5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

May 18, 2022 | Partner News

From NAWBO’s partner Cultivate Advisors

Running a business can be an emotional rollercoaster. Between long hours, built-up stress and a never-ending workload, being an entrepreneur can take its toll on your mental health. According to a study, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48% of non-entrepreneurs.

Mental health issues can present themselves in many ways, from stress and anxiety to burnout, fatigue or insomnia. As a business owner, financial stress, feelings of isolation and long days can create or exacerbate these symptoms, and the implications of deteriorating mental health are far-reaching. It’s important to learn to recognize these symptoms and take action to alleviate stress and prioritize your mental well-being.

Here are five tips on how to start supporting your own mental health at work:

1. Practice Being Present

We’re all guilty of multitasking—checking emails during a meeting, switching back and forth between tabs while completing a task, taking calls on your commute, etc. When you have so much on your plate, it can feel great to cross multiple items off your to-do list. Unfortunately, multitasking doesn’t always equate to more productivity, and it can take a massive toll on your mental health. Switching from one task to another makes it difficult to tune out distractions, meaning it can take longer to complete each task. Additionally, juggling multiple tasks can increase your stress level and heart rate. Instead of multitasking, practice being present in meetings and conversations. You can also utilize the “20-minute rule.” Instead of constantly switching between tasks, fully devote your attention to one task for 20 minutes before switching to the other. This allows you to truly focus and execute at a higher quality.

2. Schedule Tasks Into Your Calendar

For some, having a running to-do list can help ease anxiety. For others, it can have the opposite effect, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed by a growing workload. One simple way to handle all incoming tasks is to utilize this two-step process. First, identify the due date and second, identify time to do the task. This gives everything on your to-do list more structure and it allows you to mentally file those tasks away until it’s time to complete them. As an added benefit, this will ensure you won’t miss any important deadlines as all of your tasks will be given an appropriate runway. If you need help, our block scheduling planning tool can help you map out the time needed to complete each task and create a roadmap for your week.

3. Set Micro-Goals

Often we think about goals in terms of our long-term goals. While it’s important and necessary to keep those big goals in mind for ourselves and our business, they tend to feel overwhelming. The easiest way to succeed on your macro goals without feeling overwhelmed is to break them down into controllable micro-goals. Setting manageable weekly or daily goals can help you meet your priorities and finish your day feeling a sense of accomplishment. Research shows that the more control we have over our goals, the less stressed we feel daily. Breaking down your macro goals into micro-goals allows you to set realistic expectations with yourself and your team about your workload.

4. Set Realistic Boundaries

As entrepreneurs, the line between “work” and “life” can become blurry. That’s why it’s important to not only set boundaries, but to stick to them. One way to set boundaries is to identify your priorities and non-negotiables and block those out in your calendar. This could mean blocking out time on the weekends or setting aside time to have nightly dinners with your family. Identifying these things in your calendar will help you learn to say no to everything that’s not a priority right now. An easy way to create space in your calendar so that you’re not forced to cross your boundaries is to plan extra time into your schedule every day for the little distractions and unexpected issues that are bound to arise.

5. Remember Quality Over Quantity

There are only so many hours in a day that you can be productive and the more you stretch yourself, the lower the quality of your work. Remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your own needs. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you stay on your A-game and keep your mental health in check:

●   Get enough sleep
●   Set communication rules: You are not available 24/7!
●   Unplug when needed
●   Get support: Find or build a support group of fellow owners.
●   Stay active: 30 minutes 3-5 days/week
●   Get help: Talk to a mental health professional if you need it.

1 in 5 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year; as stated above, entrepreneurs are exponentially more likely to suffer from mental health issues, and yet we don’t talk about it enough. Feeling overwhelmed? At Cultivate, we work with business owners to lessen their load and put systems in place to alleviate stress and overwhelm. Schedule a call with NAWBO member Stephanie Guerre at Cultivate Advisors to learn more about how they can support you and your business


About the Author

Cultivate Advisors’s mission is to empower entrepreneurs, which is why they are honored to be Diamond Corporate Partners of NAWBO, the premier organization for women entrepreneurs. By partnering together, they offer resources, education and advising to support NAWBO members in achieving their business goals. Learn more here.

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