The entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one.
Every day is filled with challenges that you need to overcome to succeed in the competitive market. An additional issue, such as a health problem, can only make things harder.
In some cases, a health problem can become a burden too heavy carry and a limiting obstacle to future growth.
Besides not being resistant to illnesses the general population faces, entrepreneurs are more prone to an additional range of conditions, primarily those affecting their mental health.
Mental Health – A Burning Issue
As statistics show that 32% of entrepreneurs struggle with two or more mental health conditions, it seems that they are at a much higher risk than the general population to experience a mental health challenge during their lives.
Research by the UC Berkley Institutional Review Board found that entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use (12%) and bipolar disorder (11%) than comparison subjects or the general population.
There are quite a few reasons why entrepreneurs’ mental well-being is at higher risk:
- Stress. Entrepreneurs experience stress on an everyday level, almost constantly choosing between the ‘fight or flight’ response. Still, they often lack adequate coping mechanisms to manage chronic stress.
- Mental health stigma. As prejudices about persons facing mental health issues are still strong, many entrepreneurs try as hard as they can to appear tough even when times are difficult. Apart from the fact that they often don’t have their mental health support covered, this is the reason why they usually don’t ask for help when they need it.
- Social isolation. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. At the early stages of doing business, entrepreneurs often work alone, and most of their communication is for business and networking purposes. Sometimes they lack the support of their friends and family, who don’t understand all the challenges entrepreneurs face, so it makes their feelings of frustration and loneliness even stronger.
- Uncertainty. It’s hard to have a sense of job security when you feel that you’re the one making all big decisions no matter how hard they might seem, and what consequences they might bring.
- Linking self-worth to the success of the business. Many entrepreneurs get so caught up with their business that they forget all their other needs and desires, and identify themselves through their business. When their business hits a rough patch, they see it as a personal failure and feel degraded.
Making time for self-care can help you manage everyday stress and achieve more energy, have better focus and even reach new levels of productivity.
Make Time for Self-Care
A great part of developing self-care habits comes from nurturing self-compassion and learning to recognize and deal with our own emotions.
The way to begin is by recognizing your own limits. Maybe you’ve been working too hard, so you forget to eat and you go to bed too late. You wake up early, exhausted, but still decide to continue in the same rhythm. You don’t feel like you have the energy for all the phone calls and the meetings in your schedule, but you push your limits and gather all your strengths to make it through this avalanche of tasks again.
You need to break this vicious circle before it breaks you. When you start treating yourself as you would treat someone you deeply care for, you will be able to make necessary changes and start developing protective habits and daily routines.
Start with the basic stuff, such as your sleep, diet, and physical activity. After a while, the rest will follow.
When our mornings are hectic and we’re preoccupied with all the tasks we need to finish, we often forget about the breakfast, let alone think about preparing a healthy meal.
But, according to WebMD, a healthy breakfast will give you the energy you need to get things done, boost your concentration and your mental capacity. Healthy snacks, such as fruits, nuts or veggies will ensure your sugar levels are never low so that you can keep your focus and be productive throughout your working hours.
If you don’t always have time to prepare your meals and snacks or go shopping for them, you can find a lot of ready-to-go solutions in a well-supplied online health food shop and have them delivered to your door.
Get Enough Sleep
Another important habit you need to establish is a sleep schedule you will adhere to. Getting a decent amount of deep, uninterrupted sleep is crucial for your health, but it is essential for your business success too. After all, you need a sharp and alert mind when making decisions, and without a good night’s rest, you’ll feel foggy and confused.
While an occasional night without sleep will make you feel irritable and tired without actually harming your health, the effects of several sleepless nights or chronic sleep deprivation can be devastating.
- Your brain will fog and you will have difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Chronic lack of sleep may lead to depression and anxiety.
- Increased risk of developing diabetes.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease.
- Lower libido.
- Higher risk of obesity.
If you’ve been restricting your sleep for a while, it will take some time for your body to recover.
Start changing your sleep patterns by allowing your body to rest during the weekend, and allowing it to wake up naturally, without an alarm clock. Try scheduling your sleep during the workweek too, gradually, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Work Out to Be Fit
Some of the most successful people in the world begin their day early so that they can have enough time to tackle activities they find the most important.
They use their mornings to spend some time with their family, read, meditate and most often exercise.
An early workout is a perfect choice for starting your day in the right mood. You have the most energy and motivation in the morning and the workout will only give you more energy, reduce your stress and help you feel relaxed and ready for the day ahead.
You’ll also enjoy all the benefits a regular physical activity has on your body and your mind – a study claims that even 15 minutes of running can reduce the odds of depression for 26%, relieving your symptoms and preventing relapse.
Focus on making your health your priority, and try to change your daily routines in a way that is beneficial for your wellbeing. Working out, a good night’s sleep and a healthy diet will give you enough energy to be your most productive self and pave your way towards success.
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Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit.