Published October 08, 2018
According to a recent study by the University of California San Francisco, a whopping 72% of entrepreneurs report having mental health issues with 30% experiencing depression, 29% ADHD and 12% substance abuse. While rewarding, owning your own business can be more stressful than a regular 9-5 so it’s imperative to take care of your mental health alongside of taking care of your business. In honor of World Mental Health day here are some tips on how to effectively manage your mental health so that you don’t become another statistic:
Separate Work and Sleep
There’s one piece of advice I remember from my freshman orientation at college: make sure you can’t see your desk when you’re in bed. Of course this was harder when you have a bulky bed and monstrous desk in a teeny dorm room, but I found a major difference when I rearranged my room this way. By creating separate zones for work and sleep these two entities are less likely to intertwine. Even if you don’t have a desk in your bedroom the same principle applies to where you store your work phone or computer. How many sleepless nights have you had thinking about work only to be made worse when you see your phone or laptop? By keeping these out of sight (and out of mind) you are sure to count sheep instead of unread emails and get enough sleep to leave you feeling energized on even Monday mornings.
Don’t Bring Your Work Home with You
Along these lines, it’s important to separate your work life from your home life. Your house (or apartment, or cabin, or parents’ basement) should be designated for de-stressing from work and therefore there shouldn’t be anything to remind you of your office. For important items like phones and computers get two of each- one for home and one for work- to keep your work life away from your home life. Trust me, you (and your partner) will be happy you did this.
Actually Take a Lunch Break
Have you ever worked through a lunch or just grabbed a Big Mac to eat at your desk? Your lunch break should be treated as that- a break. Even if you’re not hungry, your lunch break is a great time to get up, stretch your legs and get away from your desk for at least half an hour. Use this time to take a walk, chat with your family or friends or (gasp) actually eat an energizing meal. Actually taking your lunch can bring benefits to your work as you’ll return to your desk re-energized and revitalized and more likely to formulate new ideas and think outside the [take out] box.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Okay, this might be the hardest tip on this list but it can reap the most benefits. How many times do you check your competitor’s Instagram followers and Facebook likes? How many times a day do you refresh them? In this new age of social media it’s tempting to keep a close eye on your competitors, but this can also bring in self-doubt and depression if their business outperforms yours. Remember, every business had to start somewhere and if you focus on your business instead of your competitors’ you can achieve (or exceed) their level.
One of the best combatants against stress is the tried and true exercise. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins which are natural pain killers that your body produces. Go for a run when you first wake up to energize yourself or stop at the gym on your way home from work to make sure you're fully de-stressed for when you arrive home. Don’t have time for either of those? No problem, just get your exercise at the office! We compiled a list here on ways to stay active at work.
Join a Network
Just like how there are support groups for people with illness, entrepreneurs and business owners have their own dedicated networks that can act as a support group. Most popular is Entrepreneurs’ Organization which connects entrepreneurs from over 50 countries together. By joining a group you will have the ability to connect with other business owners who may be going through the same stressors as you. Sharing stories with others will help you realize that you aren’t alone in your feelings and give you encouragement to weather the storm.
You have many priorities in life: growing your business, finding new customers, making enough money to pay rent. So why not make your mental health a priority as well? Of course, if you’re experiencing real mental health issues you should consult your doctor or call a help line. If you’re just feeling stressed then we hope that these tips can provide relief. Invoice Home can also help take the stress out of your invoicing and taxes with over 100 pre-made invoice templates for you to use. Remember to keep yourself your first priority and your business second.