Whether in the early stages of a start-up, or the frantic throws of a fully functioning business, the everyday stresses of serious entrepreneurship are exceedingly taxing on the nerves as well as your overall physical health.
The litany of issues to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis requires a tremendous amount of brain power and sometimes the intense focus and determination can threaten your mental health.
In an Entrepreneur article, Kevin Xu, CEO of MEBO International and Skingenix, cited a recent survey that found “30 percent of the entrepreneurs participating reported a lifetime history of depression. Another 29 percent said they were dealing with ADHD; 27 percent revealed feelings of anxiety.”
Xu goes on to enumerate ways in which to alleviate the mental drain that comes from putting a disproportionate amount of energy into late nights at the office and caffeine frenzies rather than mindful, healthful practices that exercise the mind and body, and promote good long-term mental health.
The following are some hard and fast rules to follow in order to ensure personal mental health in the face of challenges that arise simply from biting off a little more than you can chew in your entrepreneurial endeavors.
When it comes to maintaining healthy habits and combatting the potential psychological pitfalls that are associated with anxiety, mind must sometimes take precedence over matter.
Work Hard, Relax Harder.
Keeping a calm, cool, confident exterior at all times, no matter what the personal or professional stakes, is mentally exhausting and often does more harm than good when not balanced with dedicated time to rest and relax.
When the professional starts to encroach on the personal, a hard line must be drawn when it comes to taking time to care for your mind’s need to be social.
As much dedication and care as you put in at for the next promotion, the same consideration should also be given to your life outside of work.
Building a Support System Outside of Work
The relationship between a career and family or other social commitments can become strained when you don’t take the time to fully disconnect from the day and enjoy some social interaction outside of colleagues and clients, or employees.
The sense of support and community that is gained can easily be shaken when this relationship is not consistently respected. Cultivating the culture of a separate home and work life are often key elements to finding meaningful, lasting success.
“By spending time with friends and family, your brain can relax and appreciate the positive stimulation of social interaction,” posits Forbes Contributor Melissa Thompson.
Besides the ironclad support system you’re building outside of the office, your mind appreciates the break from the constant pressure of deadlines, presentations and meetings and allows you to focus on things with a fresh perspective and improved morale.
The High Price of Wearied Minds
Poor mental health is costing companies billions of dollars.
“The Center for Prevention and Health estimates that mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers between $79 and $105 billion each year,” best-selling author and psychotherapist Amy Morin wrote in recent a Forbes article. “Reduced productivity, absenteeism, and increased healthcare costs are just a few of the ways mental illness cost employers money.”
Her article, “1 in 5 Employees has a Mental Health Problem, Here’s what Business Leaders Can Do About It,” analyzes the misconceptions among many business leaders that an employee’s health is none of their concern and has no significant bearing on their success.
“An employee’s mental health greatly affects his performance—as well as a company’s bottom line,” Morin wrote.
Big Companies Are Focusing on Meditation
For this reason, wildly successful names like Google, Nike, and Yahoo have started taking on a more homeopathic approach to their employees’ mental health.
One of the things they’ve done is put educational safeguards in place to prevent unhealthy work environments and encouraging effective breathing and stretching practices though yoga or meditation.
Smaller scale business leaders have been investing in more education and providing more resources for those plagued by what can be very debilitating issues for some employees. However, only meditation is proven in study after study to ward off anxiety, depression, and apathy, all common issues plaguing high-powered entrepreneurs.
Relieving anxiety comes in handy when managing a hectic workload and improves the atmosphere of a working environment.
Just as yoga can ease physical tension and increase endurance for the 24/7 grind ahead, finding a short, 10-15-minute meditation routine will contribute greatly to your brain’s flexibility and adaptability, which is crucial in a high-paced, very competitive entrepreneurial lifestyle.