Still figuring out how to manage your mental health as an entrepreneur? Learn from the best!
Being a boss is hard. Most people don’t see the tremendous hard work that goes on behind the scenes, only the glamorous lifestyles on social media. To build a successful business, you first have to prioritise your mental health to avoid burnout. Need a few tips and tricks from those who’ve been there? Here’s what 23 entrepreneurs have to say about mental wellness habits that transformed their lives.
23 mental wellness tips for entrepreneurs
1. Practice patience and stay strong in the midst of pressure
Things you want to achieve in your business will take longer than you think. Sometimes you may be pressured by society and the people around you. The best thing you can do for yourself? Don’t be affected by this; give yourself time and space to grow with your business. Being too harsh on yourself and overworking while expecting “faster” results will take a toll on your mental and physical health, as well as your productivity.
– Senthilkumar Subramanian, founder of The Noteway
2. Reflect on what energises or empties you
Do an “energy audit”. Write out two columns: what fuels you, and what drains you. Actively manage and set boundaries around your schedule to make time for what fuels you. Is it self-care, exercise, time with peers, time with customers, brainstorming, strategic planning, negotiating deals, or managing your people? What fuels you is what you do best. How can you outsource what eats up more effort, so that you can lead from your “zone of genius”?
– Sasha Young, life and development coach at Sasha Young Coaching
3. Let your breath work wonders for you
When we’re under pressure, high stress and anxiety, we tend to breathe very shallowly in the top of our chest, which is counterproductive to calming our nervous system. I recommend spending a couple of minutes on breathwork. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 1 and breathe out for 7 (and do 5 rounds of this).
It can be on the couch, at your desk, in the cab on the way to a meeting and guess what – it’s free and easy. It’s scientifically proven and works wonders so you can show up in whatever capacity needed – at home or at work – calm and collected.
– Lynda Williams, communications expert, life and business coach
4. Find your self-worth outside of your business
I experienced burnout when I first started my bakery business. My best tip is not to work every day. Make sure you have at least one day of the week to spend with friends and family. I also have a morning routine such as meditation and breathwork to ground me and build that mental capacity “armour” so I’m ready to take on whatever comes. Remember: your self-worth isn’t tied to your business. You’re allowed to take a step back if you need to work on your mental health!
– Andrea Lee, founder of The Clean Addicts Wholefoods Bakery
5. Map out a morning routine that works for you
Running an interior design business keeps me on my toes. Balancing the creative side with project management is part of the job. Something that helps me stay on track and take care of my mental health is a morning routine. First, a quick journaling and meditation session before the rest of the family wakes up. It quiets my mind and sets the intention for the day. After the kids have been bundled off on the school bus, it’s time for a brisk walk around Botanic Gardens. A walk in nature is so helpful for creative thinking and problem-solving.
– Miranda Kozan, founder and principal designer at Interior Couturier
6. Reframe, reward yourself and stick to a routine
Being self-aware is my biggest strength to keep going. First, reframe: find joy in the pain. Recognise that being stuck is part of the journey, enjoy the unfolding, and ask yourself what you did well and what you can do better. Trust the process and affirm that what’s meant for you will come.
Next, recognise and reward yourself. Know your language of love. Practice self-care and self-love by connecting with your top needs. Revisit your goals and make them smarter. Don’t forget to remind yourself that your dreams are valuable. Connect to the why of what you’re doing – the higher purpose – and be less attached to when and where it’ll happen. Finally, have a routine: a commitment to practice physical movement and mindfulness every morning. Practice heart-focused breathing to feel calm, coherent, and confident amidst all the chaos.
– Priyanka Tiku Gupta, certified performance coach and emotional well-being practitioner
7. Try mindful meditation and spend moments in nature
A consistent daily practice of mindfulness meditation and a moment in nature is essential for me to show up authentically in my business. By strengthening the muscles of my mind, and creating new neural pathways towards resilience, self-awareness and self-compassion, I can continue to show up for my clients.
It’s important to know that you don’t need to do this alone. Find a professional to speak to, or a friend who understands mental health, and share your challenges. They don’t need to give you a solution; being heard is powerfully healing.
– Laura Yates, ambassador of joy and mental health activist at The Hummingbird Life and Secret Sunrise Singapore
8. Realise that comparison leads to disappointment
Spending too much time comparing yourself to others’ entrepreneurial journey will make you feel like your efforts are in vain, and can seriously affect your mental health. Comparison is only good to a certain extent. Up to the point where you want to strive for more and it pushes you to surpass your limits. Everyone’s path is different, with external factors that influence their pursuit of business. I always take time to sit back, relish what I’ve accomplished so far, and remember that the only competition I have is with myself. I’ll get where I want in my own time!
– Joan Lim, founder, House Of Pumpkin
9. Think about what brings you joy
I have a list in my notes of the things that make me happy. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary; it can contain simple ideas like cuddles with my dog or a coffee from my favourite coffee shop. There’s one golden rule I follow: try at least three of these things during the day (in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening). This is a part of my mental health routine that helps me to stay inspired, fulfilled, and grateful.
– Anna Villefranque, founder and creative director at Vi Galerie
10. Take breaks, build on your strengths and seek support
For a sustainable workflow, taking regular breaks keeps a steady flow going. You’ll find that your energy lasts longer, rather than running dry by “going hard”. Pro tip: Notion or Milanote are amazing digital applications that you can download (for free). They help map out ideas, visions, plans, and day-to-day rituals.
Don’t try too hard at things you find difficult. Stick with your strong skills and build upon them. Talk to fellow entrepreneurs in the same field, plant seeds in multiple conversations, and you’ll be surprised as something will land that can help your business thrive.
– Chloe Calderon Chotrani, therapist at Body as Earth
11. Eat well to feel well
Keeping my blood sugar balanced has been essential in optimising my mental well-being and staying productive – even before I started my own business. I did it just by slightly tweaking the way I eat – focusing on healthy proteins, fats, and fibre while cutting back on carbs and sugar. No more food coma, low energy, or cranky mood!
Going carb-conscious and low-sugar has kept me feeling amazing, physically and mentally. That’s why I started my business: to share my passion for nutritious foods through delicious keto-friendly desserts that are all low-carb, no sugar, and gluten-free.
– Jermaine, founder of Jammy’s Guiltless Pleasures
12. Spend quiet time with Mother Nature
Taking care of my mental health while running a business is crucial for my overall well-being and success. Because of my work, I know how intertwined our mental well-being and gut health are. That’s why I prioritise healthy eating and incorporate lots of fruits and veggies.
To help me de-stress and clear my mind, I love going for a walk outside in nature (almost) every day after lunch. It’s such a refreshing break and it gives me a chance to push myself physically and release those feel-good endorphins. It’s all about finding a healthy balance between my mental and physical well-being.
– Karin van Vliet, distributor of Super Synbiotics Singapore
13. Block out your time and take breaks
There’s a lot to juggle while running a service-based business that helps others. To ensure I prioritise my own mental well-being, I use time blocking and the Pomodoro Method, which allows me to take breaks, plan my personal time with my loved ones, and stick to my morning and evening self-care routines.
I also invest in my self-development and have my own trauma informed coach and other mentors to guide me in my mental and emotional well-being. These are essential for me to take care of myself, so I can hold a safe and non-judgmental space for my clients, be fully present for my loved ones, and be effective as an entrepreneur.
– Sophie Leung, trauma informed core confidence coach
14. Lean on others for strength and support
I’ve learnt that reaching out to fellow entrepreneurs is essential for my mental health and business success. Having a supportive network of peers can make a significant difference. I’m fortunate to have found a group of businesswomen at Launchpad whom I consider my friends.
During our recent meetup, I shared my struggles with balancing motherhood and ambition. Their insights and advice helped ease my worries, giving me much-needed encouragement, guidance, and inspiration. Connecting with others who understand the unique challenges of entrepreneurship has been a lifeline for me, providing a fresh perspective and support that’s crucial for my journey.
– Ananya Pandit, founder of Eat Crave Grub
15. Find a group that will champion you, no matter what
Running your own business can be an isolating experience, particularly as a freelancer providing services without a team. I often find myself craving meaningful interactions with people (outside of friends and family) to bounce ideas off, share experiences with and learn from.
Joining networks of like-minded professionals has provided me with this support. I feel like we’re all in this together. When I’m struggling to get motivated or worrying about challenges at work, connecting with others in these communities often sparks new inspiration or helps me view things from a different perspective.
– Louisa Pattison, founder and research consultant at Elbe Consulting
16. Pinpoint what works best for boosting your mental wellness
Prioritising my mental wellness is crucial in helping me achieve success in my personal and professional life. I set boundaries and make time for non-negotiable self-care activities. For example, I take daily walks with my dogs in nature, meditate, and spend time with my loved ones.
These practices help me maintain a healthy work-life balance and reduce my stress levels, ultimately boosting my productivity and overall well-being. I find it essential to establish a support system – whether it’s with my friends, other entrepreneurs, or professional colleagues – to manage the challenges that come with entrepreneurship.
– Michelle Chan, founder of Miseico
17. Stop comparing yourself negatively with others
“Comparisonitis” is one of the key issues I see impacting entrepreneurs’ mental well-being. It’s the feeling of not being as good as your peers, not measuring up in some way, thinking you need to do more or be more to compete.
A quick mindset reframe is to notice when this is happening, and get curious about your peer or competitor. What part of how they run their business intrigues you? What can you learn from them? If you shift them from being your competition to being an inspiration, how does this change your mood and how you feel about yourself and your business?
– Helena Day, subconscious success coach
18. Self-care is all about you
It’s been an incredibly fulfilling journey as an entrepreneur, but it’s also had its challenges. After experiencing burnout, I now prioritise self-care above all else. I find solace in Zumba classes, spending time with family and friends, and surrounding myself with nature’s beauty.
These things bring me peace and keep me grounded. But most importantly, I’ve learnt to be self-aware. Knowing when to slow down and take a break is key. As entrepreneurs, we can get lost in the hustle. But it’s crucial to take care of ourselves to build a sustainable business and a fulfilling life.
– Dana Wolf, feng shui practitioner and Marie Kondo consultant, founder of Anjia Living
19. Sweat it out!
One way for me to manage my mental health while running my own business is routine. When I’m not doing photoshoots, I work mostly from home. It’s easy to get into bad habits because there’s no one to show up for. My favourite way to start my day is with movement that makes me break a sweat – whether it’s cycling my daughter to kindergarten, doing some weights or going for a run. I never regret it once it’s done! And it sets me up for my day so I can sit down with a clear mind and focus on editing my images.
– Rebecca Berger, photographer at Rebecca Berger Photography
20. Step into the world of meditation
How many times have you heard that you should meditate? Trust me, it works! Building a business has its highs and lows, so practising meditation has helped me be more aware of my emotions and grow my business intentionally.
I use a meditation app called Meditation Time which allows you to set a timer and interval gongs. This will help you focus on your breath when your mind wanders. I also recommend the book How to Meditate by Pema Chodron. She explains step-by-step how to meditate and keeps it real!
– Melissa Laurie, director of Oysterly
21. Give yourself the gift of me-time
I’m a mum of a six-year-old, running a business while caring for my son full-time. Often, I have to take “me-time” to keep myself in check mentally. That can be a short walk or a date with my girlfriend. If I don’t feel like doing any work, I step away from work and family, and tell myself it’s okay to take that break. It helps me to reconnect with myself. I work a lot better when I take short breaks.
– Kavitha Dashinamoorthi, abstract and realism artist at Ambi Arts
22. Don’t sit still: keep moving
Movement is my anchor for mental well-being. Intentional movements such as yoga asana practice and free dance are part of my commitment to embracing a calmer pace of life. It helps me connect with my body, observe my true emotions, be present, and instantly expand my perspective. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a moment to pause and let my body move freely with each breath. Our mind and body are intimately connected; the way we move influences how we think and feel. Mindful movement is my daily commitment to embodying a tranquil flow in all I do – it’s a surrender to the present moment.
– Anna Lisicka, yoga teacher and ayurvedic health counsellor
23. Hit pause in the midst of the busyness
As entrepreneurs, the pace of life and work can be fast and intense. Such intensity, while exhilarating at times, if done too much, can exhaust us mentally and physically. I always encourage my clients to slow down as it allows us to pause and reduce life’s intensity. Next time you feel overwhelmed, try this somatic experiencing technique: take ten steps very slowly while noticing the sensations that come from the bottom of your feet. Pause and ask yourself what you need before moving on to the next thing on your list. It’ll do wonders for you!
– Dian Handayani, director, sex therapist and art therapist at Nambani
Want more tips from business owners? Check out Launchpad, a networking platform that offers support and community for entrepreneurs.