As business owners, we know it all too well… heck, we’ve almost become accustomed to it. I’m talking about the endless nights, lack of sleep, constant head spinning, self-doubt, so much stress that you feel physically ill… Yep, I’m talking about excessive and (seemingly endless) burnout. These days it’s too easy to get tangled up in that web of chaos and not prioritize self-care. Afterall, you’re the heart and soul of your company. Who else is going to take care of business?!
The truth of the matter is, as we continue to elevate our standards, it becomes increasingly more dangerous for us to sustain a lifestyle that does not prioritize our Mental Wellness. According to a study by Michael Freeman (referenced by TechCrunch), entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition. #ItMe. This issue has become something we simply cannot overlook or ignore, and oddly, WE seem to be the biggest perpetrators!
An article in Forbes that caught my attention compared the drive to professional athletes and entrepreneurs in the sense that reaching new heights is kind of embedded into their framework for success. The difference? If an athlete’s diminished physical or mental state hinders their ability to perform, it is imperative they take the time to get healthy. They’re career legitimately depends on it. So why is it that entrepreneurs seem to ignore most, if not all, of the symptoms?
YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP.
There are a number of factors that contribute to our mental stress. Some of these include alienation, comparison, imposter syndrome, and financial stress, just to name a few. Take it from someone who has experienced a whole mess of health issues over the last several years… including, but not limited to, unpredictable vertigo, debilitating eye issues, excessive jaw clenching (and eventually TMJ), depression, anxiety, you name it. These were definitely caused by the refusal to address my own mental health issues. When suggested that I should meditate, I argued that I didn’t have time. The saying goes, “If you don’t have time to meditate for 5 minutes, then you need to meditate for an hour.” Easier said than done though, right?
It took me years to prioritize and invest in my mental health until I realized that my livelihood legitimately depended on it. This is probably a great time to remind you that you are not alone and you are incredibly worthy of happiness and success. Take moments to honor your journey and remember that you are exactly where you need to be. But if you need a little extra guidance, I’ve got you.
MINDSET OVER MATTER IN MENTAL HEALTH
1. DEFINE YOUR OWN SUCCESS
Success is not a “one-size-fits-all” formula. Take time to consider why you do what you do. Think about the life you truly want to live, NOT the life that society expects you to live. Then determine 3 key points that make up your own definition of success. Write it in your notebook. Speak it into your voice notes. Do whatever you have to do to remind yourself of all the things you love everyday.
3 factors that define my version of success:
1. Spend quality time with my husband, my family, and people I love most.
2. Limitlessly create in whatever capacity I desire.
3. Thrive in a career doing what I love – creating!
2. REPROGRAM YOUR PRODUCTIVITY MINDSET
By standard definition, productivity is “the effectiveness of productive effort as measured in terms of the rate of output by the unit of input.” Did you ever stop to consider how much self-care input would increase your rate of output? It’s a lot. Google it.
One of the key components in reprogramming your mindset around productivity is through the art of surrendering. Ultimately, you know when you are feeling 100% and when you’re not. While it’s awesome to be a stellar student who never misses class or a homework assignment, it’s so important to be kind to yourself and fully acknowledge when you need to take a break.
I was such a perpetuator of excessive burnout that I consequently had very high highs and very low lows. I would feel so drained from the crash, that I physically couldn’t get out of bed. The crashes only got more intense as I got older, and when I couldn’t find the motivation to work, I would spiral into a dark pit of guilt, shame, and disappointment.
As I started investing in self-care rituals, it became easier to identify burnout and instead of fighting through it, I surrendered. Because I knew the more I took the time to rest, the quicker I would recover. I started to view rest as being productive, and it has been a game changer. We are always going to be “in progress,” and by allowing the space to give our bodies whatever it needs, we are able to show up better for our relationships, our careers, and ourselves.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT SELF-CARE
1. SET BOUNDARIES.
This is so incredibly crucial and 100% necessary. I know it’s hard, but until you block out time for yourself and actually honor that time block as if it were your clients’, you won’t ever feel like you can catch a break. This can be customizable to your days or weeks whether that’s giving yourself 15 minutes of each day or 2 hours once a week. Your blocks can change over time, but first things first, lock it down!
2. SELF EXPLORATION
We are all so different and all have our own unique makeup of who we are. Subsequently, we all operate on a completely different system. Not everyone takes the time to explore and understand their basic needs for survival (legit, like water + air).
Go inward and explore. Are you someone that needs to be in nature? Needs to be alone? Needs 8 hours of sleep? Explore every ounce of your being- your personality type, leadership archetype, things that bring you joy, things that don’t, things that inspire you… all of it! You want to find the outlets, routines, activities, and rituals that will fill your cup.
3. TAKE INVENTORY.
As you start to gain a better understanding of your needs, it’s crucial to do frequent gut checks and take inventory on a regular basis (I suggest daily or weekly). Do this for every aspect of your life: your time, environment, relationships, social obligations, etc. The moment you tune in, you’ll get a sense of where you have energy leaks in your life. You may be surprised that activities (or even relationships) that once brought you joy don’t anymore.
My method is this: If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no. Period.
4. IDENTIFY YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES
Create a list of non-negotiables. These are the self-care rituals that you absolutely need to feel whole. When you’re able to identify them, it’s easy to relentlessly fight for the time blocks you carved out to incorporate them. Choose 1-3 to start. You can always implement more!
It may look something like this:
● Daily meditation
● Restorative Yoga 3x/week
● Facial 1x/month
The journey to a state of improved mental health is one that many of us are on together and, like yoga, is a lifetime of practice. Embrace the process.
Ready focus on your mental health as an entrepreneur? Get our Mental Wellness Ultimate Guide here.