Is Mental Wellness the True Key to Success? The Answer is Surprising
If you ask ten different people to define ‘success’, you’ll likely get ten different answers. Traditionally, most people have identified success with some sort of financial abundance, or obtaining a position of prestige or power.
But, in recent years, those definitions have slowly begun to shift. The way people work has shifted, the way people spend their free time has shifted, and the way people prioritize their mental well being has shifted. Along with those changes, the day of reckoning has finally come for the definition of ‘success’. Many people have shifted their focus away from material pursuits, and have begun prioritizing community, purpose, and wellbeing.
So, where does mental wellness fit into this equation exactly? And what do mental health and success have in common? A whole lot, in fact.
In recent years there has been a huge shift towards the de-stigmatization of mental health issues, and more and more entrepreneurs have been opening up about their mental health struggles. Not only are more people talking about mental health, but we’re slowly learning through research (and practice) that prioritizing mental health can have very real, and positive impacts on business as well.
A number of studies have suggested a correlation between mental wellness and academic success, as well as mental wellness and business success. Prioritizing mental health can actually lead to increases in productivity, increased capacity to focus, more creativity, increased empathy for others, and overall greater feelings of fulfillment, among so many other benefits. I think it’s safe to say that most people inherently want these things, but, where should business owners start?
For starters, learn to set boundaries and say no. Creating strong boundaries for yourself around work hours, work life balance, and saying no to projects or tasks you don’t want to do is imperative to maintaining emotional and mental wellbeing. You don’t have to say yes to every project or opportunity that comes your way. And learning to say no to things that don’t really align with your goals and values can actually become a superpower. Most importantly, without strong boundaries, you could be headed for burnout and resentment.
Developing a solid self care routine is also a critical component for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a business owner or entrepreneur. What is self care exactly? It depends on the person, but making time for exercise, down time, social connection, and maintaining healthy eating and sleeping habits are often part of a self care routine. Anything from yoga to bubble baths, to napping and making time for personal therapy can all be considered acts of self care. It might sound counterintuitive, but prioritizing down time and self care, can actually make you more productive in the long run.
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. So many business owners have subscribed to the notion that overworking is glamorous and fun, but there’s nothing fun about burnout. And if you’re not having fun, what’s the point of working so hard anyway? If you’re struggling to have fun, ask yourself these questions.’ What are your interests outside of business? What hobbies or activities get you excited?’ By making time for the things you enjoy, you’ll be more refreshed and ready to handle business when it’s time to get back to work.
Michael Coughlin, CEO of Blue Ocean Life, weighs in with these suggestions, “Business owners and entrepreneurs should learn about and adopt healthy, holistic practices. They should also learn which behaviors, business decisions, and influences are toxic in nature and avoid them. Most importantly, entrepreneurs need to recognize the signs of burnout to avoid a potentially serious and even dangerous mental health crisis.” Blue Ocean Life is a mission driven apparel company that also operates a wellness and mental health blog.
Next time you’re tempted to give in to the outdated ‘work-hustle’ culture, take a time out and consider whether or not it’s truly in your best interests. Not only does mental health impact physical health, but not prioritizing your mental wellness may actually get you further away from your business goals as well.
When you replace the rat race of ‘more, more, more’ with something purpose-driven and meaningful, you are likely to find renewed creativity and inspiration. By making time for yourself, paying attention to your mental wellbeing, and being tuned in to a greater purpose, you’re likely to work your way through road blocks easier and end up with a more rewarding personal and professional life.