A recent survey of 500 startup founders found that 70% of all startup owners say that their current gig is far more stressful than working for someone else. Moreover, around 53% said they never “switched off,” 41% claimed they felt stressed every day. A smaller, but still notable percentage said that being a startup founder affected their social and family relationships, their physical and mental health, their sex life and their alcohol consumption. So what is so inherently stressful about this professional choice and what can you do to enjoy better health and wellbeing if you have just launched your own company?
Giving It Your All
The key to startup founder stress is giving it one’s all, 24/7. Long hours, meetings, pitching to investors, worries about funding, and having a small staff (around 36% of founders are sole employees) all contribute to daily tension. The survey found, for instance, that only 9% of people worked less than 35 hours per week. Additional sources of concerns included recruiting talented, experienced staff, and management skills.
The Effect of Stress on Physical and Mental Health
Startup founders should take stress seriously. Chronic stress is linked to serious diseases and conditions (both physical and mental)—including heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, migraines, anxiety, and depression. All these factors are dangerous not only for one’s health but also for business success since they can lead to illness and absence and can interfere with one’s goals. In order to keep disease at bay, it is vital to tackle stress with a proactive attitude, embracing activities that minimize its effect on one’s wellbeing.
Natural Stress Busters
There are few secrets when it comes to effective ways to keep work stress to a minimum. Numerous studies have shown that holistic activities such as mindfulness meditation and yoga have a powerful ability to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Exercise, especially in green areas, is also an effective way to enjoy a state of greater calm. If you have just 10 minutes for a break, go for a walk in a park or forest. Studies have shown that this short amount of time spent in the Great Outdoors can help stress levels drop significantly. You should also tap into the power of technology. Use apps like Breathe, Calm, and Headspace for quick, effective meditation or breathing exercises. Finally, ensure your organization and time management skills are on point and consider outsourcing if your workload is stopping you from achieving your main goals.
The Upside of Being a Startup Founder
The survey showed that being a startup founder is not all negative. In fact, around 76% of those surveyed said that despite their tough schedules, they would do it all over again if they were given the choice. Moreover, a whopping 95% said that their current posts were far more rewarding than working for someone else. Perhaps the old adage is true—nothing great was ever accomplished without making sacrifices.