BY DEFAULT business owners and entreprepreneurs are hard working, motivated, driven people. A side effect of this is that it’s often hard to find the off button. We often end up giving too much and pushing ourselves to the bottom of the priority pile. Our business, being productive within that and working hard to make it work becomes the biggest priority. We all could benefit hugely by focusing more on prioritising mental health.

Mental health and well being become something that we don’t even think about. It too gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Something that is not often prioritised. Business owners are often at risk of burnout and it’s only when we start experiencing symptoms of burnout and suffering with our mental health and wellbeing that we realise there’s a problem. Yet there is so much that we can do that will not only help us to perform at our best within our business but also prevent a major dip in our mental health and decrease the risk of burnout.

It’s not good for your mental health to give too much and work all the time.

BUT it’s not good to give too much and work all the time. This can have a negative impact on our bodies and lead to burnout. We need to start seeing our mental health and wellbeing as being an integral part of our business strategy. We need to set a goal to make sure that we are looking after it. Read my blog post about why it’s important to take a break here

What does burnout look like?

There are many things that we can experience that are signs of burnout.

Feeling disconnected, cynical about your work and the people around you.

Feeling emotionally exhausted, drained, depleted, having no energy.

Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pain, changes in sleeping and appetite

Struggling to find joy and happiness in things that were once enjoyed.

Increased irritability

Struggling to concentrate and be productive, we may be unable to be creative.

If you are noticing several of these you will benefit by prioritising mental health.

The performance curve for prioritising mental health

The Performance Curve

We want to keep ourselves in the sweet spot and out of that burnout space most of the time. This is where we can become high performing, reach our potential and be our best. Because when we are feeling at our best we tend to produce better quality work, have great ideas and work at our best.

Being a business owner means that we often push ourselves to achieve more, to do more. We are often pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. When we push too much however we can lose a sense of balance and end up in the Flight, fright, freeze zone. 

When we are functioning from this point it’s become too much. Our bodies and minds have gone into survival mode. They are preparing for survival. This is a prehistoric part of the brain that has served us well as humans and led to us surviving all these years. It’s the part that would prepare our body if we were under attack from a saber toothed tiger. It prepares us physically so we are at our fittest and fastest and we can run away or fight our attacker. And it prepares us mentally by stopping our thinking brain from functioning so effectively and sending the energy that would usually go here to the physical body so we can fight or run away from our attackers.

How can we function at our best?

Most of us want our thinking brains to be functioning at the best of its ability. And out thinking brain does not work that well when we are in fight/flight/freeze response.

So it’s hugely important as business owners that we are prioritising mental health to prevent spending too much of our time in this fight/flight/freeze response.

So can you think of a way that you can start to prioritise your own mental health as part of your business strategy? It doesn’t have to be the big things, it doesn’t have to be having therapy, taking a month off in the summer, planning spa weekends although these would be equally lovely.

We can always bring little things into every day that will help us to regulate our nervous system and take us out of this fight/flight/freeze response and help us function within a calmer place. These could include:

  • Finding ways to pause within our day –
  • Take a lunch break.
  • Do a brief yoga exercise whilst sat at your desk.
  • Do a 5 minute breathing exercise.
  • Make sure you are doing activities that spark some joy for you.
  • Journalling and checking in with yourself about how you are feeling.

It’s all about bringing back some balance so that you can be functioning at your best.

Interested in working more deeply with me?

Hi, I am Dr Hannah Bryan, thanks for reading my blog.

I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and a Europe Accredited EMDR Facilitator and Consultant.

I have over 20 years experience in both the NHS and private practice.

Like you, I am only human and I have had my hard timesI have got many blocking beliefs that at times hold me back from me realising my potential and being my best. 

EMDR incorporated with coaching has helped me work things through and be in a position now where I have a thriving and inspiring psychology practice. It’s always a journey and I’m always working on my blocks, my mental health and my well being.

As well as coaching, I also provide psychological therapy and support other therapists training in EMDR. I am a Facilitator on training courses and offer specific supervision packages and training to support this. Click here to book a free 15 minute coffee chat with me to see if I can be of help to you.