Picture this: You’re sitting on a beach. It’s a beautiful, warm sunny day. There’s a nice, mild breeze. You are surrounded by the sounds of waves crashing, seagulls, childrens’ laughter. The smell of sea salt permeates the air; the feeling of the soft sand between your toes…
Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and hold onto that for a moment.
Can I get a ahhhhh?
We all need a break from time to time. After a few tumultuous weeks that included intense work-related stress, a few very emotional circumstances that occurred in my animal rescue — in addition to the daily emotion that’s a part of being involved in animal rescue (or any philanthropic endeavor), and some disconcerting family matters, I reached a breaking point. I couldn’t focus. I was anxious, irritable, lethargic, absent minded, and felt totally overwhelmed.
According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed compared to 42% of “other workers.” 34% of entrepreneurs also reported being more likely to have “worried a lot” as opposed to 30% “other workers”.
A more recent study published in the journal Small Business Economics — found:
“Mental health differences directly or indirectly affected 72% of the entrepreneurs in this sample, including those with a personal mental health history (49%) and family mental health history among the asymptomatic entrepreneurs (23%).”
Entrepreneurs also have the increased likelihood of ADHD, depression, addiction, and bipolar diagnosis. Additional ramifications of stress and being overworked, chained to our desks, and glued to our mobile devices include:
- Fatigue or complete exhaustion
- Poor diet
- Withdrawal from your personal social life
- Reduced immune system
As entrepreneurs, we have this false belief that we don’t have the time to tend to ourselves and our needs. We get so busy being busy that we don’t do the basics. What we’re failing to realize is that when we get so bogged down, we’re not productive anyway, so might as well take some time to reset and regroup.
It was a Sunday night and after I practically went into full shut down mode, I decided I needed to take a break. Even if it was just for one day, I had to do it. I made plans to go to the beach the following day- yes on a perfectly good non-holiday Monday. I set up an autoresponder that said:
In an attempt to restore focus, clarity and hopefully my sanity, I am out of the office enjoying a much needed and deserved mental health day. I encourage you to try it some time. I will respond to messages tomorrow.
Have a great day and remember to take a moment to breathe.
Monday morning arrived. I slept in, took the dogs for a leisurely walk. I put on my beach gear, packed a couple beach reads, a sandwich, chips, and a couple beers, grabbed my beach chair, and headed to the sea and salty air. I sunned, read, ate, journaled, went up to the beach bar and had a Piña Colada. I had created my own mini staycation a mere mile from my house. It was one of the best, most relaxing days I’ve had in a very long time.
Being an entrepreneur with multiple businesses, you’d think this wasn’t possible, especially at the drop of a hat. I have clients to attend to, projects to complete, results to be made, emails that need a response, stuff to create, and texts that need answering.
Not only was it possible, it was essential. And guess what: Nothing happened. The world didn’t end. The sky didn’t fall. I still have a job, and even better, a renewed sense of sanity. I even received a few messages of support that said: “Good for you” and “thank you for the inspiration!”
So, how can you give yourself a break today? It all starts by letting go.
- Get rid of the guilt of not working and being there for everyone and their needs for just one day.
- Accept it. Accept that you are doing this for yourself and be totally OK with it.
- Get over the FOMO. You’re not really missing anything anyway.
- Stop thinking about it. Stop ruminating over the to-do list, the loose ends, the “what ifs”.
- Leave your phone and bring your journal instead. Unless you’re going to go somewhere super remote, which likely won’t have cellular coverage anyway, you can survive for a few hours without your mobile devices.
Breaking away from the day-to-day isn’t always easy, especially as an entrepreneur with so much riding on your shoulders, but it is necessary. Whether it’s a 2-week vacation, a one-day staycation, or just a few hours on any given day, give yourself the opportunity to reset and recharge. It will enhance your mental and emotional well-being, and you are more likely to be successful in your personal and professional pursuits.
And, if you only have a few moments, reread the first paragraph and let your imagination go.