Keys to restoring entrepreneurs’ mental health on holiday

Having a purpose also helps to ensure well-being. Espinosa recommends «finding the ultimate reason why you do what you do.» This passion has a lot to do with the Japanese cultural concept of ‘ikigai’, a reason for being. As it was explained a few months ago at a BBVA Open Talksan event organized by I BBVA Open Innovation, this philosophy holds that you have to tap into your life’s purpose to be happy: enjoy the moment, take life slowly, balance your career with your free time and stay active.

However, learning to disconnect is tough when the responsibility for success seems to fall entirely on the entrepreneur and passion for the project is taken to the extreme. «Early mornings don’t mean early mornings, but entrepreneurs are afraid that the sun won’t rise and that’s why they can’t sleep,» «No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner ,» says San Román. «But entrepreneurs are afraid that the sun won’t rise and that’s why they can’t sleep.»

Psychologist Emma Iglesias explains why this disconnection is necessary. «Emotional well-being is like a chair: for it to do its job and be stable, it needs four legs and a backrest. It’s the same with mental health: we can’t rely on just one leg. Our life can’t just be about work, we need to rest,” she says. Carlota Mateos agrees. Following the pandemic, she has had to face other tough professional moments: «I calmly dealt with them because I had previously put in the work on self-awareness, relaxation and serenity.»

«Our life can’t just be about work, we need to rest»

As Espinosa noted, managing rejection is another challenge for entrepreneurs. His advice is to «steer clear of external approval» and learn that «failure is a sign that you’re innovating.» He adds, «you never know if it’s a failure or if you’ve planted a seed that will bear fruit over time.»

Surrounding yourself with the right people to boost resilience

There’s a key aspect of the journey in search of the innovative solution, and that’s the company you keep, whether it be project co-founders, mentors or friends and family that can offer support. «Seeking company and advice to help you climb out of a hole has a lot to do with being resilient,» Espinosa says, reason enough for entrepreneurs to work on strengthening this skill.

Gabor Baloghfounder of Truckstersa relay freight transport company that has launched a pilot project with BBVA Open Innovation and collaborates with the bank, underscores in this article how important it was for him to bond with his co-founders. «People aren’t machines and we don’t put out constant results and, when you’re in a valley, someone else might be at a peak.»

«It’s extremely important to know how to identify what’s in your control and what’s not»

Surrounding yourself with the right people isn’t only useful when you’re down, because having a solid team is crucial for the business. Which means entrepreneurs can’t infect the professionals around them with their uncertainty and stress, focusing instead on taking care of the team’s mental well-being. Being empathetic, knowing how to negotiate and practicing systematic thinking are some tips for being a good leader. Learning to delegate for the good of yourself and others is also key. «It’s extremely important to know how to identify what’s in your control and what’s not,» says Espinosa. Knowing how to identify the workload that you can take on is another useful emotional intelligence skill for entrepreneurs, agrees San Román. «We all have a limit and it’s better not to reach it.»

Entrepreneurship and mental health, a relationship of balance

The balance between professional and personal life when you’re an entrepreneur means staying away from the edge of the abyss, where getting a balance back becomes more complicated. If you feel like you’re pushing the limit, the best thing to do is seek out a professional who can help you find solutions to your problems before they become even more serious or develop into illness.

Since prevention is better than a cure, rest is even more important during the summer season. Holidays can be a good time to reflect on the importance of mental health before getting back to the routine and how you can nurture your well-being. Recharging your batteries is a key step towards taking on new challenges with fresh energy and enthusiasm.

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