Starting and running a business takes a huge amount of energy, both mentally and physically. While many try to avoid becoming burnt-out, it’s easy for business (and life) to take over, leading to many suffering the side effects. With this in mind, it’s important to take care of yourself in a way that suits you, whether that’s learning some mindfulness techniques or arming yourself with tips from other entrepreneurs.
We’ve rounded up a list of apps, resources and advice that all aim to keep your mental health in check and give you support when you need it.
Mental health apps
For a small subscription fee, Headspace gives you access to a whole encyclopedia of mindfulness courses. You start off by picking which area you most need help in, such as sleep, focus, waking up or movement, and Headspace will help you improve it.
You might have heard of Calm for their famous Sleep Stories, which feature stories read by celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry. The app focuses primarily on meditation and sleep, but also helps with reducing stress, improving focus and self-improvement through guided meditation and breathing exercises.
Many people find meditating hugely helpful in reducing stress, anxiety and depression, with some even reporting improved levels of concentration and self-awareness. Unplug provides in-person, live stream and on-demand meditation. You can select the reason you want to meditate and Unplug will guide you to relevant sessions, or you can choose specific teachers and follow their sessions.
Designed for stress and anxiety solutions, Aura aims to customise its approach to your emotional state. Based on the test you take, the app offers personalised life coaching, stories, music and meditation guides. Through the means of your progress, the app learns behavioural patterns and recommends the right next steps. Aura also has a gratitude journal feature, allowing you to track their progress and grow more content by the day.
Developed by scientists and behavioural experts, Happify uses evidence-based techniques that are designed on the basis of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Based on your progress with the in-app activities, you can discover and improve your happiness score. The aim is to provide you with all the tools you need to “empower you to take control of your emotional life”.
There’s a reason why you feel happier and healthier after a good night’s sleep. In today’s hyper-stimulatory and high-anxiety environment, insomnia and sleep problems are affecting more and more of us. Sleepstation is an NHS-approved site that assesses sleep quality and provides CBT-based training in how to improve it.
Support for your business
As well as your personal wellbeing, it’s important for your employees to feel supported too. A startup environment can be exciting and fast-paced, but it can also feel relentless at times. Luckily, there are plenty of businesses out there that provide wellbeing content, training and workshops for workplace teams.
MindHug Concierge is an adaptable service in which an in-house psychiatry team and network of therapists work with your business on tailored solutions across a range of therapies for your employees. This could include music, art, sound, yoga & tai chi, mindfulness, humour and even animals. MindHug also offers workshops, events and retreats covering areas such as resilience, gratitude and leadership.
Unmind is a workplace mental health platform that empowers employees to proactively measure, understand and improve their mental wellbeing using clinically-backed tools. Users can access bite-sized and interactive courses, meditation, recipes, yoga and stories that help with improving sleep, reducing stress or managing anxiety. The platform also allows you to assess your mental wellbeing through questionnaires and mood diaries to then provide personalised tips.
You may know Urban as the at-home beauty and wellbeing services provider. But, did you know they also provide wellbeing services for businesses? Urban Business offers a range of services to help your team de-stress, including mindfulness and meditation; yoga and massage, through in-person and digital sessions.
Calm for business
Alongside their personal mindfulness app, Calm can also be offered as an employee benefit to your team with free access to their content library.
Similar to Calm, Unplug also offers services to corporates who want to use Unplug as an employee benefit. Employers can contact Unplug to create a program for their employees. Then, employees can use Unplug as a third-party support system.
Mental health resources
Reading and researching other people’s stories can help you feel less alone in what you’re going through. There are a ton of books and articles out there that detail experiences and offer guidance that you may find useful. Here are just a handful:
- How these 11 founders deal with stress
- How to overcome imposter syndrome
- How to deal with failure
- How to sleep better when you’re stressed
- 6 podcasts for your wellbeing
Mental health tips for entrepreneurs
If you’re looking for a quick read, here is a snapshot of some things you can do to help your mental health as a business owner.
1. Make time to socialise
Isolating yourself in favour of bootstrapping your business can have detrimental effects on your mind. And if the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that isolation is a lonely place.
Be sure to set aside some evenings to spend time with your nearest and dearest. Not only will it help you reset, but can also act as a source of support if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
2. Eat well
When you’re stressed, it can be easy to slip into bad habits, including the things you eat. But these options are often not the most nutritious solution, which can leave your brain and energy levels flagging. Try and get into the habit of keeping your office stocked with healthy snacks, like nuts, fruit and cereals. Then write out a few healthy meals you can make quickly, on rotation, so you don’t have to think about what to make all the time. Cooking these or searching for something similar on a healthy delivery company will help you maintain a well-balanced diet.
3. Reduce caffeine
If you’re drinking multiple mugs of coffee a day, the short-term high will often be followed by a low, which can not only affect your mood but your work, too. One coffee in the morning is fine, but if you get the craving again, try switching to something a little less strong, like tea or caffeine-free coffee.
The last thing on your mind when you’re feeling stressed and low is getting your fitness gear on and working out. But time and time again, exercise has proven to be a great mood booster. If you don’t have time, even a short but brisk walk can help.
5. Get a good night's sleep
It's inevitable that as an entrepreneur you're going to work late nights every now and again, missing out on your eight hours of shut-eye in the process. But try not to make a habit of it, or you could find you're doing more harm than good.
Sleep is critical for cognitive processes related to attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving – all skills that you'll be needing to get that business off the ground. So if you catch yourself dozing off at your desk, make sure you spend a few days catching up on your snooze time!
We hope these resources go some way to providing you with useful information and support if you need it. If you’re struggling, be sure to reach out to someone you know or contact the NHS if it’s urgent.
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