17 July 2017
I am a creature of habit. As an entrepreneur I schedule every part of my week – even date nights and time off. Managing my time carefully ensures that I make the most of it but when holidays come along, it’s time for a change of pace.
As you may have noticed this week, my usual Sunday post comes on Monday. Whilst I like my routine, this weekend was for my family and friends, in the sunshine of Mallorca, switching off.
It’s so important to take that time.
Whilst I encourage everyone to make the most of every second, it’s undeniable that none of us switch off enough.
These days we’re constantly on the go, never really taking the time to stop and appreciate what’s around us.
There have been so many conversations about mental health lately. I was incredibly proud to see the recent Business Cloud event where a panel of key business leaders from the North West took to the stage to share their experiences with mental health. The panellists included Swiscot Group’s Vikas Shah, Dreamr’s Mylo Kaye and Tom Smith and former Lancashire County Cricket Club captain. Following the event, Business Cloud editor Chris Maguire asked me to write about my experiences for a column in upcoming issue of the magazine and it really got me thinking.
We’re finally beginning to break the stigma and it’s becoming ‘normal’ to seek the help of others when we’re feeling under pressure. Of course, there’s still a way to go. It’s still not in the British way to share how we’re feeling; we’re a nation of stiff upper lip, of keeping calm and carrying on, but is that healthy? No!
So many mental health struggles are linked very closely with stress. Mental health charity Mind describes how stress is linked with your health in two key ways:
- Stress can cause mental health problems,and make existing problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.
- Mental health problems can cause stress. You might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, heath care appointments or treatments, can become extra sources of stress.
When stress is so clearly linked to negatively affecting mental health, why are we still struggling to switch off and take time to slow down?
In such a connected world it is easy to forget to switch off, especially as entrepreneurs, something I have been guilty of on more than one occasion. We have smartphones with us at all times, by the bed when we sleep. When you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, where do you draw the line? When do you leave the office at the office?
It’s absolutely essential that we pause to recognise the signs of stress building.
I firmly believe that taking holidays is one of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur. Not only do holidays provide the opportunity to put your devices to one side and take some time away from the screen, the change of pace is good for your overall wellbeing.
Having no schedule for the day, or even the week, opens up a world of possibilities and allows your brain to think differently. Rather than checking off a list and being an entrepreneur and part of a process day in day out, you are free to be you, to be creative, to relax and to take everything in. I always have my best business ideas or make the best decisions on or straight after a holiday.
You never know what’s around the corner and the only way to be prepared for that is to be in your peak condition. It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of getting into the gym regularly, getting the heart pumping and endorphins flowing. If we’re so focussed on a healthy body, why are we not on a healthy mind? In my experience, the two go together hand in hand.
So now, I am switching off again, going to enjoy some time by the pool with my daughters and wife. I’ve just been joined by my creative team and I am certain they’ll have me back to the grindstone in no time. With that in mind, I’d better make the most of this free time while it lasts!