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Mental Health Day 2022: A Collection of Best Mental Health Care Tips for Founders

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, we’ve collaborated with Capchase to deep dive into financial anxiety drivers challenging founders’ mental health.

At Wellnite our mission is to make high-quality mental healthcare accessible to everyone regardless of zip code or insurance coverage with the final and most ambitious goal of helping humans in building a more mindful, empathetic and forward thinking society.

Everyone has mental health. Founders and business leaders experience stress, pressures, and anxiety just like everyone else. But with the added pressures of leading a team, building a business, and all the responsibilities that come with it, it is even more important for them to prioritize their mental well-being. We believe founders and business leaders can have a profound impact on millions of people. Their behavior, and how they respond to their mental health can influence and change culture, behaviors and most importantly for us at Wellnite, the perception of mental health for generations to come.

In line with this, we’ve put together a list of actionable tips whether you are a founder or a business leader to better care for your mental health - one for each day of the week. Here are a few mental health care tips for founders.

Coping with Change

Change is inevitable. It is definitely a part of life. We can't prevent things around us from changing. We can't prevent people around us from changing as well.

Change does not have to be bad or scary. Some changes can be good and exciting.

For founders, there are a lot of changes that can happen in their companies and businesses. And, like with everything in life, these changes can either be good or bad.

From personal shifts to a changing business environment, adjusting to a new normal can be challenging. You may feel a mix of emotions. In fact, change is everywhere and it's not necessarily a bad thing.

But there are also things that we wished we could change, but can't. And with nearly every kind of change, stress is part of the equation. So here are 5 ways founders can deal with change-related anxiety and stress.

Write It and Reframe It

Write down everything that's making you anxious. What's the worst thing that could happen? Then, for every fear, write an affirming statement. This doesn't need to be falsely positive. Reframe the situation to one that serves you.

Ex. I'm not going to be able to lead my team effectively because I am new to these changes in the business => There are many changes happening in business today, but I will work with the best of my ability to lead my team well.

How Much Control Do You Actually Have?

We often grab for control in moments when we are least likely to have it. Ask yourself how much control you actually have over the situation. If the answer is "not much" or "none," resolve to let it go and set your mind on things you actually have control over.

Breathing Exercises

During moments where you feel like you can't get away from your own thoughts and fears, try an audible or vibrational breath. Inhale deeply, and exhale on a hum, a lip buzz, or a "haaa" sound. Hearing the rhythm and pulse of your own breath can help bring you back into the present.

Doubt Your Doubts

The anxieties we have in moments of change are often definitive - we are so sure that the worst will happen. Practice catching yourself in these moments. Remind yourself that just because you're feeling that it's true doesn't make it true. Come up with a few empowering statements to question your doubts.

Create Daily Rituals

Create touchstone habits where you can feel in control of your life. In the morning and right before you go to bed are great times for habitual activities, but come up with a couple for the middle of the day, too.

Improving your emotional intelligence

As a founder, it’s so essential to have high emotional intelligence in order to properly lead your team. Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to recognize and regulate emotion and to use social awareness in problem-solving.

Having high EQ fuels your performance both in the workplace and in your personal life, but it starts with you. Fortunately, it is something you can learn and we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tips to help you explore your own level of emotional intelligence.

Here are a few ways to help strengthen and improve your emotional intelligence.

1. Practice observing how you feel

Often we lead hectic, busy lifestyles and it’s all too easy for us to lose touch with our emotions. To reconnect, try setting a timer for various points during the day.

2. Do a self-evaluation regularly

What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you're not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person?

3. Take responsibility for your actions

If you hurt someone's feelings, apologize directly – don't ignore what you did or avoid the person.

4. Question your own opinions

This will help you understand other people and be more receptive to new ideas.

5. Communicate assertively

Emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate their opinions and needs in a direct way while still respecting others.

One of the biggest factors that can affect your emotional intelligence is not having strong work-life boundaries.

As a founder, you need to lead your team. You juggle a million different tasks and need to be on top of almost everything in the business. But not setting strong work-life boundaries can cause you to burn out.

Remember, you must first take care of yourself in order to care for others. Here are a few ways to set strong work-life boundaries.

Managing Anger

We all get angry. It's a natural human emotion. Let's discuss why anger isn't always a NEGATIVE emotion. Anger has a negative reputation. People compare it to happiness or enthusiasm and label it as a BAD or NEGATIVE emotion. Here are a few reasons why this isn't true.

  1. Anger energizes us. Anger guards us when someone wants to hurt us.

  2. Anger motivates us to solve problems. Anger propels us to take action when things aren't going well.

  3. Anger makes us aware of injustice. There is a lot of injustice in the world. Anger serves as our internal guidance when we (or others) are being treated unfairly.

  4. Anger can lead to self-improvement. Looking at what triggers anger makes us more self-aware.

  5. Anger increases cooperation. Anger shows others that there is something you are not agreeing with and that something needs to change. This makes people listen.

“Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger.” A healthy expression of anger includes “making clear what your needs are, and how to get them met” (*) while being respectful of others.

Here are some other ways that we can differentiate between healthy and unhealthy anger:

Healthy anger is...

  • Problem-focused, not people-focused.

  • Reason oriented.

  • Still aware of how that anger might affect others.

  • Productive. It can even aid your focus and help you to work towards a goal.

Unhealthy anger is...

  • Irrational and definitive.

  • It is more based on emotion than on fact.

  • Can make us feel impulsive and out of control of our actions.

  • Not conducive to conversation and does not make space to problem solve.

This form of anger it’s not productive and doesn’t address the anger itself. It alienates the other party and leaves no room for open communication and problem-solving.

Controlling how to react

As founders, we are in charge of leading our team. We influence them and should set a good example. However, founders are also human and are prone to be affected by what others may think.

Instead of living your life worried about what others may think or feel about what you are doing, live your life to the best of your ability, with the things that are in your heart and not someone else's heart.

God has something stronger in you than the things trying to bring you down!

Here's how you can get started:

  1. Know yourself inside and out.

  2. Become the observer of your thoughts - not the reactor to them.

  3. Realize that their opinions are a reflection of themselves.

Instead of living your life worried about what others may think or feel about what you are doing, live your life to the best of your ability, with the things that are in your heart and not someone else's heart.

Feeling our feelings

Founders and leaders have this image of being a concrete tower, strong and above everyone and everything. Sometimes they decide to un-feel emotions so that the feelings do not get the best of them or so they do not crumble.

Ignoring emotions and feelings have a more negative impact on us rather than beneficial. Founders most especially need to learn how to be in touch with their emotions in order to be mentally well. We need to allow ourselves to feel all our feelings. Ignoring feelings creates a “boomerang” effect where the emotions will just come back later, and sometimes even stronger than they were before.

This is why allowing ourselves to feel what we’re feeling helps us move forward instead of getting stuck. Here are concrete strategies to maintain our wellness as we work through our feelings.

  • Anger: Journaling is a cathartic way to face and process whatever’s been pushing your buttons.

  • Exhaustion: Uplifting activities, such as listening to soulful and upbeat music, increase our energy when we’re feeling mentally and emotionally drained.

  • Loneliness: Connecting with loved ones even though Zoom, phone calls, or text messaging are great ways to help when you are feeling lonely.

  • Stress and Anxiety: Declutter your desk and meditate for 5 minutes to clear your mind.

  • Frustration: Spend a few minutes taking care of another need you have: make a warm meal, wash your hair, get in a few hours of a shut-eye, and do a quick workout.

Learning to embrace and face our emotions will help us to even be better founders or leaders, as this helps us to understand those around us as well.

Dealing with intrusive thoughts

Have you ever had an uninvited thought creep into your head that was so irrational, anxiety-inducing, or disturbing? Unwanted intrusive thoughts are stuck thoughts that cause great distress. Another term for irrational thinking or intrusive thoughts in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is cognitive distortions.

Some of these cognitive distortions consist of repetitive doubts about relationships, decisions small and large, sexual orientation or identity, intrusions of thoughts about safety, religion, death, or worries about questions that cannot be answered with certainty. Some are just weird thoughts that make no apparent sense.