndrome, that others who aren't in this world just might not get. Having a group by your side can turn what looks like a mountain into a small bump in the road. So get out there and network!
For me, all 5 of these methods work to help protect my mental health. It's important to understand just like your physical health your mental wellbeing can make all the difference in your personal and professional life, so take some time to figure out what method(s) work best for you! Remember there is no shame in taking time to take care of yourself.