The Stresses and Strains of the Startup World
The road to startup success can be a long and uphill one, and it doesn’t have many pitstops to rest your weary legs along the way. You want to be a winner, not a quitter, and the 24/7 grind ethos has long since been a part of founding a company. But the way we build businesses needs to change for the sake of our entrepreneurs’ mental health.
Let’s dive into the world of startup stresses and strains, and look at how budding founders can keep wellbeing issues at bay without compromising success.
Mental Health Issues for Startup Founders
It’s no secret that stress is as much a part of creating a startup as spreadsheets and emails. 72% of startup founders reported a negative impact on their mental health while building a business, with increased anxiety and chronic stress common among new CEOs. The demands on founders are huge, with long working hours, difficult decisions, and financial strains all making the first few years tough on entrepreneurs.
In 2021, one study uncovered that 52% of employees were experiencing burnout, recording a whopping 43% rise compared to the year before. By 2022, almost 70% of CEOs and executives were considering stepping down from their roles to move to work environments that were better for their mental health due to burnout.
Though these aren’t all necessarily startup founders, the pattern is clear: burnout in business is on the rise.
As an entrepreneur, you sacrifice personal time every week in favour of a heavy workload. All of this can lead to exhaustion and stress, and eventually take a serious toll on your mental health.
Uncertainty and Decisions Increase Stress
Creating a startup always involves uncertainty and risk. To be able to make it, you need to be able to pivot and adapt, making quick decisions and navigating a world of unknowns. This can inevitably lead to increased stress levels and anxiety, with a high-pressure environment becoming detrimental to mental well-being over time.
Some of the well-being issues closely linked to chronic stress and burnout include:
High levels of stress can even result in PTSD, making it vital that entrepreneurs take their mental health seriously as they begin building their brand.
Seek Help For Chronic Stress and Burnout
Burnout and chronic stress are health issues that should be treated like any other medical problem: with professional help. If you’re struggling, we recommend seeking advice from a trained therapist. Together, you can look at the root causes of your stress and develop coping mechanisms that are suited to your specific needs. Remember, early intervention sees much better results, so don’t wait around to ask for help when you think you might need it.
Tips to Reduce Stress and Strain as an Entrepreneur
Before your mental health reaches the point of professional intervention, there’s plenty you can do to reduce the chance of experiencing burnout and mental health issues in the first place. Let’s dive into top tips from our startup experts.
Improve Your Self-Awareness
Tapping into your mental well-being and monitoring the health of your mind is essential if you want to keep chronic stress and burnout at bay. Mental health self-awareness can help you catch small problems before they become larger issues and actually make you better at your job as a startup founder.
Get to know your mind by journaling your thoughts and feelings, practising mindfulness, and giving yourself time to procrastinate without digital distractions. If you notice that your moods have become consistently lower or you’re stressed even when not at work, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your mental health.
Hire a Supportive Team
Creating a team you trust is vital when building a business. Even though you’re the founder, you don’t have to do everything alone. Delegating tasks drastically reduces stress and leaves you time to focus on big-picture tasks, which can actually help your business in the long run.
Hire individuals who are experienced in their field and can get on with their work independently. If you can rely on them to make decisions without your help, they’re the right people for the job.
Set Realistic Boundaries
You are not your business, and your business is not who you are. Make sure that you set boundaries to maintain a work-life balance and avoid becoming a workaholic. Some key ways you can put this idea into practice include:
- Turning off your work phone outside of office hours
- Only working set hours every day
- Never working at weekends
- Taking a lunch break every day
Self-care is a well-known stress management tool that can boost your well-being. No matter how busy you are, keep up a routine that helps you stay on top of your game. Your daily practices may include:
- Having a shower and getting dressed (especially useful if you work from home)
- Cooking yourself a nutritious meal
- Getting outside for a walk or jog
- Taking thirty minutes to read your book
- Journalling your thoughts (remember to practice self-awareness!)
Alongside a weekly self-care routine involving:
- Working out 3 times a week
- Going for dinner with friends/family on a Friday night
- Having a weekly pamper evening
- Going on a long walk every Sunday
Consider activities that make you feel good and add them to your routines, prioritising downtime and self-love even as you navigate the world of founding a startup.
In the startup world, it’s almost expected that you’re going to suffer from stress and mental strain. Our professionals at Startups Magazine think it’s about time we change that perception. Hopefully, this article has given you some insights into just how important taking care of your mental well-being is as well as some tips to help you get started.