There are occupational groups that face increased risk and higher susceptibility to mental difficulties. Such groups include entrepreneurs. The mechanism of imposing pressure on oneself and others, so useful in building an effective business, in the form of completed projects and tasks may at the time constitute the reason for mental suffering, which in the long term may lead to developing disorders and a clear somatization of stress – often in the form of diseases of the digestive, circulatory, or nervous systems. Objectification, processification of contacts with people, social meetings, recreation, sports, vacation, looking at an individual through that person’s effectiveness – rushing and under the pressure of time – is unconsciously transferred to oneself… The strength of efficiency in developing new skills turns out to be a kind of threat to mental well-being. Perfectly trained mechanisms, thanks to which success is achieved, turn out to be the greatest enemy of person-entrepreneur.
The process of psychological help works on multiple levels – at behavioural and training levels as well as at a deep level – becoming aware of the origin and own mental structure – leading to the current point of life and ultimately building a new narrative.
The cultural pattern does not treat men lightly. After all, a male entrepreneur has to be strong, efficient and quick to solve problems, and his value is measured by efficiency. Just like the parameters of a car engine – an entrepreneur defines himself – by his performance. In this group, in a rational world of fact, based on action and functioning, expressing any emotions seems to be a weakness. In-depth conversations and reflection on how I feel, good contact with myself, and time for resting is for the weak. For those who are left behind in the race on the free market. Meanwhile, the most desirable value that characterizes a modern manager and effectively helps to achieve success in an ever-changing business environment consists in high emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who studies EI (Emotional Intelligence; Emotional Intelligence Quotient) has defined it as the ability to deal with one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, which is reflected by the ability to solve problems and make difficult decisions.
Fortunately, social change, as well as taking care of our humanity and mental health is becoming more and more popular, and in a way… fashionable. A visit to a psychologist is more accepted, when perceived as a sign of being aware that everyone has problems and it is worth taking advantage of professional support. Reaching out for help does no longer constitute a burdensome label of shame and exclusion from society. Numerous social campaigns popularizing the fashion for a healthy lifestyle and mental comfort help to become familiar with the subject of mental health, in terms of which public figures are more and more willing to show authenticity, human weaknesses, and talk about their psychotherapeutic experiences on social media.
The trends can also be seen in the business of the largest corporations. Expanding the product portfolio of the giants of one of the largest markets, beer producers, with a rich selection of non-alcoholic options, or converting the offer of tobacco companies into products that heat-up tobacco, including a pro-health marketing narrative, shows that the largest players on the market have realized that health promotion in terms of products and among employees is the only way to go in the long-term. How to find what is really healthy – being bombarded with social media content – built on an a behavioural footprint algorithm – aimed at keeping us in front of the screen and consuming more of everything – not necessarily prioritizing the care for our health? It turns out that just like training hard work, training to relax is also necessary to keep the rudder of your life well balanced.
When a light turns on the dashboard – we rush to check the oil without exposing the engine to an additional 10 km.
Why do we care about cars more than about our own psyche?
Entrepreneurs usually come to psychological offices during a crisis, because they decide to drive for thousands of kilometres without changing the oil. When the engine already experiences heavily seizures – meaning that there is an alarming situation in terms of business or health – in the form of financial problems, a depressive episode, a panic attack, often feeling emptiness, burnout, and lack of joy from success – then comes the motivation to seek professional help.
Entrepreneurial ladies, who operate on the free market, are going through a difficult path. The fear of being „lazy,” judged, comparing themselves to others, and in the pursuit of being appreciated (which never happens), proving one’s worth at every step, and belittling oneself are insanely exhausting ways of motivation. Criticism from oneself, fear of criticism from others, and a continuous, endless cycle of improvement – because you can always go higher, be better, do more… Ambition, which is the driving force, becomes tinder for difficulties and mental suffering… Ruminations, intrusive thoughts, deepen emotional instability and obscure the beauty of colourful and beautiful feminine emotionality, which is a resource, and not a weakness of women….
The comments of loved ones who do not understand women – in the form of criticizing being strongly emotional about intense and difficult matters – constitute grist for the mill of the „something is wrong with me” critical mechanism of women.
What will definitely not help?
- Depriving oneself of feeling/emotion;
- Addiction to psychoactive substances
- Unhealthy diet, lack of exercise
- Pretending it’s all good
- Lack of time for oneself
- Prioritization of work – as the only and most important sphere of life
- Building own value on work and achievements/lack of achievements in it
We are at the point of almost two-years of a pandem reality. COVID-19 has shown how unpredictable reality can be and that flexibility and adaptability to change are more useful than the ability to plan for the long term. Training to adapt to change is a training against human nature and the tendency for thriftiness in cognitive processes, use of mental simplifications and managing energy to consume as little of it as possible. The current times, the rushing world in the era of globalization, and constant changes have once again posed a great challenge before human nature.
Remote work constitutes training for narrowing down physical and mental space as well as natural contacts and relationships through isolation. A seemingly good solution for people with social phobia who are afraid of contact with people. Temporary relief serves as a cover for the problem that deepens and ultimately increases human suffering.
How to make remote work healthy?
- It is important to determine a separate space at home, dedicated solely for focusing and work. Technical and physical isolation helps us mentally to „get out” of work. With a small amount of space at home this can simply be a desk fenced off with a screen, with which we visually and tightly separate the workplace.
The key to work hygiene consists in the regularity of breaks. The break rule is 10 min/1h.
It is worth to take advantage of the short break – for breathing exercises, playing with the dog, interactions with household members, exercises, yoga, going out to the balcony, looking into the distance.
It is important to take care of, for example, breaks between meetings, avoid and assertively disagree to meetings taking place one by one – and avoid „relaxing” on social media.
- Going out
It is worth motivating oneself each day to leave the house – even for 30 minutes. Nothing refreshes as much as fresh air, a friendly park, outdoor exercises, or playing with the dog. It is worth writing it down in the calendar and setting a reminder on the phone, which will be a signal to go out. The significance of going out is similar to an important meeting. It is worth to assertively take care of this space during the day.
Organize working time together with household members
In a shared space, it is worth establishing the division and interchangeability of duties: whether it is childcare; or the interchangeability of time be meet online.
An entire day at home constitutes a great motivator to plan relax outside of it.
An evening walk in the park, going to the cinema, restaurant, or training. It is also worth to plan relax/holiday in order to have the perspective of a point when we can slow down and recharge the batteries for a longer period of time.
It is also worth taking care of the aesthetics and atmosphere of our space. Decorative elements that create a friendly atmosphere will have a positive impact on our mood. Paintings, works of art, custom and personally significant photos with loved ones – will help to take our mind of the computer and focus our attention on pleasant emotions or invite us to take a break.
A beautiful image on the wall, noticeable during an online meeting, may constitute a great starting point for small talk and beginning a business conversation.