Originally posted on the blog for The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center here.
Written by Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC
The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has partnered with LookUp Indiana to shine a light on better mental health, wellness and self-care for entrepreneurs and business builders. The stresses and tolls of starting, building and growing a business cannot be understated. Often the isolation, loneliness and peaks and valleys of doing your own thing results in a silent struggle. This blog is the first of a three-part series on self-care for business builders. Whether you need resources, information or providers, Look Up Indiana is there to meet you where you are. Our hope at the NIIC is you will avail yourself of these resources. Education is key to understanding your options.
Building a business can be intense. It’s easy to sacrifice our well-being for the sake of the bottom line and to keep up appearances. In today’s frenzied world, can you ever work hard enough? Often, you might feel like you are firing on all cylinders and giving 150 percent.
The truth is, there will always be something more to do when you leave the office. And that’s assuming you are lucky enough to have a physical location like the NIIC where you set up shop and surround yourself with people like you. The nature of work has changed in recent years in that so many can work remotely, further exacerbating the problem. We are always “on.” The expectations we put on ourselves and others can be unrealistic at best.
How, then, can you develop healthy habits to safeguard mental well-being? Following are a few best practices that some of the most high-powered people lean on regularly to protect their peace—and thrive!
1) Don’t forget about the little things.
What brings you joy? Whether it’s that morning coffee, tuning in to a podcast, a mid-day run, or reading a book by your favorite author, allow yourself some time to take in daily indulgences, guilt-free. Humans aren’t made to work 24/7. So, don’t pretend to be superhuman.
2) Flex your “no” muscle.
As a respected person in the business community, you will no doubt get requests for meetings, collaborations, partnerships, strategy sessions, etc. While people may be well-intentioned and it’s flattering to be sought out, you’re only one person. Spreading yourself thin will do you and your business a disservice.
Be intentional in your “yeses” and reap the rewards of a less cluttered headspace and more meaningful relationships. Everyone benefits when you show up fully present, and your attention is undivided. A culture of overload may be trendy right now, but it’s not constructive and may just be toxic.
3) Make your physical well-being a priority and pay attention to your Wheel of Life.
Late nights and early mornings may be part of the gig, at least initially. However, running on empty will catch up with you sooner than later. The same goes for poor diet and inactivity. Is your body silently (or not-so-silently) screaming for help? Listen to it and follow up with a doctor if you suspect something’s not right. Health is wealth, as they say. A focus on physical well-being is a personal goal of mine in 2019 to do better and more in this category. The wheel of life is to strive for balance (not equality but balance) in your physical, intellectual, emotional/relationships, and spiritual growth (PIES is the pneumonic I came up with to do my weekly inventory to see how in balance these four dimensions are in my life .)
4)Find strength in numbers.
Whether it’s catching up one-on-one with a mentor or accountability (it’s no surprise that February in our WEOC program is accountability month) or business coach, it’s essential to have a person or people in whom you can confide. Entrepreneur-centric meetups, workshops, seminars, and fundraisers are all avenues to find like-minded souls. A support network (mastermind, leads or networking group) can be a powerful force in your professional life.
5)Take a pause and hit the reset button.
A pause can be a vacation, attendance at a self-help workshop or conference, taking some quality time to meditate or focus on your mindfulness, going to yoga, or reading a book in solitude. Find your happy place.
Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of distress, please reach out to a mental health professional or get confidential, free support and text LOOKUP to 494949 or chat online here.
If you live in Indiana and need help finding a behavioral health provider, visit Find Help or call (800) 284-8439.
Start the conversation. Silence the Stigma.