5 Ways to Deal With 'Entrepreneur Anxiety'

Start with 'hakuna matata' and move on to pure fun.

learn more about Jess Ekstrom

By Jess Ekstrom

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Anxiety for entrepreneurs is like finding a Starbucks in New York City: It's there on every corner. When your company is 100 percent your responsibility, and the success or failure of it is in your hands, you're always going to feel like you could be doing more or better. You always need to feel connected or in arm's reach for any situation.

Related: How to Prevent Anxiety From Ruining Your Business

The problem is, all of these feelings and responsibility create anxiety. I'm not going to tell you to get rid of it, because, to me, anxiety shows that you care. But I want to share some ways I use to cope, so anxiety isn't some constant cloud trailing behind me at all times.

1. Create an awesome folder.

I have a folder on my desktop titled "The Awesome Folder." Inside it's filled with dozens of files that make me feel good. My company donates headbands to girls who have lost their hair to chemotherapy. So, in my Awesome Folder, I have tons of pictures we've received of girls wearing these headbands during treatment. I also have quotes that I've stumbled upon that have resonated with me. I have emails from students who say they were inspired by my speeches. Every file in that folder, in fact, is a piece of the "good" that I've done and reminds me why I started my organization in the first place.

2. Join a group of entrepreneurs.

It's important to share your thoughts and obstacles with people who "get it." Sure, you can talk to your friends and family about a lot of things, but if they don't understand what it means to talk to investors or to hire new staff, you'll be challenged in your efforts to get the feedback and support you're looking for. So, Google your area for entrepreneur co-working spaces or meetups you can join. If none suit you, or your schedule doesn't allow it, try joining an online community with forums you can utilize.

Related: 8 Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress

3. Meditate.

I know this sounds a little hakuna matata, but it can really help get your mind balanced, and focused on the important things. I downloaded an app called Insight Timer and I play it every morning on my iPhone. You can pick a timed meditation (even as quick as a couple of minutes in length), and an instructor will guide you through it. As entrepreneurs, we find it easy to jump out of bed and start working immediately. But an app like this -- or some other means of meditation -- can really help to clear your mind and sort your thoughts before you dive in.

4. Do something totally unrelated to your business. . . something that's fun.

When things get hard and anxiety starts to rise, we tend to want to work harder and longer. But sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a step back and do something totally unrelated and then come back. For me, I like to do Crossfit, work on an improv comedy skit or and play in an adult kickball league. Instead of drilling harder, take a step back and do something that's fun and enjoyable so you can come back later with a fresh perspective.

5. Don't check email after 7 pm.

Always being connected can be very tiring. And when you're tired, you don't perform well and often make silly mistakes. I used to check my email before I went to bed, fooling myself with the mentality that, "Whatever it is, I'll deal with it tomorrow." Yet if there was an email asking me to perform even some small little task, I'd lie awake thinking about it and about every other task I needed to do. Not anymore: I made a rule to not check email after 7 pm, in order to let my mind slow down. If there's something important I'm waiting for, I'll set an email alert so I only get a notification for that one email.

And that way, I'll cut my entrepreneur's anxiety down to a workable size.

Related: 4 Ways to Deal With Pressure

Jess Ekstrom

CEO and Founder of HeadbandsOfHope.com, Speaker and Author.

Jessica Ekstrom founded Headbands of Hope when she was a senior in college in 2012. She created the company to bring joy back to kids who have lost their hair and help fund childhood cancer research. Headbands of Hope has given tens of thousands of dollars to childhood cancer research and has donated headbands to every children's hospital in the United States.

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