Ambitious. Hard-charging. Hungry. Persevering.
If you’re an entrepreneur or considering becoming one, you’ve probably heard these terms elevated as the ideals to which any successful entrepreneur must aspire. To say entrepreneurship is challenging would be a gross understatement, and these qualities are almost mandatory to achieve success.
When you’re just getting a business started, you are forced to wear many hats: product manager, marketer, salesperson, and many more. With everything you have going on, coupled with the additional problems often faced by women and persons of color, it’s not hard to see why mental health often slides to the bottom of the priority list. Here are some self-care tips you can incorporate into your life today to keep yourself sane during the brutal early years of entrepreneurship:
Establish a Morning Routine
The most important part of my day is the first hour after waking. I allow my self several minutes to slowly ease out of sleepiness. This includes taking several deep breaths, sipping on a cup of coffee, and drinking in the early morning silence. My morning routine sets the tone for my entire day. Spending those few minutes every morning to center myself strengthens my self-awareness and allows me to interact with the world more compassionately.
Prioritize Quiet Time
Quiet time has become an integral part of my daily life. Aside from my morning meditation, I always reserve a few hours every week to disconnect from everyone — work, my boyfriend, my family, everything. I spend this time to take stock of the previous week’s events and plan for the next. If I’ve been slacking on my diet or workouts, I can gently refine my daily routine to eliminate distractions and excuses.
Be Brutally Selective About Those You Allow Into Your Personal Space
This one is tough because sometimes it requires you to phase out family members or long-time “friends.” The truth is, entrepreneurship is often fraught with enormous stress and low self-esteem. Additional toxicity from people in your inner circle can be enough to drive you to madness. I’ve learned that filtering out nasty people is critical to maintaining my sanity.
Now, that’s not to say that you should shut down all constructive criticism. However, you will need to differentiate between those who are in your corner and those who get a kick out of tearing you down.
Diet and Exercise
Between long days and nights of working, it can be easy to justify a poor diet and exercise regimen. This one is worth the effort. Proper nutrition will ensure your body, including your brain, is getting the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Coupled with a solid exercise routine, you’ll be amazed at how much more energized and focused your workdays can become. Additionally, exercise has been proven to help fight depression and anxiety.
Make Sure You’re Doing It For The Right Reasons
Some entrepreneurs get started with a genuine passion for a product and a desire to see the product grow. Others might even get started because they see entrepreneurship as the only way to pave their own path. Whatever your reason, make sure that it truly resonates with you. Doing anything simply to impress others is a surefire way to be unhappy and bitter. When you can wake up every morning, genuinely excited to get to work — your performance anxiety will significantly decrease, and you will gain clarity of mind.
Overall, the start-up world has a long way to go when it comes to becoming more hospitable for Black and brown people. The fight for recognition, respect, and funding can be daunting. Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit is the only way to stay healthy enough to play the long game.