Jackie Smith, Founder of Coventry Creations, Shares Mental Health and Entrepreneurship Tips
(Guest View, Jackie Smith, June 23, 2022)
Ferndale, Michigan. We all know that business owners are the last thing they care about their mental health. As the brain and heart of any business, you get to the point where you give 110% mentally and emotionally. Walking, meditation, or any other form of therapy stays on the “I’ll do it when” list for too long.
Some of the pressure comes from comparing yourself to successful Fortune 500 stories. When you emulate their pace and “fake it till you make it” work ethic, you lose your own value. Business owners quickly learn to hide their vulnerabilities and treat their mental health as something that only weak people need. This behavior can push entrepreneurs beyond their means, but it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. Burnout happens at the top, and so does the top of the top.
I would like to recap my article from Retailing Insight on May 10, 2022. Leadership and Mental Health about the benefits of taking care of yourself so that you, too, can enter the business with a strong mind and a joyful heart. https://www.retailinginsight.com/current-issue/leadership-and-mental-health/
Unfortunately, my research has confirmed my worst fears that business owners, such as parents and guardians, put their well-being in last place. Let’s change together, change. Here are some things we can all do to put ourselves on the path to success.
Before every flight, the flight attendant says, “Put a mask over your mouth and nose before helping others.” Have you ever wondered why this is so? This is to ensure that you don’t become disoriented while helping others. When you take care of all parts of yourself, including your body, your mind, your emotions, and your spirit, you are sure to be fully present to help your business grow.
What is self-care and mental health?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care is “making time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical and mental health. Taking care of yourself can help you manage stress, reduce your risk of illness, and boost your energy. Even small acts of self-care in everyday life can make a big difference.” They go on to state that it looks different for everyone, from exercise to sleep, healthy eating, and staying connected with people. We know that in an insightful world, this can also mean setting healthy boundaries, taking time to meditate, clearing our energy regularly, and monitoring our response to worldly interactions.
Taking care of your mental health also means maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. When you always give to others and don’t take the time to replenish your mind and spirit with the things that bring you joy, exhaustion sets in quickly. Chronic colds or flu, depression, insomnia, changes in eating habits, body aches, and even changes in alcohol or drug use can be signs of burnout. It can sneak up on you and it will take you a long time to recover from it. Quitting your job is not an option because you own a joint!
Through working with my trainers and therapist, I have found several ways to continue to build a healthy relationship with myself. I put self-care at the top of my list and check my mental health regularly. Here are some gems of wisdom from the pros.
There is a big difference between facts and the story we create by filling in the gaps in what we don’t know. Facts are what actually happened. A story is what you have assumed in another person’s motives or thoughts. The story is never about you and always about the other person. For example, noticing that they loudly entered the room, this is a fact. To think they angrily barged into the room is history. Trampled implies another person’s motivation or thoughts. Ask questions before creating a story. Tell people how their actions affect you and that it creates a story in your head so they can share their facts with you.
There’s nothing wrong here
Something is wrong? Seriously? Sign up. Is something really wrong? Sometimes a lot of stress, a lot of change, even a big success can make you feel like something is wrong or someone is doing something wrong. Registration also requires you to take some time off to think about how you are feeling. Remember, feelings don’t think, they just tell you how you feel.
sit to suck
Sometimes you have to sit in the shit and figure it out and figure out how you got there. Take time to understand the lesson, and then… get up. When you avoid a lame, unpleasant truth, you are bound to repeat it, and it will be even worse next time. It may seem counterintuitive in relation to taking care of your mental health, but as they say, the truth will set you free.
When I make a bad decision and take a moment to sit in the shit, accept that choice and admit that I made a mistake. Only then can I look at the circumstances with an open mind, see what led to the decision, and learn from it. Circumstances don’t change, but my point of view does.
Find a way, hour by hour, to start creating a break for yourself. Get involved in something unrelated to your business and discover a new side of yourself. Take a course on something you don’t need to be an expert at. Make a terrible vase in a pottery class or a lopsided cake in a cooking class. For several years I attended martial arts classes and did not check the belt. I stayed white belt at the end of the line for as long as I could! Taking a break is a great way to have fun instead of doing just one thing.
Rewarding your employees for a job well done is a great tool, and rewarding yourself is just as important. As a boss, it’s also good for you to praise yourself. If you don’t reward yourself and celebrate your winning moments, you may become stingy with other people’s praise. Bring joy back into your career by celebrating this milestone.
Time to Call the Experts
Yes, it can be expensive, but try to stay within your budget. Watch you improve and then your business improves.
After all, you are the most important investment in your business. No one has your vision or your passion to see it manifest, so take care of it. The National Institute of Mental Health advises us to seek support if we experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks as they are a sign of burnout:
- Sleep difficulties
- Appetite changes that lead to unwanted weight changes
- Trying to get out of bed in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in things that you normally enjoy
- Inability to perform normal day to day functions and responsibilities.
I’ll leave you with a final quote from inspirational writer Alan Cohen who says: “Don’t wait until conditions are perfect to get started. The beginning makes the conditions ideal.” Take care of yourself as the precious resource that you are, as there is only one of you and you are critical to your business. After 30 years in business, I have found that there will always be new crises, emergency phone calls, frustrated customers, missing inventory, and the list goes on… but the bottom line is that there will never be a perfect time to leave. from your business to taking care of yourself until you make it a priority.
Jackie Smith is the creator of Coventry Creations and owner of the Candle Wick Shoppe in downtown Ferndale. Check out the recent Oakland County Times Tour of the Candle Factory and visit The Candle Wick Shoppe at https://www.candlewickshoppe.com/?utm_source=banner-ad&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=2022-oc115