8 mental health challenges experienced by entrepreneurs

Emotional challenges business professionals must deal with in their day-to-day life

By Mohita Srivastava

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 5:26 PM

Today’s world is seen as an era replete with competition, insecurities, and challenging deadlines. These factors have been further exacerbated by the pandemic we all have faced recently in the past years. The post Covid-19 era necessitated a need to be more independent or to opt for entrepreneurial work due to huge job losses, financial crisis, economic downfall. Following this, people have developed an inclination towards entrepreneurship, start-ups, small businesses etc. to avoid issues related to job security /work stability and improve financial security for themselves & their families. Initially, setting up a business entails significant eustress and performance anxiety in a positive manner but as one moves ahead the desire to attain more success and expand may become overwhelming. This triggers different types of mental health challenges among entrepreneurs / business professionals affecting their physical & mental health, and quality of life. Let’s understand in more detail the mental health issues that business professionals must deal with in their day-to-day life:

Cognitive impairment: Impaired working memory, short term memory, selective & divided attention, poor planning strategies, decreased mental flexibility are the most common cognitive issues observed among the business professionals impacting their executive functions as well as operating and financial performance of their business.

Brain fog: Common in nature & usually seen affecting clarity of thoughts, decision making, planning, memory, and other executive functions thereby affecting their strategic planning & decision-making abilities.

Anxiety: Little bit of performance anxiety is a positive to move and grow in life, but it is often seen that in due course of time it gets converted into Generalized Anxiety Disorder leading to fear and worry. The anxiety is usually about the financial aspects of business and the action of competitors in the market directing one’s chronic anxiety issues towards psychotropic drugs & substance abuse further deteriorating cognitive functions.

Depression: Frequent bouts of crying, occasional suicidal thoughts, aloofness, lack of drive & motivation, excessive sleep are commonly exhibited depressive symptoms mostly due to the unrealistic comparison, jealousy, financial losses, and win-won challenge game among business competitors.

Sleep disorders: Overwhelming work & related travel, erratic quotidian business schedule leads not only to insomnia or sleeplessness but also impacts one’s behaviour and cognition in a very negative manner.

Emotional perturbation: Fear, anger, jealousy, hopelessness are the most common negative emotions that pop up at times if the expecting trend in business takes a wrong turn. This would also sometimes keep emotional intelligence at bay which would have otherwise helped one to sail through the tough times.

Behavioural challenges: Irritability, anger, frustration, fidgeting, over glib and irrational thoughts are commonly seen especially during the unexpected closure or mayhem, that at times might break the existing business partnerships.

Mental and physical burnout: Feelings of emptiness, mental exhaustion, lack of motivation with NO hope of positive change AND intense fatigue, chronic pain, lower immunity, and headache/migraine are common. These signs of mental & physical burnout are attributed to overthinking, excessive workload, while implementing expansion/collaborative strategies.

It is inevitable to encounter challenges at job or business. Focusing only on one part of life (business/job/work) & ignoring other parts such as family, physical health, mental health, social role & responsibilities is not prudent. It is therefore advisable to assess your priorities, practice mindfulness, train your brain by improving cognitive skills & executive functions, go creative, get enough sleep and proper diet & above all seek professional help if gets challenging and overriding.

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