Entrepreneur Mental Health: Tackling Challenges, Enhancing Resilience

Entrepreneur mental health is a critical aspect of business success that often goes overlooked. As women entrepreneurs go through their business journeys, they encounter unique challenges and sources of stress that can affect their emotional and mental well-being. In this blog post, you’ll learn about various aspects of entrepreneur mental health and tips to help you experience flow in your entrepreneurial journey.

You’ll learn about the role of emotional dysregulation and executive functioning skills in entrepreneurial success, as well as strategies for building stress resilience through soothing techniques, discharging emotional and physical energy, and nourishing practices. In addition, you’ll read how to create a personalized mental health plan by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for personal well-being and integrating self-care routines into daily work schedules.

In addition to addressing entrepreneur mental health directly, I’ll also touch upon how to recognize you’re overwhelmed and offer effective strategies for managing.

Because this post arose out of a conversation with Meg Casebolt, of Love At First Search, which you can listen to below, I’ll also compare relationship-based marketing with traffic-based marketing approaches to better understand their implications for your overall well-being.

Table of Contents:

This blog post is based on the topics discussed in Episode 20 of the Social Slowdown podcast, with host Meg Casebolt. You can listen to the podcast here:

Entrepreneur mental health challenges

Entrepreneurs often face unique mental health challenges, including anxiety and isolation, which can lead to emotional dysregulation and executive functioning problems. In my work, I have identified seven factors of risk that impact entrepreneurial mental health. These factors can lead to emotional dysregulation and inhibit executive functioning skills, having an impact on business success.

Emotional Dysregulation in the Entrepreneurial Journey

Emotional dysregulation is an aspect of entrepreneur mental health. Emotional dysregulation refers to challenges managing emotions effectively.

This may manifest as intense mood swings or difficulty coping with the stressors commonly encountered by entrepreneurs such as financial pressures or tight deadlines.

Emotional regulation is essential for sound judgement; without it, entrepreneurs may make impulsive choices that can detrimentally affect their business.

Developing healthy emotion regulation strategies is essential for maintaining mental stability during challenging times.

But this doesn’t mean be calm at all times, or sit down, be quiet and stop bugging others with your emotions.

It’s about mental stability.

Supporting emotional regulation is what helps your CEO-self, in other words your executive functioning skills, come back online so you can think straight and make important decisions, even when you’re experiencing an emotional reaction.

The Role of Executive Functioning Skills in Business Success

Executive functioning skills encompass cognitive abilities necessary for planning, organizing, initiating tasks, monitoring your own progress towards goals and adapting behaviour based on feedback received from others or oneself (Diamond 2015).

Good executive functioning is an essential component of entrepreneur mental health. Business owners with strong executive functioning skills can prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities effectively and make sound decisions under pressure; however, those without such capabilities can struggle.

Developing these abilities can be achieved through various strategies such as:

  • Time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique. (I used this to write my Master’s thesis and have never looked back.)
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and practicing good sleep hygiene to support cognitive function. (Loss of sleep does more than make you tired.)
  • Engaging in physical activity (not necessarily exercise). Movement has been shown to improve brain health and cognitive performance (Erickson et al., 2023).

Incorporating practices that enhance emotional regulation and executive functioning skills into daily routines is essential for entrepreneurs looking to maintain their mental well-being while navigating the challenges of running a business.

Acknowledging and addressing the mental health challenges that entrepreneurs face is essential for successful business outcomes. By engaging in stress resilience practices, such as soothing techniques, physical activity, and nourishing habits, entrepreneurs can build a strong foundation of well-being to support their success.

Key Takeaways: 

Entrepreneurs often face unique mental health challenges.

Developing healthy emotion regulation strategies can help keep your CEO-self in the driver’s seat.

Building Stress Resilience to support entrepreneur mental health

Developing stress resilience is crucial for maintaining mental health as an entrepreneur.

The unpredictable nature of running a business can lead to high levels of anxiety and stress, which can negatively impact entrepreneur mental health–both personal well-being and professional success.

I teach my clients three principles of stress resilience, soothe, discharge, and nourish, so they can apply them to their own lives.

Building stress resilience is essential for entrepreneurs to maintain their mental health and overall well-being. Creating a mental health plan allows business owners to proactively set goals that help them monitor their personal wellness.

Key Takeaway: 

Entrepreneurship can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety, but developing stress resilience is crucial for maintaining mental health.

 

Creating a Plan for Entrepreneur mental health

Incorporating mental health into your business plan is essential for sustaining success in the long-term, so tracking KPIs related to your well-being supports regular check-ins and adjustments. 

Setting KPIs for Monitoring Personal Wellness

Understanding your lag and lead indicators for your mental and emotional well-being–in other words your mental health KPIS–helps you be aware of and keep track of how you’re doing.

Some examples of KPIs include hours of sleep per night, frequency of exercise, or time spent engaging in hobbies outside of work.

These KPIs serve as benchmarks for evaluating the impact of entrepreneurship on your overall well-being and help identify areas where improvements are needed.

Integrating Self-Care Routines into Daily Work Schedules

Maintaining consistency with self-care practices is crucial in managing the demands of entrepreneurship effectively.

Integrating these routines into daily schedules helps ensure they become habits rather than afterthoughts when faced with pressing deadlines or unexpected challenges.

This is where your three principles of stress resilience come in. Once you’ve identified what they are, you can engage in teeny, tiny doable actions that support your well-being throughout the day, as a counterbalance to all the stressful demands that come from every corner and seem impossible to control.

In addition to implementing self-care routines within daily schedules, it’s important to establish boundaries between work and personal life. When they create a clear distinction between professional responsibilities and personal well-being, women entrepreneurs can better manage the mental health challenges associated with running a successful business.

Creating a mental health plan is essential for entrepreneurs to stay productive and healthy.

One of the aspects of your plan is becoming attuned to the signals your organism is giving you. Recognizing overwhelm can help you intervene early for maximum effect.

Key Takeaway: 

Entrepreneurship can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, so it’s important to create a mental health plan and set measurable goals for personal wellness.

Recognizing Overwhelm

As women business owners, it’s essential to recognize when we’re feeling overwhelmed by various stressors in our entrepreneurial journey.

By appreciating our body’s wisdom in signaling distress, we can take proactive steps towards implementing soothing strategies from our list of effective coping mechanisms.

In this section, we’ll discuss the signs that you may be experiencing overwhelm and provide practical strategies for caring for yourself.

Signs You May Be Experiencing Overwhelm

Overwhelm can manifest in different ways for each individual; however, there are some common indicators that suggest you might be struggling with excessive stress:

  • Mental fatigue: Difficulty concentrating or making decisions due to a constant state of mental exhaustion.
  • Irritability: Feeling easily annoyed or angered by minor inconveniences or challenges.
  • Sleep disturbances: Insomnia or restless sleep caused by racing thoughts and anxiety about your business responsibilities.
  • Inability to relax: Constantly feeling on edge and unable to enjoy leisure activities without worrying about work-related tasks.
  • Doom scrolling: Getting caught up in an endless cycle of consuming negative news content online, which only serves to exacerbate feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

If you notice any of these symptoms persistently affecting your daily life as an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to address them before they escalate into more severe mental health issues such as burnout or depression.

Strategies for Managing Overwhelm Effectively

Once you’ve identified the factors contributing to your sense of overwhelm, it’s time to implement effective coping strategies that can help you regain control and maintain your mental well-being. Here are some practical tips:

  • Set boundaries: Establish clear work-life boundaries by setting specific working hours, creating a designated workspace, and communicating your availability with clients or team members. Learn more about the importance of setting boundaries in your work life.
  • Prioritize self-care: Incorporate regular self-care practices into your daily routine, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies that bring you joy. Check out these proven tips to stay focused amidst distractions.
  • Breath awareness: Practice breath awareness throughout the day to help calm your nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety. Here’s an audio breath awareness activity you can try.
  • Delegate tasks: Identify areas where you can delegate responsibilities within your business, allowing yourself more time for strategic planning and personal growth.
  • Seek support: Connect with other women business owners or join entrepreneur networking groups to share experiences, advice, and encouragement.

By recognizing your overwhelm signals and implementing effective coping strategies, you can maintain your mental health as a woman business owner while navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Key Takeaway: 

Recognizing overwhelm is crucial for women business owners to manage their mental health. Symptoms of overwhelm include mental fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances, inability to relax and doom scrolling; effective coping strategies include setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, practicing breath awareness, delegating tasks and seeking support from other entrepreneurs.

Relationship-Based Marketing vs Traffic-Based Marketing and its impact on entrepreneur mental health

As a woman business owner, it can help to understand the differences between relationship-based and traffic-based marketing. Both of these can be useful, and recognizing which one works best for your business or for you can significantly affect your mental health.

Meg and I both find the grind of social media marketing affects us, and Meg’s life’s work is supporting business owners with effective marketing that doesn’t involve the kind of heavy lifting social media requires. That’s why her podcast is called the Social Slowdown.

The Importance of Relationship-Based Marketing

Relationship-based marketing focuses on building long-term connections with customers by understanding their needs, preferences, and values. This approach emphasizes trust, loyalty, and personalized experiences that foster strong customer relationships.

By investing in meaningful interactions with clients or potential clients through social media engagement or email newsletters, you create an environment where they feel valued and appreciated.

Perhaps most of all, you’ll feel more connected and your marketing can be more fulfilling and enjoyable.

  • Better customer retention: When customers feel connected to a brand or business owner personally, they are more likely to remain loyal over time.
  • Increase referrals: Satisfied customers who have developed personal connections with you are more inclined to recommend your products or services to others within their network.
  • Promote positive mental health: Building genuine relationships can be emotionally rewarding for entrepreneurs as well; connecting authentically with others may help reduce feelings of isolation common among business owners.

Traffic-Based Marketing: A Numbers Game?

Utilizing various channels such as SEO, pay-per-click (IOW ads), and social media marketing to drive large volumes of website visitors is the focus of traffic-based marketing. The primary goal is to increase visibility and generate leads or sales by driving more traffic to your website.

  • Wider reach: Traffic-based marketing can expose your business to a broader audience, potentially increasing brand awareness and attracting new customers.
  • Faster results: This approach often yields quicker outcomes in terms of lead generation or sales compared to relationship-based marketing strategies that require time for trust-building.
  • Potential stressors: However, the constant pursuit of higher numbers may contribute to feelings of overwhelm or anxiety if not managed properly; entrepreneurs should be mindful of their mental health when employing these tactics.

Finding the Right Balance for Your Business

Consider factors such as your target audience’s inclinations, accessible assets, and individual beliefs when deciding which approach is most suitable for your entrepreneurial aims and mental health.

For instance, if you prioritize building long-lasting relationships with clients over rapid growth at any cost, relationship-based marketing might be a better fit for you.

If you’re operating within an industry where quick results are crucial – like e-commerce – traffic-based methods could provide the necessary boost.

Ultimately, finding a balance between both approaches may offer optimal benefits while mitigating potential stressors associated with each.

By choosing strategies that align with your own needs, preferences, and values, it’s possible to achieve success without sacrificing personal well-being.

Key Takeaway: 

Understanding the difference between relationship-based marketing and traffic-based marketing is crucial for women entrepreneurs who want to maintain their mental health.

FAQs on Entrepreneur Mental Health

What are the mental health issues entrepreneurs can face?

These issues can arise from high levels of uncertainty, financial instability, long working hours, isolation, and a lack of work-life balance. Addressing these concerns is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and achieving business success. Here’s a post that lays these issues out in detail.

What percentage of entrepreneurs have mental health issues?

The exact percentage varies across studies; however, research suggests that entrepreneurs experience higher rates of mental health challenges compared to non-entrepreneurs.

For instance, Inc Magazine reports that approximately 30% struggle with depression while other sources indicate up to 72%. The variation emphasizes the need for increased awareness and support within this population.

A study by Michael A. Freeman et al., published in Small Business Economics, found that 72% of surveyed entrepreneurs reported experiencing at least one type of mental health condition during their lifetime.

This statistic highlights the importance of addressing entrepreneurial mental health as it significantly impacts both personal well-being and business performance.

Why is mental health important for entrepreneurs?

Mental health is essential for entrepreneurs because it directly affects decision-making abilities, productivity levels, and overall success in running a business.

Maintaining good psychological well-being helps reduce stress-related illnesses or burnout risks while enhancing creativity and problem-solving skills necessary to thrive in competitive markets. 

The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging, and it’s essential to prioritize mental health as an integral part of your business plan.

Building stress resilience, creating a mental health plan, recognizing overwhelm signals, and implementing relationship-based marketing strategies are all steps towards better mental health for entrepreneurs.

By taking care of ourselves the same way we take care of our businesses, we can build successful businesses while mitigating the impact of the relentless stressors that make us feel like losing our crap on a daily basis. 

If you’d like support to care for your mental and emotional well-being, book a free call to learn about working with me here.

About the author 

Shulamit Berlevtov  -  Shulamit (she/her) is the Entrepreneurs' Therapist. She is working passionately to mitigate the entrepreneurial mental health crisis through keynote speaking and educational workshops and by supporting women entrepreneurs 1:1 to care for their mental and emotional wellbeing and their money psychology in an era of relentless stressors that can make you want to lose your crap on the daily.

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