Life as a female entrepreneur can be tough. We talked with successful female entrepreneurs to get their personal experiences and advice on how to improve your mental health. Here are our 12 actionable tips.
Dr. Erica Burger, psychiatrist, female entrepreneur and psychiatrist coach at Flourish Practice Building, helps people open their own psychiatry practices. She says:
1) Create and add structure to your work day
Routines help us feel more in control and allow us to focus on what we care most about. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – our circadian rhythms become more balanced and we sleep better.
2) Automate as much as possible
This way, you aren’t expending energy on tasks that you don’t need to expend energy on. For example, have email templates saved so you can copy and paste for common inquiries you receive.
3) Build community
It can get lonely in the female entrepreneur world. Building a network of other female entrepreneurs, either in your field or not, makes your work less isolating, is good for your business and boosts your mental health. It can also make your work more fun.
4) Move your body
We have the research to show that exercise is the single most important activity you can do for your mental, physical and cognitive health. Aim to break a sweat and work out for just 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise daily, which can seem much more achievable than an hour.
5) Set up healthy boundaries and stick to them
As a female entrepreneur, there will always be more opportunities and requests that you have the energy and time to help with. Choose opportunities from a grounded, wise place. Remember that setting boundaries is an act of self-compassion.
6) Catch and challenge negative self-talk.
We all have voices that tell us negative things about ourselves, our worth and our abilities – but they don’t mean that you are a bad person or a failure. Remember that you are not your thoughts. A simple practice is to start noticing these automatic negative thoughts and then learn to question them and not just accept them at face value. Ask yourself: “is this negative thought accurate?”
Andrea Belzer, a life coach and financial coach helping people transform their lives into the happy successful dreams they crave, says:
7) Take full days off
I take every Sunday off and do absolutely no work. This is the only way to keep ideas flowing in order to not get stuck in overworking. For me, this is hard, because I like what I do. But that does not mean you don’t get burnt out. Everyone needs downtime.
8) Know your priorities
I have my priorities written down and I revisit them at least once a week. This helps me remember things like my son is number one and my health is number two. Then I consider the business.
Nisha Vora, owner of Rainbow Plant Life, a recipe and lifestyle website and publishing company, drew from her own experiences and research she has done on the subject.
9) Daily meditation
According to a study from the University of Waterloo in Canada, just 10 minutes of meditation can help prevent your mind from wandering and is particularly effective if you tend to have repetitive, anxious thoughts. As an entrepreneur running a small business, it sometimes feels like there are a thousand different things I could be working on at any one time. And it’s so easy to let doubts and anxieties start creeping in. My ten-minute daily meditation practice has been so helpful in helping me focus on what’s important and block out any anxious thoughts.
10) Getting out in nature
Like many Americans, I spend hours every day staring at a computer, which is not the best thing for mental health. After reading an American Psychological Association feature article titled Nurtured by Nature, I make it a point to get outside, ideally in nature or in a park, at least once a day. It’s a wonderful way to reset when my energy or focus is dwindling. By the time I get back to my office, my mood is better and I’m excited to get back to work.
11) Quality sleep
Over the years, I’ve become militant when it comes to protecting the quality of my sleep. That’s because good sleep is the foundation of good mental health. By now, there is loads of evidence that is a precipitating factor for a myriad of psychiatric disorders. And of course, poor sleep makes you much more susceptible to being distracted. I ensure I get high-quality sleep by making sure my bedroom is quite dark, removing all electronics from the room and keeping the temperature cool.
12) Develop a mindset that enjoys the hurdles
A few years into my struggles as an entrepreneur, one day it hit me; how privileged I was to experience this level of autonomy and independence in life. Yes, this journey is excruciating at times, it tests you to every limit, but I can vouch that it is worth it for every entrepreneur. So for the sake of your mental peace, savor the path that you are on, including the obstacles.