Founder’s Depression- How Ever Happy Entrepreneurs Avoid It

The “D” word is taboo in the startup world. It’s a condition that builds up slowly as a result of a series of habits entrepreneurs tend to develop, accumulate and sometimes “accept” it as norm. This may be the reason why

 many testimonials on depression by startup founders have one thing in common: they never thought they had it! Here’s good news: depression is a condition that can be prevented. See below what ever happy startup founders do/have to keep depression away:

1. They Have A Sense Of Belonging

The need of belonging to a group, a team or a community is placed third in Maslow’s hierarchi of human needs. This principle applies as well in the startup world. But don’t get it twisted. Starting out alone is not “bad”. On the contrary it is sometimes the best decision you can make, for instance there’s no reason to have ten specialists on board, knowing you still haven’t got any clients, sales and so on. However, the sense of belonging is essential for a startup founder as a source of insight, feedback and motivation. The sense of belonging can be provided by:

  • Family and friends
  • Co-workers
  • Mentors
  • Team members
  • Industry related communities and circles

2. They Take Short Breaks

Ever noticed how good it feels to close your eyes after a long read? Or facing up the roof after long hours of work in front of your computer? How about that inspiration you felt to get back to work after having that exciting conversation with staff members? How about a shower after work? The list goes on… Doing things repeatedly for long periods of time causes tension in our bodies. Making temporary short breaks aliviates stress and hence working hours become easy going. Short breaks have benefits such as:

  • Socializing: with team members, build relations, engagement and generate ideas
  • Avoiding restleness: restleness can become a habit and that might just kindle depression
  • Aeration: the effect caused by lack of air has been felt by all of us. Remember that lesson at school where you just couldn’t focus any longer? Closed windows.
  • Posture: a stretch now and then can prevent back conditions.
  • Staying in shape: by practicing sports and other activities

3. They Maintain Good Eating Habits

Startup founders are often overthinkers. Having the brain in constant work causes energy resources to be consumed very fast. Knowing this, its a good idea to have a well planned diet and implement it with discipline. Bad eating habits under stressfull working conditions is definetely not a good idea. Passionate people when immersed into their activities operate at a higher level of counciousness, which is good, but often makes them forget about themselfves. Here are some tips:

  • Use an alarm
  • Bring your food to work(if not working from home)
  • Find alternatives to coffee

4. They Sleep

In our increasingly fast-paced world, every entrepreneur wishes his/her day had much more hours. At least ten more! Running a startup is basically a continuos process of creating, testing and implementing ideas. And it requires a lot of time! For this reason, entrepreneurs are prone to make occasional skips…slowly increasng ho sleep routines until they start to live like bats. Skipping nights over work is at times the only way out and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when it starts to become a long term habbit it can cause serious health effects ranging from forgetfullness to cardiovascular diseases. Through the day the brain processes a lot of information just like a computer. Hence, it needs to shutdown regularly so it can “perform updates”, “consolidate data” and “recover from damage”. Sticking to an 8 hour sleep plan each day is the way to go and especially for entrepreneurs, since it will:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Keep the mind sharp
  • Help find new ideas (inside dreams)
  • Quit coffee
  • Stay energetic and always ready to go

5. They Manage Emotions

The startup world is often described as an emotional rollercoaster. Founders are strongly bound to their ideas like a parent to his child. For this reason, founders are susceptible to react emotionally on everything. Not the best idea! A startup founder will in most cases take the leader position. And when difficult times come, he is the one responsible of assuring things are under control. Just like flight attendants confort passengers when a flight experiences turbulence. Dealing with emotional roller coasters can be a tough one for startup founders. There are many approaches to deal with it and each person can choose what works best for him/her. Some leaders embrace being completely detached from any outcome. A reasonable approach is celebrating small wins. Here are some benefits:

  • It cools things down
  • Gives a sense of togetherness
  • Gives a sense of constant progress

6. They Embrace Leadership

Ever wondered how can introverts be leaders? We all heard it before “Leaders are made, not born”. The media brags about innovative and successfull leaders (in the eye of society) but hardly mentions the load of work that comes with it. If you’re looking forward to lead people, here are some skills you have to develop:

  • Having integrity: being truthfull in every step you take, accepting flaws
  • Being about the people: getting feedback from others, acknowleging team members, caring , motivating, balancing company goals and people needs
  • Being a figure of authority: being confident during setbacks, being perceived as someone who know’s what he’s doing even when breaking the rules, inspiring others to excel
  • Alway being ten steps ahead: having a vision, a higher purpose, being focused on the future, always bringing change and improvement

Do you think you are experiencing any mood disorders? You may try How Are You App to monitor your mood. The app will tell you if there is any need to visit a doctor. Check How Are You App is a product of one of our portfolio companies – Quantum Lab.

Photo credit: CC via jazbeck