Entrepreneurs face mental health challenges just like everyone else. And the stress of running a business can lead to burnout and feelings of isolation. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ll be sharing inspiring stories and wellness resources to shine a spotlight on the issue.
While wellness has achieved buzz-level status, fueled by an estimated $1.5 trillion global market, it’s by no means a new concept. Upon its formation in 1948, the World Health Organization defined “health” to include mental and social wellness—not merely the physical.
The wellness trend has brought more light to this facet of overall health. And that’s a good thing. Global rates of anxiety and depression surged during the pandemic. For entrepreneurs, a group that already reports higher instances of certain mental health issues, the past few years have taken a toll on wellness.
One study conducted during the pandemic found that 64% of business owners reported feeling tired or having low energy, and 39% said they felt depressed within the past week. Expanding our view of what it means to be well helps us keep tabs on the full spectrum of our health.
Here, we’ll dive into wellness resources specifically picked for entrepreneurs. Use this list to explore community health services, podcast recommendations, and self-directed wellness strategies.
What is wellness?
Wellness conjures up images of yogi Instagram influencers and tiny $80 bottles of skin oil, but this is merely the commodification of a more basic concept. Put simply, wellness is the state of being well, and includes the act of maintaining healthy habits that care for all facets of well-being, from physical to mental.
According to the National Institute of Health, wellness is commonly split into eight components, or “dimensions of wellness”:
- Intellectual wellness
- Emotional wellness
- Physical wellness
- Occupational wellness
- Financial wellness
- Spiritual wellness
- Social wellness
- Environmental wellness
25+ mental health and wellness resources for entrepreneurs
Busy entrepreneurs often face stress, wearing many hats as they launch and grow businesses, often on their own. Stress is the enemy to wellness, as it often impacts not only mental health but the physical as well. Business owners surveyed in one study reported that work-life balance and “more resources” were the top two things they needed to combat stress.
1. Community wellness resources
A strong tie to community is often cited as one of the best resources to prevent and manage mental health symptoms. These are incredibly important for entrepreneurs who may lack the built-in networks that often come with typical workplaces. Seek communities that contribute to multiple levels of wellness. For example:
- A run club or recreational sports league can help you take care of both your social and physical wellness.
- Mastermind groups or other industry meetups can help you bounce ideas off of pros in your field and will fill your intellectual wellness cup. Check out Shopify Community to meet and chat with other business owners.
- Churches or community centers often offer free or subsidized resources for mental health counseling and can be a great place to connect socially or spiritually with your local community and combat loneliness.
2. Articles about health and wellness
There are plenty of resources online to help you learn about ways to prioritize your well-being and mental health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we’ve published a number of articles to inspire and educate you on everything from sleeping well to managing burnout. Here are a few to get you started:
3. Apps that promote wellness
Sticking to your wellness goals can be challenging if you don’t have a lot of time or a community to keep you accountable. There are several apps—some free—that can help you develop wellness practices and transform them into healthy habits. Here are a few top-rated wellness apps to get you started:
- AllTrails is an app that helps you find and rate hiking trails in your area. User ratings and reviews help you pick the best hike for your level and needs. Fresh air and exercise are proven to be natural pick-me-ups to combat stress.
- Calm offers guided meditations to help manage challenges like stress and poor sleep quality.
- WaterMinder sends you timely reminders to stay hydrated.
- Pocket Yoga offers yoga practice in a variety of formats and lengths, so entrepreneurs can squeeze some self care into busy days.
- Simple Habit gives you access to coaching, meditation, and therapy sessions, right from your phone.
- Exhale is a wellness app designed specifically for Black women, Indigenous women, and women for color.
4. Mental health and wellness podcasts
Podcasts and audiobooks can teach you to manage your well-being, get in touch with your mental health, or incorporate wellness practices in your life. For busy entrepreneurs, auditory learning can pair with mundane tasks like driving or housework to maximize your time. Among some of the top wellness and mental health podcasts in 2022 are:
- The Happiness Lab, which features episodes on topics like burnout, guilt, and grief
- The Mental Illness Happy Hour, a comedic interview-based podcast on mental health
- Get Sleepy, featuring episodes that tell meditative stories to help with sleep
- Therapy For Black Girls, a weekly podcast about mental health and personal development
- Ten Percent Happier, a podcast from the author of the book by the same name, invites guests to talk about focus, sleep, relationships, and more
5. Wellness tools and products
Enterprising founders have jumped on the trend of wellness to offer miracle cures for any ailment. Do your research to ensure that what you’re using and buying has reputable data backing it or extensive user reviews to validate the claims. Of the wellness products on the market, here are a few tried and true goods (all powered by Shopify) to try:
- Aromatherapy can have calming effects, as Monisha Edwards found when she launched Scent & Fire. Try her Cozy Duvet candle to mimic the feeling of being wrapped up in a fresh bed. Or check out natural skin and body products by Venus Williams’ brand, Asutra (we love the lavender Ultimate Relaxation bath salts).
- HidrateSpark is a smart water bottle that pairs with an app to remind you to get your eight glasses a day.
- Get better sleep with products like anti-snore device Smart Nora, Eight Sleep temperature-controlled smart mattresses, or weighted blankets by Gravity Blanket.
- BestSelf sells journals, conversation cards, and activity decks to help you with habit building, gratitude, focus, and building healthy relationships.
- Amidira is a brand of gift boxes designed for those in treatment and recovery for cancer and other illnesses.
6. Public health care resources
The financial cost of seeking professional mental health and wellness services can be a barrier for many. If you don’t have the benefit of accessing an employee assistance program—as many entrepreneurs will not—the onus is on you to foot the bill for your health care. In many regions, however, there are public programs or social assistance opportunities for those who qualify. Search for resources in your area like these examples:
- NAMI in the US offers a local support group network and helpline.
- Canadian organization MindBeacon partnered with the Ontario government to offer free digital therapy sessions for up to 12 weeks.
- If your business has staff, UK-based Mind offers free downloadable wellness action plans to employers.
- Specific government-backed initiatives may apply to you as well. Governments in Canada and the US, for example, offer wellness programs for both Indigenous communities and military veterans.
Put wellness first—your business will thank you
Your ability to show up for your business, your customers, and your employees relies on your well-being. Carve out time to pay attention to the needs of your body and mind so you’ll have more energy, focus, and support to strive toward your goals.
What are the types of wellness?
Wellness is the state of being well and includes the act of maintaining healthy habits that care for all facets of well-being, from physical to mental. Wellness is commonly split into eight components or “wellness dimensions,” which are: intellectual, emotional, physical, occupational, financial, spiritual, social, and environmental.
What is the importance of wellness?
Concentrating on one aspect of wellness but ignoring the others can have serious consequences. For example, physical wellness is important, but poor emotional wellness can cause issues like stress or burnout, which can actually manifest as physical ailments. An approach to wellness should be holistic, as all dimensions of wellness are linked. Being “well” sets you up to have the energy, emotional strength, and support systems in place to help you manage the stress of entrepreneur life.
What are some wellness resources?
Wellness resources come in many forms, from professional services like therapy to self-directed meditation apps. As wellness has become a popular focus in recent years, new apps, podcasts, products, services, and programs are popping up regularly to address this important topic. Check with your local community organizations to understand the wellness resources that may be at your disposal.
What are some examples of emotional wellness?
Emotional wellness considers your mental health and well-being. Being emotionally well can start with getting in tune with your feelings. Journaling, seeking a supportive community or friend, or getting professional help from a therapist can all be ways to explore your emotional health. These practices can uncover any mental health issues so you can take the right measures to improve your emotional well-being, whether that’s through regular therapy, medication, or acts of self care.
Feature image by Loren Blackman