When an entrepreneur first decides to launch a business, it’s easy to feel like you’re walking on a cloud — dancing on heaven’s door — and that life’s only going to get better as you grow your business. Then, after launch date, when clients aren’t lining up at the door, self-doubt and poor habits such as lack of exercise, poor diet, and isolating yourself from family and employees can start to creep into an entreprenur’s day-to-day.
This inevitably results in mental health issues for a lot of business owners. It’s not your fault for wanting more independence and the ability to literally put yourself in the ultimate control of you and your employee’s futures. However, you have a responsibility to take care of yourself to ensure you don’t lose your sanity, which can result in a very quick demise to everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
Here are 5 essential self-care tips/habits every entrepreneur needs to adopt early on in the startup stages of their business.
To put this into more easily understood terms, learn what you can and cannot let slide. A disgruntled employee or customer needs to be dealt with immediately. If your business gets robbed tomorrow, that’s something you can certainly learn from, but definitely do not want to dwell on.
Losses are going to happen, a competitor is going to copy your product or service. Some things are just inevitable. A startup entrepreneur needs to learn what’s worth focusing on and what’s just going to end up being mental garbage that weighs you down and limits you and your business’s potential.
2. Transparency is key to everyone’s mental health
“Crap” does indeed roll downhill in every business situation. When you’re not transparent with your employees and customers, it will most definitely come back to haunt you. Be always transparent — adopt an open door policy from the get-go, don’t use hidden pricing and policies, encourage employees and customers to come to you with their grievances, etc.
The truth will set you free, if you let it. Even when you come into the business with good mental health, there’s no guarantee that another associate’s issues or fragile state of mind won’t rub off on you if you aren’t there for them. Worse, unless you’re a sociopath, lying or deception will inevitably wear on your mental state.
3. Daily exercise is essential
Unless your business requires you and your employees to engage in strenuous, long term labor, you need to allot time to exercise for 45 mins to an hour every day. This is non-negotiable and saying you don’t have time is a ludicrous excuse. We all make time for the things that are most important to us.
Everyone can spare an hour for an intense walk, gym workout, or meeting with a personal trainer. If you “don’t have the time,” consider canceling your Netflix subscription or spending less time going down a YouTube, Instagram, or Google rabbit hole throughout your day. Exercise burns off cortisol, which in excess can cause all kinds of mental and physical health problems when left unchecked.
4. Don’t be a hard a$$!
The easiest way to isolate yourself from employees, family, friends, suppliers, and other people you’ll encounter in life is by being a rigid pain in the butt to everyone. Be firm but fair. Take the time to go on a date with your wife once a week, spend a few hours with your son/daughter, let your employees listen to their favorite music when it doesn’t create service/branding issues.
When you allow yourself to be flexible to the needs of others, life just gets easier. You’ll be a more available person and all round more healthy as a result. When you’re isolated because people don’t like you or don’t feel comfortable approaching you most hours of the day, life indeed gets harder as humans are social creatures down to the genetic level.
5. “I’m not alone” needs to be your mantra!
Continuing with the theme of not allowing yourself to become isolated, you need to recognize and accept that success requires a team to achieve it. Don’t make entrepreneurship a one-person venture. Many people get confused at the concept, thinking they’re striking out on their own when launching and running a business. Seek out as many partners and team members as possible to grow your business and make it a success.
The goal always needs to be to build an army around you and your company’s intellectual property and products. Those who truly strike out on this journey to do it all on their own usually end up alone and broke — certainly they never realize their true potential. It takes a village to raise a child and the child in your case is your business.
Mental health is a definite issue for entrepreneurs, as the ideal of starting and running a business of our own continues to gain favor. Protecting yourself and those around you from mental health issues is a responsibility that falls exclusively on you.
Follow the tips above and practice self-care on a daily basis to avoid mental health issues crippling your business. And if you eventually decide to see a therapist, sites like BetterHelp can aid you in searching for one in your area.