According to the leading mental health charity Mind, an estimated one in four adults in the UK will experience a mental health challenge every single year.
Shockingly, the entrepreneurial community is particularly susceptible, with some 77% of business founders admitting they feel that running a business affects their mental health, according to research by weare3sixty.org.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are shining a light on the importance of tackling the stress and anxieties that are all too prevalent in the small business community, aiming to kickstart important conversations around mental health.
Two entrepreneurs who are passionate about supporting the mental health movement are founders of top business podcast Secret Leaders, Dan Murray-Serter and Rich Martell. The podcast launched in 2017 and has seen some of the world’s biggest business minds interviewed, including Jo Malone CBE, Justine Roberts founder of Mumsnet, Rankin and Michael Acton Smith, founder of Calm.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Dan and Rich have collated the top pieces of advice on mental wellbeing from their guests over the past three series.
Mental health wellbeing top tips
- Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic – Take your time
“Life moves so fast now – it’s 24/7 and everyone’s in a rush. And I’m certainly working with some women who are stressed because of that, and I often say ‘What’s the rush?’ ‘How old are you, how long do you want to do this?’ It’s not about getting somewhere. It’s never about the end or the goal. It’s the journey, because all you have is today. And it sounds a little corny to say that but the journey is always up and down, and it’s always about learning and changing and growing. What it’s not about is ‘when I get here it will be better’ or ‘then I’ll feel good’ because the goal posts move and you move on. It’s about taking the time to breathe and have fun along the way.”
- Justine Roberts CBE, founder of Mumsnet – Don’t sweat the small stuff
“I mean there’s a classic Mumsnet phrase, which is ‘it’s only a phase; this too shall pass.’ Don’t get too het up because there’ll just be another problem around the corner – and that one will also disappear.”
- Michael Acton-Smith, founder of Calm – Take time off
“Running a business was very, very challenging and very, very difficult for several years; with lots of sleepless nights and stress and headaches – not just for me, but for the whole company. So, I took a little bit of time off. I went away and did something I’d never done before, which was taking a solo holiday. I highly recommend that for entrepreneurs.”
- Graham Hobson, co-founder of Photobox – Don’t forget physical health
“I remember being stressed all the time, even though I didn’t recognise it then, and in the end, I just started having palpitations and ended up in hospital. I thought: “This is crazy, I’ve got to do something about this stress,” and I started to take more effort in exercising, swimming, drinking less coffee and just recognising the physical needs as well as the mental needs.”
- Mills, co-founder of UsTwo – Learn to say no sometimes
“I used to say to people that ‘whatever you need, whenever you need me, 24/7, I’ll be there’, and that was a lie really because I can’t always be there for people 24/7. So now, I’m teaching myself to say ‘no thanks, I’ll have to get back to you when I’ve got time’ because I was living my life for others and that’s not a good place to be in.
I have a routine now; I get up at five thirty every morning and between 5:30 am and 8:30 am, I’m just stretching and spending time with myself because I realised that the stress I was having was also from not giving myself the time to achieve the things I want to achieve.”
- Gail Gallie, founder of Project Everyone – Make the time to do what really matters to you
“While you’re pursuing these great businesses and dreams, make sure it’s not coming at the cost of something that you might later regret and just make sure you’re always giving a little bit more of a thought than you think you are about the rest of the world and the people around you. Do something you care about – whatever that is – change a business model, or donate. We all need to do a little bit more for the world.”
Series three of Secret Leaders is now live. For more information, visit www.secretleaders.com.