Starting your own business is a lot of work – and whether you are preparing for launch day or in the midst of scaling, there is often a never-ending list of things to do! However, taking care of your mental health while running your own business should always be your first priority.
You are your greatest asset, and you need to prioritize your health. There are many ways you can continue to work on your business while also caring for your mental health. Over the years, we have learned a lot and created certain habits and routines that promote a great work-life balance. After all, it’s tough to be creative when you are completely burnt out!
1. Set work hours and stick to them
When you run your own business, finding that work-life balance is tough. If you are passionate about what you do, pulling yourself away from your laptop or business can be more challenging than expected. Finding a good mix between work and play is key; setting work hours and boundaries is a great way to maintain balance.
Not everyone is most productive between the hours of 9AM and 5PM. The beauty of owning your own business is finding out which hours work best for you. Some people are very productive and creative early in the morning or late at night – you can choose what works best for you! Once you have established your ideal working hours – stick to them! Make a plan for your day and focus during those hours. When the day is done, stop working and take care of yourself! Your mental health will benefit in the end, and you will actually be more productive.
2. Ask for help
Sometimes, asking for help can feel like failure. We are so used to being independent that it can feel uncomfortable to ask. The reality is this: you don’t have to do everything, and you don’t have to be amazing at everything to succeed. Asking for help will allow you to focus your energy where it’s needed most and where you are most skilled. For example, if you hate accounting and it takes you days just to tally your accounts payable, you might want to consider asking for help with this specific task. By hiring someone to do this for you, you can focus your energy on growing the business, being creative, and bringing in more revenue.
Alternatively, you can ask your loved ones to jump in and help from time to time as well. More often than not, they would love to help you; they just aren’t sure how! By asking for help when you need it, you will reduce the feelings of stress and overwhelm that can come with running your own business. Your mental health will greatly benefit from the additional support.
3. Avoid unhealthy comparison
You have probably heard the saying, comparison is the thief of joy! It really is true – too often, people spend so much comparing themselves to others, and this can wreak havoc on their mental health. When we compare ourselves to others, we foster feelings of anxiety, stress, and a mindset of lack or ‘not enough.’ This can prevent you from taking steps forward in your business and appreciating how far you’ve come. Ultimately, the only person you need to compete with is yourself – improving your own mental health, growing your business, and doing the best you can.
4. Get your sleep
In today’s fast-paced world of non-stop connection, technology, and increasing workloads, sleep can be hard to come by. Having a good night’s rest is one of the easiest ways you can improve your overall health. When we are busy running a business, the first thing cut is often our sleep. During the busy seasons of owning a business, we can feel like it’s irresponsible to get a full 8-hour sleep, and we slowly begin to cut our sleep, go to bed later, and wake up earlier! However, you can’t perform at your highest level when you are sleep deprived.
There is a really great book written by Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of The Huffington Post. In her book, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time,” she talks about the serious consequences sleep deprivation can have on our health, performance at work, and even our overall happiness in life. The book talks about how sleep affects our everyday life. She discusses the science behind sleep and why we need to take our sleep routines more seriously. As an incredibly successful entrepreneur, she tells her story of sleep deprivation and how it profoundly affected her business and health. If you are a busy entrepreneur who tends to dismiss sleep as “time wasted,” then you need to read this book – it will change your entire perspective!
5. Eat healthy, balanced meals
If you’re on the go, grabbing something fast and easy can be a time saver. However, these “easy” meals are not always the healthiest. Eating healthy is important for your mental health. More and more research supports the idea that a poor diet is a risk factor for poor mental health. There is actually evidence out there to suggest that diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. All this to say, you deserve to take the time to make healthy, balanced food choices. You will feel better, have more energy, and can improve both your physical and mental health.
Sometimes it can feel impossible to workout after a long workday, but exercise will actually give you more energy and also improve your mental health. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be a long workout. Take time during your lunch break to do a 20 minute yoga session, or spend 30 minutes in the morning to go for a walk – these short activities will make you feel better and give you more energy!
7. Join entrepreneur support groups
There are so many groups on Facebook that can be beneficial and provide you with valuable support from other entrepreneurs. You can join these groups for free, and it’s a great way to learn from each other, ask for help, seek advice, and even get referrals! Some great Facebook groups to consider are:
- Digital Nomad Girls Community
- Canva Design Circle
- Millionaire Mindset | Entrepreneurs Club
- Entrepreneurs Club
You can also find local Facebook groups by searching “[city name or country] entrepreneur” in groups, and surely something will pop up for you!
If you are running your own business, it is incredibly important to carve out self-care practices that prioritize your mental health. After all, your business needs you, and you can’t pour from an empty cup.