Entrepreneurship Challenged My Mental Health
Between late nights and early mornings, do you sometimes get lost? Somedays, it feels like all I am doing is chasing my dream but not living my life to the fullest. I needed any solution to help me manage my mental health while growing my business. I am not a licensed mental health expert, but here are some methods I used to help manage my mental health.
Go To Therapy: Everyone's favorite line is ”Go to Therapy .” At times it can almost sound dismissive or a simple fix. The reality is therapy is challenging. You have to talk to a stranger about your deepest, darkest secrets and problems. "How am I supposed to trust a random stranger when my trust issues are crippling my relationships with others?" Then there goes the big assumption, therapy is just talking about your problems, and there is no action. On my journey, I had to accept that therapy would only work if I let it work. I had to switch therapists until I found the one that best fit me and my needs. For therapy to work, I need to work with my therapist and do the hard work about being honest with myself about the issues I face. I wouldn’t lie to or not trust my primary care physician, so why would I not extend the same grace and trust to my therapist?
Hang out With Friends or Loved Ones: I tend to isolate myself whenever I feel overwhelmed and overworked. Isolating sometimes feels like the most convenient solution, although it often increases feelings of loneliness. I found friends and family members that I trust and can depend on. Sometimes it can be as simple as watching a movie together or walking. The extra human presence can be refreshing at times.
Journal: Journaling has brought me closer to myself and allows me to understand my thoughts better. I journal for about 1 hour at least three times a week. During this time, I turn off my phone and distractions. I also store my journal someplace privately. This makes me feel safe to be as authentic as possible when journaling. Sometimes I write my journal as prayers or messages to myself.
Prioritize Sleep: As a society, sleep is often seen as the last thing on the list of priorities. Especially as an entrepreneur, it is easy to fall into the "I'll Sleep When I'm Rich" mindset. That can cause more harm than good. Your body needs sleep. Sleeping helps regulate many bodily functions, including the hormones that regulate your mood. I prioritize sleep like I prioritize breathing and eating. I typically sleep between 6-8 hours every night.
Develop a Rescue Plan: Many call it a self-care routine. I call it my rescue plan when I feel overwhelmed. I develop a list of must-do things when I need to check in with myself. My list consists of taking an inexpensive solo date, taking a long walk, getting my nails done (if it's within my budget), watching my favorite show for at least two hours, cooking a new recipe, and giving myself an in-home spa day.
Set boundaries: Say it with me, NO! Practicing the word no has changed my life. At first, I felt guilty when I started to say no. However, the more I understood that saying no meant saying yes to myself it became easier to say no when I did not want to do something. Saying yes to myself instead allowed me to squeeze in more opportunities for self-care. Saying no to something can have a massive impact on my overall health, from getting an extra hour of sleep to working out for an additional 30 minutes.
Please note I am not a mental health professional, nor do I have any mental health credentials. This is simply a list of things I do to manage my mental health; this list is not meant to serve as a list of suggestions or proven practices.
Check-in with your friends and family members. Take a moment to lead with empathy and no judgment to be a space for people you love to alert if they are not sure about their mental health. If you are in Maryland and need mental health services, please visit this list of Mental Health Resources.