The following is a great guest blog post from my friend Lara. Mental health is something that we often don’t really talk about as entrepreneurs but it can be a nasty surprise when it rears it’s ugly head and we’re completely surprised by it. Lara offers some great ways for us gals (and guys too!) to take care of ourselves while we’re hustling…
Mental health is probably the most neglected and shoved-aside aspect for us bloggers and biz owners. Often, we consider our mental health as a less urgent and unnecessary problem to take care of. However, that is not the case. Like all aspects of your life, if your mental health isn’t well, the rest of your life is going to be affected badly too.
So, as a mental health advocate and one studying to be a counsellor, I am asking you to start taking your mental health seriously!
How? By keeping these three areas in check:
- Dealing with Ups & Downs,
- Stress Management, and
- Making Time for Friends & Family
Let’s dive into the first area below.
#1: Properly Dealing With Ups & Downs
Our online businesses comes with pre-made and custom roller coasters built just for you—an emotional rollercoaster, that is.
Sadly, you can’t reject this gift either. Why? Because that is life; things will be great one minute and could be awful the next.
Because you have to graciously accept this lovely gift that is an emotional rollercoaster, you should probably learn how to properly deal with it so you won’t be suffering from whiplash everyday (AKA stress).
The High Points: Compliments
Let’s start positive, shall we?
Now you may be thinking, “How in the world could someone possibly have trouble dealing with compliments?! Are you nuts?” But wait, just hear me out before you go scrolling down past this section.
Compliments, as great as they are, can often bring out an ugly monster in you: pride.
What’s wrong with pride? A LOT. Let’s begin with the obvious: no one likes those High-Nosed, Down-Gazed people who think they are better than anyone else. And people can definitely tell (even from your online presence) when you are full-of-yourself, which is a HUGE turn off. Not only that, pride makes for an even harder fall when criticism comes, which it eventually does.
So how can we better deal with compliments so they don’t go to our heads?
The key is staying humble. This means that you don’t…
- Brag about your successes
- Compare yourself to others (to put yourself down or to bring yourself up—both can be very detrimental), instead let your biggest competitor be yourself
- Allow yourself to be angry with other people’s successes, instead, be happy for them
- Rely on your successes as the key to your happiness; instead, find other things to bring you happiness and joy
The Low Points: Criticism
And now, for the negative. The dreaded angry comments, the hate mail, and the disappointed customer—all of the favourite things we have to deal with as bloggers and business people, right?
Ha! All of these awful things can make even the best of days go bad real quick. So here is a step-by-step process to properly deal with criticism of any kind:
#1: Do not let it control/alter your day. If your day has been going great, let it keep going that way despite this one problem. If you are having a bad day, don’t let this make it worse. Remember that this is one bad comment/email/letter amongst many other great compliments that you have received in the past. Cling to the good instead of the bad.
#2: Leave it for later. I know that when you receive an angry comment or email from a disappointed customer, you immediately want to reply and try to “fix it”. However, chances are you are not in the right emotional state to properly deal with the problem. I know times when I have immediately reacted to something like that, I have often reacted solely on emotion and not logic (and needless to say not professionally). So set it aside for later when you have calmed down and can logically process what it is the person is saying and can set aside your emotions.
#3: Look for truth. Sometimes, even in the most hateful of hate mail, there is a touch of truth. So take a long, discerning look at the criticism you have been given and truly be honest with yourself. It’s okay if there isn’t any truth though (because that can be the case sometimes too).
#4: Form a respectable and professional response. This is where you apologize, correct a mistake, and fix any misunderstandings. This also may involve a bit of justifying of yourself, but make sure you don’t over do it.
The biggest part of dealing with criticism is not taking it to heart. Don’t let it ruin your dreams and aspirations. Instead, let it be something that can improve you and your business processed—whether it’s through finding truth in the criticism or simply learning to better deal with it.
#2: Better Stress Management
Managing your own biz and/or blog is obviously stressful.
It’s practically (not completely, just nearly) impossible to steer clear of stress. The key, then, is to find ways to not only deal with it but to avoid it as well.
First, you can’t overwork yourself. I hear of so many bloggers who work like 20 hour weekdays plus weekends and it’s crazy. Whatever you do, don’t do that.
You need to find your limits and stick to that. When you are working for yourself, its easy to work overtime and throw in extra hours, but that’s not healthy. Plus, when you become overtired you will not be doing the best quality work that you want to give your audience and customers.
Secondly, you need to take care of your mental and physical health. This means…
- Eating Right: I know the sugary and greasy foods promise pleasure and liveliness but they do the exact opposite; not only do they steal the energy you need to work but they have shown to have major affects on your mental health.
- Exercising: It sounds like an oxymoron, but exercising energizes you! Plus, if your job consists of sitting at a desk all day, you are going to need some exercise. Exercising also releases happy hormones in your brain to help you feel good!
- Sleeping: Usually when people need to squeeze in more work hours, it's taken out of their sleep time. You need 7-8 hours of sleep to properly function, so don’t allow yourself to stay up too late. Lack of sleep affects both your mental and physical health in ways caffeine cannot fix.
#3: Make Time for Family & Friends
Finally, you need to be social (and no, social media does not count). This means spending quality time with friends and family, forgetting about the blog and biz for that portion of time when you are with them.
“But it’s my business and job! They have to understand that I need to [insert thing you think you have to do at that exact moment].”
Okay, so let me put it this way: If your best friend asked you to come hang out with her after a long time of not seeing her and when you meet up with her, she said, “Oh yeah, by the way, I hope you don’t mind standing next to the cash register and talking over the customers while I work.”
Does that sound like a great way to hang out with your best friend? I think not.
When you take time off from work to spend with your friends and family, you are off work. That means no social media, no computer, no calls, no texting, zippo.
You need to be present in your relationships, not only for yourself but for them. Some people may be patient with you, but some may get fed up and leave if you don’t start putting quality time in with them.
And when you do hang out with them, don’t just sit on your couch and watch TV. Actually do something fun and active! Or sit down in the quiet and have a genuine conversation with them.
It’s time to start being intentional in your relationships and putting in an effort to show that you care more about them than your biz (which I really hope you do!).
Not only that, keep in touch with them throughout your work week too! Don’t treat them like a scheduled meeting.
Maybe this means texting them on your break or stopping by their house when you go by. Even if you are just intentional for a few minutes a week, it’s better than nothing.
There you have it my fellow fempreneur! Three ways that you can daily care for your mental health. I want you to take this seriously; mental health is so important and if you truly care about yourself and your audience/customers, you will do your best to take care of yourself so that you can provide the best for them.
Now its your turn biz owners and bloggers! How do you take care of yourself daily? I would love to hear!
My name is Lara Fraser (soon to be d’Entremont) and I am a Christ-follower and an experienced anxiety sufferer. Instead of letting my anxiety be my weakness, I decided to turn it into a strength. How? By creating my blog Lights. Camera. Anxiety. (lightscameraanxiety.ca) to share my experiences and lessons I have learned through dealing with it. You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lcanxiety/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/LCAnxiety.
Lights, Camera, Anxiety