Did you know that half of all entrepreneurs are currently experiencing psychological distress? And yet, few are talking about it.
The pandemic and its repercussions caught everyone off-guard last spring. To keep their businesses alive, entrepreneurs had to be highly resilient and find quick solutions. They had to roll up their sleeves and dive into the action, while also finding time to step back and look for creative solutions.
As the days and weeks went by, new habits emerged along with various positive changes. For many, this period of change was an opportunity to question antiquated beliefs about the business world, re-evaluate their business model, make improvements or finally invest in projects that had been relegated to the back-burner for too long.
However, months of upheaval have sapped our reserves and worn us down. Energy levels have taken a hit and stress is piling up. Yes, we may have allies within our businesses and networks to support us, but being an entrepreneur can often feel like a lonely endeavour.
Preventing long-term consequences
Short-term stress can be beneficial. It can drive motivation and spark innovation. But over the long term, it’s damaging and can make you feel like you’ve lost control. Stress is your body’s reaction to a real or perceived threat. It sends a signal that triggers a fight or flight response. When that signal persists over time, a sense of powerlessness over the situation sets in. It’s perfectly normal for your concerns to give rise to negative emotions.
When your workload increases and your feeling of control decreases, the risk of burnout, exhaustion and depression is much higher. Entrepreneurs are used to working long hours and going to great lengths to meet their business goals. But when the results aren’t proportional to the time and energy you’ve invested, it can be hard to keep up the pace. Once that happens, you need to ramp up efforts to recover your strength.
Your reactions—including fatigue, exhaustion and the need to talk about it—are perfectly normal. Bottling it all in instead of reaching out for help will have long-term consequences. In short, it’s bad for you and for your company.
Check your blind spot: your own wellbeing
As an entrepreneur, you’re used to inspiring others, finding solutions, developing ideas and transforming plans into projects. Your passion hasn’t died and these qualities are sure to help rebuild the post-COVID world. But first you’ve got to pay attention to the harmful effects of stress and schedule some self-care. Issues that aren’t addressed today can take root and negatively impact your physical or mental health down the road. Before you can find a solution, you have to admit there’s a problem. Talk about how you’re feeling and seek out support, like you would for any other aspect impacting your company.
Quebec’s top entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: they’ve dared to ask for help and make use of available resources to build their businesses and keep them afloat. So why not do the same for yourself?
Being humble shows that you’re a positive leader who’s self-aware and open-minded. You’re not a robot. Be transparent about your experiences, worries, doubts and range of emotions. A genuine approach inspires confidence.
Finding balance is the key
What’s the key to restoring your health? It starts with establishing your priorities and striking a balance between six important areas.
Managing your priorities is largely based on finding balance in your personal life. You want work effort to be offset with rest. That means mentally checking out and taking time for yourself.
Some people will choose to increase their sports activities, while others prefer reading, meditating or walking through a forest. Or maybe you’d rather recharge by reconnecting with friends and family. Choose whatever works for you, and then add a healthy and balanced diet to go with it.
It’s important to plan quality family time, in which you’re fully present both physically and mentally. Turn off your cell phone and decide that you’re unavailable for anything outside your family bubble during these moments.
Keeping in touch with friends is also essential. Make a point of hanging out with your buddies and if you need a hand, be open about it. You should never be too proud to ask for help.
Accept that you’re not perfect. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Identify and welcome your emotions and fears. You’re only human, after all. Take a minute each day to reflect on your achievements. Cultivate gratitude and go easy on yourself.
Identify your business’ internal and external contributors, empower your team members and delegate. Cultivate positive business relationships, grow your network and create alliances.
Identify your weaknesses, assess your liquidity management and move forward with concrete action plans. If you need assistance, be sure to call on business groups or expert consultants. They may be able to offer some much-needed support and tips for balancing your personal and business finances.
Take the first step toward better overall health. These are challenging times. Don’t be afraid to admit it and ask for help when you need it.
You’ve always been able to bounce back, find solutions and leverage helpful resources for your business. Now it’s time to do the same for yourself.
Our multidisciplinary team works with organizations of all sizes and across all industries in Quebec. We’ve got your business and personal needs at heart. Ask about our approach to promoting health among entrepreneurs.
This article was written in collaboration with Marie-Ève Proulx, senior advisor.
15 Dec 2020 | Written by :