I know I do sometimes 🤯
It’s easy to find something to be stressed about these days – stress caused by work, health, relationships, or a combination of all of them.
At least those things SEEM to be the cause.
But are they REALLY the root cause, or is there something else going on here?
Around 70% of business owners report having mental health issues at some stage during running their business, which is pretty fucking shocking when you think about it.
But, it’s a bit like a chicken and egg situation.
Does running your own business and being an entrepreneur cause mental health issues?
OR are people who have a higher propensity towards mental health issues, more likely to be attracted to running a business?
And my conclusion?
I think it probably goes both ways.
Of course running your own business is stressful, and there’s certainly a case to say that people with a tendency toward mental health challenges are more likely to be drawn to being self employed.
Not because it’s a weakness, but because the root cause of many mental health issues is the simple fact that people aren’t willing to settle for what the world has to offer, which basically makes them unemployable in the traditional 9-5 sense.
When I think about my 20 year corporate career, I often say I wasn’t very well liked. I was tolerated because I was good at what I did, but I always had this feeling of not really fitting in.
Since I’ve been working for myself, I feel way more comfortable.
I still stress but at least it’s my stress that I own.
I’m not starting my day on someone else’s terms. I’m not tied to someone else’s set of very specific expectations. I can structure my day in a way that suits me, and enables me to make the best use of my time and resources to hit my goals.
But of course, as a business owner we have a different set of stressors which need to be managed.
And that’s the key thing.
If you’re employed, and you get super overwhelmed with your workload, and you get stressed out because things aren’t going properly?
Then you’d probably approach your manager.
You would talk about how your workload was too much, how you would like to try and delegate things, how you needed some help, and all that kind of stuff.
There are (or at least should be) mechanisms in place to stop people getting to breaking point.
But when you run your own business, you don’t have that safety net.
When you’re employed, you get to go home at 5 and forget about work, but running your own business usually doesn’t offer that level of separation
The combination of these things – no safety net and little or no separation between work and home can cause issues to spiral out of control.
So what I encourage my stressed out clients to do is to put boundaries in place and look at ways to reduce stress. Things like:
- Having an effective routine that works with your lifestyle
- Having someone to delegate to
- Scheduling work and time-blocking
- Systemising and automating repeatable tasks
Business owners are notorious for being too hard on themselves – (can you get triggered writing your own post 🤔🤔…….apparently so!) 🙈
So I work with my clients on those things in their business, if that’s what’s needed.
Maybe you think that’s outside of my remit?
But with 20 years project management experience, I think I’m pretty well qualified to do it.
The reason I do it is because it helps my clients reduce their stress.
And reducing stress by organizing workload, delegating, and putting boundaries in place means that people are more able to adhere to all the other stuff that I want them to do to keep themselves healthy.
Including things like spending time with their family, getting some exercise in, planning in some guilt-free downtime.
If you’re a business owner, who’s having trouble controlling your monkey brain and trying to get shit done, think about the boundaries that you can put in place.
- Boundaries with your clients so you they aren’t pinging your phone at 10pm
- boundaries with your work hours – you don’t need to work 16 hour days to get shit done
- boundaries with your family, especially important if you work from home
- boundaries about where you work so that your workspace doesn’t bleed out into the rest of the house.
Other strategies to give your brain a break include:
- Being honest about what you SHOULDN’T be doing in your business, and delegating out.
- Planning in regular stress relief activities 😏 (steady on)!
Find something, completely separate from work that you can get fully immersed in.
Something relaxing, that you can escape into without thinking about work or what to have for dinner.
Some of the things my clients do include:
- Playing lego
- Learning the guitar
- Maintaining their streak in Duolingo or Peak (or other brain training games)
- Painting on the ipad
Your brain needs a break from all the serious work shit. Switch that part of your brain off and learn to play again.
You’ll find that when you get these things working well you will be far more effective in your business and your relationships.
And if none of those things work?
I have a ready made safety net for you – my Food Ninja Dojo
How do you give yourself a break from your brain? Comment below & let me know.