A typical image of an entrepreneur is perpetually tired and stressed, slumped over a laptop in an office accompanied by computer screens and business files, where the entrepreneur frequently neglects mental health. Dr Michael Freeman, a psychologist who works primarily with mental health difficulties and sickness in trade and entrepreneurship, found that 49 per cent of the entrepreneurs surveyed had one or more mental health issues throughout their lives.
As an entrepreneur for just over a year, the past year has been rewarding and traumatising in many ways. There were days when I’ve seen myself falling, crushing my confidence, and there were times when I felt confident and on top of the world. I have developed ways to address my anxiety and live a conscious life. Among many approaches, the 1st step I took was accepting my anxious thoughts and not ignoring mental health. Hence, at PurpleTree PR, we strongly believe in advocating discussing mental health concerns to help reduce its stigma.
A deeper connection with Entrepreneurs today.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to devote more time to our business, neglecting our personal lives in all situations. Today, however, we have evolved and have learned how to handle things differently as new-age entrepreneurs. We know that a corporate network is necessary, but so is a network of support. Along with assembling a team to assist us with business duties, we also form a support network of individuals who can look after our general health.
Recently, PurpleTree PR approached four young entrepreneurs across Australia, Europe, and India to know about their thoughts and views on mental health, and was amazed to see the importance they give to work-life balance.
As a business owner, are there any conscious efforts you make for self-growth and maintaining mental peace?
Steven Blom, Co-founder Taxi Butler, Amsterdam, says, “Every day I follow affirmations that are empowering me to keep positive mental health/peace. I exercise weekly and eat plant-based to avoid eating animals for 2 minutes of pleasure. I read personal self-growth books and watch clips online that expand my awareness and consciousness.”
Maddie, Co-founder, Glad U Came, India, said, “I believe that every day is a learning process, and I make some conscious efforts to balance it all. I have a rule for myself wherein I don’t work after 8 pm, and I suggest everyone do the same. I know how important it is to have a work-life balance and how, if not maintained, it can affect your mental health.”
However, it is all about taking small steps towards your peace of mind, says Shaun de Vries, Founder and Director of Open Pantry Co. Australia. “I like to read books that broaden my mind, I meditate as much as I can, and I find being a podcast host gives me a great perspective. ”
What do you prefer doing when you are not working?
“Spending time with those I love the most, going to restaurants and cafes, watching footy and shopping at markets, especially food ones!” said Shaun.
When it comes to extracurricular, Steve Devlin, Founder, Director of iRise Drink Australia, has everything covered under his umbrella, as he says. “I live to run in the mountains, spend time with my partner, travel, and meditate. I love movement, and I feel negativity has a hard time sticking to something that moves a lot. I don’t prescribe to these late-night early mornings most help books suggest. An early start is fine but hit the hay early too.”
Steven, however, shares one of my favourite hobbies and favourite off-duty pass time, as he says, “I recently started growing vegetables on our patio, and there is something soothing about placing your hands in the earth, planting seeds, watering and growing vegetables and fruits from scratch.”
Do you have designated working hours to give time to your personal life?
“Generally speaking, yes, however business is business, there are plenty of times when you need to work outside your normal hours to get work done. I feel this is important in business, particularly startup life, to take your mindset from 9-5 to entrepreneurial. That and it feels rewarding going beyond for your entire venture.” said Steve.
What do you suggest to maintain a balance between a healthy work culture and personal life?
And I think we found a point of agreement as-.
Maddie says, “I believe work-life balance is an important aspect of healthy work culture. It is vital to take a break and switch everything off.”
“Personally, for me, taking the weekend off has been amazing. I’m currently working a full-time job alongside my startup, and I’ve even started finishing early Friday and making the weekend almost three days long. Going on Monday to work is so much easier. There’s no dread, rather you look forward to it.” said Steve.
Shaun prefers to write journals, and he says ‘I journal daily to understand thoughts, be as flexible as possible and learn to say no. You don’t have to be everything to everyone.”
When we dream about work-life balance, Steven shares his work goals as he says, “I think I work way too much, but at the same time; I love working and do not experience it as work but as a way to be connected to myself and others = life.”
Is there a message you would like to share with our next generation of young entrepreneurs on mental health?
As we live in this competitive business environment across all sectors, this question comes as a ray of hope to those starting their ventures. Considering every industry of personal and professional life, our leaders shared some words of wisdom.
“Have a small circle of friends in which to trust their advice, listen to yourself first to understand how you are feeling, Journal and meditate, and see a counsellor regularly to talk through your challenges,” said Shaun.
But what about the inner strength? Is what people asked, to this, Steve said
“Meditate. Learn it well. It’s the greatest tool in your arsenal, and it stays with you lifelong no matter what. It’s a rent-free mansion with a jacuzzi on the beach that you can visit anytime you want.” And to this, Maddie adds, “Take good care of your mind as you do for your body because mental health is as important as your physical health. Think about it because if you don’t take care of your mental health, you won’t care for your business.”
Mental Health and optimism is important, but so is having the right attitude towards yourself and your work. “We become successful when we know WHO we are, and therefore, the journey of becoming stable mentally is the journey to success and not the other way around; that we become happy when we have the money in our bank account. We have to grow ourselves mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually, and that growth results in success.” Steven agrees as he makes his point.
With this and many others, we now know that a good entrepreneur can maintain a positive attitude in the face of hardship and think clearly despite dire circumstances beyond their control. On this International Mental Health Day, let’s take an oath to spread awareness about the significance of mental health and support people who need it.
About the Author
With most of Mahima’s professional experience spanning various startups and MNC’s across India, Australia & Germany, she co-founded PurpleTree PR in September 2020 to support new and growing businesses. The vision of PurpleTree PR is to work with small and medium enterprises and help them grow their brand organically by narrating their story to the world through sustainable, affordable and holistic Public Relations & Communications solutions.
She thoroughly enjoys telling stories in articles and short anecdotes and is passionate about travelling, cycling and music. She used to be a member of a local rock band back in the days, is a trained Indian Classical Kathak dancer and practices mindful meditation. She is a big advocate for mental health and wellness and a frequent contributor to publications like Inside Small Business and the Nepalese Voice Australia.