Mental Health for Start Up Entrepreneurs
Art work by Einstein: A Dark Place
I came from building a small business into the startup landscape, to create an exponential start-up and even with the skill of having built a revenue generating business, it did not take long for me to recognize that this is a totally different ball game.
The passion of start-up founders is 10x, the desire 10x, the skills set in my opinion is 10x, the energy 10x, the intensity and everything around it is 10x which also means that the mental strain is also 10x.
Having built a business caring for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities – it came as no surprise experiencing what start up founders to put the pieces together and recognize that for many – it is not sustainable. It is sad to say that “Founders Suicide reported by business insider did not refer to the start-ups alone. It is the dark side of the ecosystem: “Depression was the No. 1 reported condition among them and was present in 30% of all entrepreneurs” (Business Insider).
The mental health issues amongst fellow founders is accelerating and dangerous – from depression, anxiety attacks, bi-polar difficulties and at the direst suicide. From this I believe that because the intensity is so much more, the steps that founders should take to maintain strong mental health has to be even more intense and below I have included a few things founders can do.
- Do simple tasks once in a while
A lot of the work you do often is complex. Multitasking is required, thoughtfulness is required and decision making is required. What can often help is to pause ever so often and do a simple mundane activity.This could be making paper aero planes, drawing circles on a sheet of paper, crushing paper and trying to throw it into a bin. The mundane, repeatable exercise helps the brain relax and elevates strain
- If you are not taking time out at least 3/4 times a week to exercise – I have nothing left to say to you
Walking. For those who jogging, running or the gym is not a possibility – walking is tremendously beneficial.Walk for half an hour, it clears the mind, the motion of walking itself releases great hormones (endorphins, serotonins and growth factors). If it helps, grab your iPhone and play some of your favorite music while you walk
A start up is a reflection of an inner core desire and because of this – it can end up taking over every aspect of your natural expression. It is important to save a place for this. Dance, draw, paint, sing, take photos, chat up girls/boy. For me I write poetry. Humans evolved to express and when you fail express: humans begin to depress.
- Asking for help
This journey is not one that you have to go through alone. If you think you need medication, ask for help first, if you are beginning a viscous downward spiral ask for help, if you are overwhelmed and miserable etc, if you are swinging from extreme highs to lows, ask for help
Help to calm, to think more clearly, to see gratitude. It does not make you weak, or create dependency, rather it helps build awareness and understand.
Who do you ask for help
Experts, books, search engines, organisations built to help such as NAMI, close friends, – you can even start with me if you feel like you are about to grow through mental dip. Just the knowledge that you are not a alone in this – makes a tremendous difference.