Guest blog by mental health coach Marie Abanga (Cameroon): Mental health is mental wealth, also for entrepreneurs

Physically health is not possible without mental health. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs, startup owners, and busy professionals – due to the challenges and pressures they face – are prone to stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and other mental challenges. The stigma attached to anything mental unfortunately deters many if not most patients from getting help in time. Not dealing with mental health issues properly, however, can cause illnesses difficult to beat. Cameroonian coach and mental health advocate Marie Abanga, co-founder and CEO at Inspiring Positive Actions Now, urges Afrinection followers to listen to their minds before bigger problems occur. Not doing so may cost you your company, job, livelihood, and professional dreams.

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Similar to physical health problems, mental health issues won’t go away when left unattended. In fact, they can become worse. In this article, I’d like to share 5 tips on how you can take care of your mental health to stay productive, happy and prosperous.

1) Work in a team, not on your own

Humans tend to want to do everything on their own, particularly entrepreneurs. There is a proverb that states “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Secondly, the word ‘team’ stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. If we work in teams and allow each team member to do what they are good at, I bet you that stress won’t become excessive, keeping depression and burnout at bay. Both are long-term conditions which can immobilise you for months if not years. 

2) Take a break

We should take breaks. Human beings are not robots. Working 24/7 for months to get your business off the ground or launch a new product on time can eventually lead to a burn-out. This is a serious condition which can cost you months of your life in terms of recovery. That is why the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs take golf breaks and vacations, even in busy times.

3) Ask for help

Don’t be ashamed to seek help. I have had mental health challenges myself and I lost a sibling who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggled with epilepsy for over 15 gruelling years. Seeking help to deal with stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, and other matters of the mind is no sign of weakness: it is a sign of strength! Some things are too big to tackle on your own.

4) Be compassionate

We should show empathy to oneself and others. Going back to work after recovering from a depression, which often leaves people bedridden, is difficult because of the stigma. We as colleagues and bosses need to remember that mental illnesses can hit anyone, just like physical illnesses. There is no shame in that. As employers, managers, team-leaders and co-workers we have to show the empathy we would to someone suffering from cancer and any other physical illness.

5) Nurture your team

If you are managing a team, be empathetic, compassionate, and kind - and spend time building your team outside the office. Champion causes close to your heart. Corporate Social Responsibility and team building activities will take your mind away from “pressing business issues” whilst re-energizing productivity and fostering closer connections between employees

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About the author: Marie Abanga from Cameroon is a lawyer, coach, consultant and a passionate mental health advocate. She is the country director of the GBM Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Wellbeing and has written 4 memoirs, all dealing with mental health as themes or sub themes. For more about Marie, please visit her website or Author’s page on the Amazon. For our YouTube interview with her, click here

 

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