Focus on You First Before You Help Others
Starting and running your own business is a tough game. Whilst we hear amazing stories from the successful entrepreneurs we look up to, it’s a battle. A daily grind, a constant pressure, juggling to survive. This can take its toll on you and your mental health.
We have seen this throughout our Business Accelerator Programmes over the years. The tears of effort and trying, mental breakdowns, frustrations, and being completely burnt out.
Some people don’t realise what they are getting themselves into because society can make entrepreneurship appear so shiny. We would like to tell you it is bloody HARD!
On Mental Health Awareness week we cannot emphasise enough (and consistently do throughout our Programme), that if you do not look after yourself first and foremost, you will not be able to give your time and energy to help other people.
If you are not healthy within yourself, you have the potential to lose the love for the business you started. This is a great shame considering you took the courageous step to start it in the first place.
Keeping your mind healthy will unlock potential for you and your business. Your best energy will pour into the business, keeping you excited about it. This will also increase productivity, spur creativity and sustain a positive culture which, in turn, gives the customer the best experience of your business. The best customer experience is the best return on investment. Hurrah!
Here are four great tips to help you keep a healthy mind on your business journey.
Speak to People
Being a business owner can be lonely. You need someone to chat to about the tough times, vent your frustrations, celebrate your achievements and bounce ideas off.
You can simply chat to a supportive family member or friend, who is not involved in the business, about how you are feeling to release some of the pressure. However, bear in mind that they may say “that’s nice” or “if you’re unhappy, get a real job!”, and neither of these comments are particularly helpful!
If you have not got a business mentor, we strongly recommend you find one as they are a great source of accountability. It is also someone who will be there for you to chat to about the challenging things you have going on and help you find the answers.
Networking events are another great way to meet people within your industry and who are on the same journey as you. They will be able to sympathise with you and again help point you in the right direction. You will be able to collate useful contacts for certain things and people there are generally happy to help.
We cannot emphasise enough how fantastic exercise is for a healthy mind. I used to hate exercise for two reasons: High School and exercising to the point of exhaling my guts!
However, that exercise was not right for me and I have found something that I can do to go at my own pace. Running, yoga, walking, tennis, weight training, exercise classes. You can go at your pace at a time that suits you.
I can say that exercise helps clear my mind after I’ve had a tough day and has increased my energy levels drastically. Not only that, it is amazing for your brain.
Exercise improves your memory and thinking, reduces depression and heart disease, and reduces stress. It really has multiple benefits. You are going to need your brain working at its best so you can effectively run your business and help others, take care of it!
You run your business so you don’t have an excuse for not fitting in the time to exercise because you control your own time now.
You’ve got to take lots of breaks. Not just throughout the day, holidays too. Energy and time are finite but the difference is that you can renew energy. Your brain uses a vast amount of energy that can quickly evaporate if you do not spend some time regaining that energy back.
Think about the last day that you worked non-stop? How did you feel?
I know I feel terrible when I get home and that’s no good and not fair on my family, when I haven’t seen them all day. Your energy is depleting even before you get home. You can hit 12pm and feel like you are done for the day. That’s no good for the activities you have to carry out in the afternoon!
In business, you must manage your energy towards different tasks in order for you to be productive and fully effective.
In chronobiology, they have discovered the “Ultradian Rhythm” which optimises our internal body clocks for maximum efficiency and well-being.
Our bodies go through periods of activity and rest on a 90/20-minute cycle. During the break, in basic terms, the crap that has built up in our brain during the active period gets a chance to clear, and this replenishes your brain and energy ready for the next round. How fascinating!
When we talk breaks that means no social media phone breaks. Go for a walk, have a chat or you can even read a book. Now I am aware that this may not be entirely possible but fitting in a 5-10-minute break is still enough. Try it out and see the benefits for yourself.
Different foods offer different sources of energy, and there are good and bad foods.
We know this but it is very easy to fall into the trap of grabbing fast food or a microwave meal when time is “limited”. Would you rather grab the crappy food and feel terrible all the time or spend just that little bit of extra time choosing your snacks and meals carefully to maximise your energy?
No one’s going to want to deal with you if your grumpy, feel like crap and look like crap. Again, you have control over your time so use it wisely.
Snack throughout the day to replenish your energy. No not the biscuits, stay away from the biscuits! You know the health benefits of fruit and those dreaded carbs are not as bad as you think.
Focus on a balance of carbs, protein and fibre in your diet. They all provide different sources of energy to heal and replenish your body giving you that extra boost you need. Oh yeah, and not to forget, WATER! Drink water and lots of it.
If you have made it this far in your business you are smart so use that smartness to research what a decent diet looks like and make it a habit to have one.
You can take the actions to make your entrepreneurial journey easier. You have control over your time so invest that time wisely looking after you and, like karma, it will have profound effects on you, your business and then other people. So look after you first and the rest will happen.
If you are a start-up or young business looking for advice you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help you in any way we can.
If you need to speak to someone about your own mental health you can contact the following charities who are precisely there to help and support you:
The Samaritans – Call 116 123 – it’s FREE
Rethink Mental Illness – 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate).
Mind – 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably).
Someone you trust.
Written by Nicola Crawford.