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Startup Stress

Starting a new business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be incredibly stressful.

There is growing evidence that suggests that mental health challenges are now prevalent among entrepreneurs and founders..

A 2019 survey of startup founders conducted by First Round Capital found that 72 percent of respondents reported experiencing mental health concerns, with 30 percent reporting depression and 27 percent reporting anxiety.

And, more recently in August 2021, Wamda and Microsoft for Startups published a research report on the impact of Covid-19 on the state of mental health and wellbeing of entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in partnership with Ally Salama and EMPWR House and H.A.D Consultants.

“Founders typically endure higher stress levels when compared to the general population, and are twice as likely to develop depression. Their stress levels have been further compounded since the outbreak of the pandemic, resulting in a rise in demand for mental health and wellbeing services in the region,” said the report.

“The impact of Covid-19 on the state of mental health and wellbeing of entrepreneurs report” features findings based on data collected from 101 startup founders from across the Mena region. More than a third of founders rate their mental health as ‘bad’. The vast majority (55 percent) of the respondents said that raising investment has caused them the most stress. The pandemic was the second most-cited reason for entrepreneurial stress with 33.7 percent of all founders facing struggles, a rate identical to those struggling with scaling their business.”

“Concern for mental health wellbeing is on the rise across the region, with 40 percent of founders stating they would like access to mental health support from the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

7 mental health hacks for startups

Here are some strategies that can help you manage stress as a start-up entrepreneur:

  1. Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial when you’re under stress. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity. Consider practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to help you manage your stress levels.
  2. Set realistic expectations: Starting a business can be a long and difficult journey. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your business. Be patient, and don’t expect overnight success.
  3. Focus on what you can control: There are many things you can’t control when you’re starting a business. Instead of worrying about these things, focus on what you can control. Identify the tasks and projects that are within your control and work on those.
  4. Build a support network: Starting a business can be isolating, so it’s important to build a support network. This can include friends, family members, mentors, and other entrepreneurs. Talking to others who understand what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful.
  5. Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to give your brain a rest. Take a walk, read a book, or do something else that helps you relax and recharge.
  6. Prioritise your tasks: As an entrepreneur, you likely have a never-ending to-do list. Prioritise your tasks and focus on the most important ones first. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  7. Seek professional help: If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. This can include seeing a therapist or counselor, or talking to your doctor about medication options.

Remember, managing stress is important for both mental and physical health. By taking care of themselves and using the strategies above, founders can help reduce stress and achieve success as a start-up entrepreneur.