Overcoming Mental Fatigue: Why It’s Essential for an Entrepreneur

It’s completely normal to feel tired occasionally, particularly if you’ve been working hard on a project but chronic mental fatigue is something very different. You’ll feel as if you’re constantly feeling your way through a fog, unable to think clearly or focus on the tasks that need your attention.

Mental fatigue isn’t a symptom you should ever ignore. It’s a warning sign that you are becoming overloaded and need to slow down for a while. If you disregard what your body is trying to tell you, the consequences will be far worse, and you’ll end up completely breaking down – which is what happened to me for a year.

Here is a closer look at what mental fatigue feels like and why it’s so important for an entrepreneur to be able to tackle it effectively.

What is mental fatigue?

You may have heard the term before, but do you really know what mental fatigue feels like? Take a look at the following symptoms:

• Sleeping too little or too much
• Short term memory loss
• Confusion
• Difficulty focusing on or understanding information
• Eating too much or too little
• Lack of interest and motivation
• Mood swings

If you are experiencing several of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from mental fatigue. Next, we’re going to look at why it’s so important to overcome it if you’re an entrepreneur.

The driver of the business

Even if you have a good team behind you, the success of the business relies on you being committed and driven enough to maintain momentum. The employees carrying out the day to day tasks may be able to keep the business afloat temporarily but without you at the helm, it will soon flounder and fail.

If you’re suffering from mental fatigue, you won’t feel as motivated or driven to get involved and continue to push your business forward. Mental fatigue may seem trivial but if can be the single factor that causes widespread problems.

Your success depends on you

When you become an entrepreneur, you accept the responsibility for the success of your own finances. With the freedom to make your own decisions, you aren’t dependant upon a pay packet at the end of the month.

This can be extremely liberating and gives you the flexibility to earn more money if you’re a success. But the flip side of the coin is that if you fail, your income will suffer. Unlike regular employment where your salary is guaranteed, if you want to earn an income as an entrepreneur you can’t skimp on effort or hide away.

Other people rely on you too

When your business is a success, you need to consider the effect not just on your own income but what it could mean for those people working for you. Your employees will depend on the wages you pay them, so if the business collapses they could end up in financial difficulty too.

As an employer you have a responsibility to those who work for you. This is an extra burden to shoulder but it’s an integral part of being an entrepreneur.

Don’t wait to tackle it

The sooner you take steps to tackle your mental fatigue, the easier you’ll find it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as cutting back on the hours you work or taking a long-overdue holiday. In other cases, you might find that a therapist can help; being an entrepreneur can be a lonely position and it’s useful to talk through those feelings with a professional.

Become more self-aware about your state of mind, and what makes you feel better and take conscious steps to look after yourself, for the sake of everyone involved.

Mental Health Hurdles and How to Overcome Them as an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship and mental health are uncomfortable bedfellows, having a close relationship that no-one really likes to admit. Being an entrepreneur can be the best thing in the world when your company is doing well, taking you up on the crest of a wave as you bask in your success.

But although the highs can be dizzying, the lows can be just as dramatic, plunging you into a pit of despair.

I’ve been through those dark days myself and can say from personal experience that it’s possible to get back on your feet again. However, if you spot the early signs you could clear the mental health hurdles before you hit rock bottom.

Appearing weak

Everyone has periods of uncertainty but as an entrepreneur, there’s no way to take your foot off the pedal and coast along in the back seat. You are firmly in the driving seat and understandably, you want to preserve your reputation.

The problem is that mental health comes with a stigma, and for many people, it’s much harder to admit that they’re unwell than it would be if they had a visible, physical condition such as a broken leg.

Some entrepreneurs may feel that if they suffer from mental health problems, it means that they’re incapable or weak. This can force people to keep going when they desperately need to take a break.

Letting everyone down

Shame and guilt are very powerful emotions, and when you’re responsible for running a company it can often feel as if you have the weight of everyone’s expectations on your shoulders.

Worrying about letting your employees down and being aware that their livelihood lies in your hands can pile on the pressure and exacerbate any mental health problems you are experiencing.

Feeling inadequate or fearing failure is common, but when you start to believe the negative chatter in your mind, it can create a toxic cycle which is hard to break.

Isolation

The old saying that it’s lonely at the top has never been truer; every entrepreneur at one time or another will feel isolated and alone.

The combined pressures of keeping a business afloat, maintaining a professional appearance at all times and hiding any potential problems from the staff can make you feel as if there’s nowhere to turn. Unloading to employees is out of the question because it could cause widespread concern and even destabilise the company.

Burnout

Entrepreneurs have to work long hours, and work hard – there’s no escaping this fact. However, it is possible to push things too much and try to extract more out of your body than it’s capable of.

If you don’t give yourself a break from time to time, and plan in some activities away from work, eventually you’ll burnout from the overwhelming stress.

Overcoming the hurdles

The situation as an entrepreneur sounds pretty dire, right? Don’t worry, things aren’t as bad as they seem. It just takes a little perspective and a dedicated plan to get things back on track.

The first thing you should never forget is that it’s perfectly possible to have mental health difficulties and still run your business. Many people suffer from anxiety, depression and stress-related conditions and still work ehead-onely.

The key to reducing your symptoms is facing your mental health hurdles head on. Take an honest look at your tasks, and the staff you have available and decide what you can delegate. Many entrepreneurs are guilty of micromanaging every aspect when there’s capable and committed employees just waiting for the chance to prove themselves.

Take time out. To be effective and work well, you need some kind of balance in your life. Whether that’s a session at the gym, a yoga class or a walk in the park, actively plan in something that will help you unwind.

Finally, don’t feel ashamed. Mental health is nothing to be embarrassed about and if you share how you’re feeling you might be surprised at the response. This might be with a family member or close friend, or perhaps an anonymous online forum. A chat with your GP can also help if things feel as if they’re getting out of hand. There are lots of different ways to get support; it’s up to you to find the right channel that you feel comfortable with.

Searching for the elusive work/life balance? Here are 4 ways to achieve this!

Whilst it may seem like somewhat of a myth to some of us, much like unicorns or trees that grow money, the truth is that a work/life balance is actually something that some of us can achieve. Particularly if you are like me and spend a large chunk of your time working from home, or if you run your own business. So, with this in mind, I have put together some of the top tips that I think can be tried out for those who want to not only achieve a great work/life balance. They can also make sure that you ace both of these all-important worlds too.

  1. Realise that you simply cannot work all the time

It is all too common for those who run their own business to feel the fear that they are not working hard enough, or that they are not working enough hours. After all, if you are not working then you are not earning. Whilst, in essence, this is true, you should never feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. After all, if you don’t take some time away from your business, then you may not be able to give it your all.

2. Always make a space in your schedule for life

How often do you schedule in your diary time to work? Chances are that there are plenty of times that you reach for the pen. What about scheduling time in for activities that are a part of your personal life, such as spending time with your family, shopping or perhaps even just taking bath? Not quite as common. However, if your diary has spaces for work, then you should make spaces for fun too. That way you will ensure that you have a break to recharge.

3. Turn off from work

It isn’t easy to do, and it may not seem like the end of the world to just take 5 minutes to reply to an email whilst you are supposed to be having family time. However, it really is a problem. When you plan to take time away from work, then you need to make sure that you do this. Turn your phone and laptop off and focus on what is around you, if someone is going to need you, chances are that they can wait.

4. Try a new hobby

If you really do find it hard to switch off and spend some time on yourself, then you need something that is going to coax you away from the office. Why not plan in some time to try out a new hobby or activity? This could be exercise, or perhaps creative. It really does depend on what it is that you can see yourself enjoying on a regular basis.

As you can see, there are ways that you can make sure that you earn money, run a business and still have time for yourself and for your family. Dare I say it, you may even be able to enjoy “having it all!”