January 29, 2021

Guest Contribution: How Entrepreneurs Deal with Mental Health

Guest Contribution: How Entrepreneurs Deal with Mental Health

This special blog edition is a guest contribution by the Happy Student Society of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Happy Student Society is an organization focused on mental health in order to increase students' wellbeing on campus.

Read our exclusive interview of the sisters Micky and Linky, founders of the fast-growing startup Minite! They reveal how they have dealt with their mental health over the last years. Follow their story! Some well-being tips are added at the end ;)

Did you take care of your mental health/well-being during your studies? If yes, how?

Not as much as we should have. Student life can be hectic, there are so many things that you want to do next to your studies, such as committees and part-time jobs, but we also wanted to experience the student life and enjoy it to the fullest! Time is always limited so there were times where we would go through a day with no or little sleep.

What did you do right after you graduated?

Micky always knew she wanted to work in tech. She joined IBM which allowed her to get to know the corporate world and also live abroad in Dublin. I (Linky) took a gap year and then joined a start-up.

How did your mental health habits change at that time? Why?

At first, it was stressful because, in your first job, you have to adapt to a completely new and different environment. You also want to do your best and prove yourself so in the beginning, it was long hours, little time for yourself and stress of adapting to a new world.

How did you manage to leave the corporate for the very stressful and uncertain startup world?

The startup life comes with long working days, whereas the corporate world is quite structured, processes are in place, managers and colleagues to fall back on, a clear career path and stable income. When building a startup, you have to figure out a lot on your own and nothing is laid out for you. Even the company culture starts with yourself. However, the upside is that we also get to create the impact that we want to see in the world. We created Minite because we're committed to helping every student navigate their own career path. We know what it is like to feel lost in a world of immense opportunities. The impact of Minite is so big that it obliterates any risks associated with being an entrepreneur.

"We created Minite because we're committed to helping every student navigate their own career path."

What is your mental health toolkit you use when you are feeling low or stressed?

The first step is to acknowledge that you're feeling low. Letting other people know, so they can support you by either not disturbing you at that time or help you cheer up, is also very important. It's okay to have a bad day, you just have to be careful that you don't let it drag on to become a bad week. Plus, gummy candy sometimes helps too ;) We also love taking walks or going for a run to get some fresh air.

What are tips you want to share with students?

Make sure you have proper meals and take the time to have a proper meal, even if it is only for 10 minutes. Choose a lunch place that's not at your desk so that you can really enjoy your food and get a break from your computer.

As Micky and Linky’s experience shows, it is really easy to forget about our mental health at every step of our lives. The results of it can sometimes be quite heavy on our well-being and can range from feeling low and stressed, to feeling completely depressed. In order to avoid such consequences, you can act like Micky and Linky: release your stress by taking real breaks, going outside and allowing yourself some comfort food! However, as you may already know, everyone is different and so, everyone has different ways of coping with an overload of feelings. As Linky rightly said so: it’s okay to have a bad day, but don’t let it drag on to become a bad week! Here are some ideas from the Happy Student Society that might help you focusing on your mental health a bit more every day:

"It’s okay to have a bad day, but don’t let it drag on to become a bad week!"

  • Sleep is way more important than we think, try to get around 8 hours of sleep as often as possible
  • It is important to have a routine such that you do not skip meals and go to bed more or less at the same time. That helps to improve your wellbeing!
  • Find yourself a happy space, it could be your bed, a couch or someone else’s place. As long as the only place's purpose is to relax, you are all good!
  • Create gathering opportunities, do not isolate yourself and share your feelings. Being close to people can most of the time help you a lot.
  • If you want to spend more time on your mental health, try out mindfulness exercises. Meditation is an example of one but many more exist, look it up!
  • Finally, being grateful and enjoying the small things in life is the best way to turn a mmmh-day into a good one! Look around you, beauty is everywhere, you just need to look for it!

Thank you again, Micky and Linky for having answered our questions. I hope our well-being tips will help you through your students or early professional career’s life. Can’t wait to see how well you will take care of your mental health :)

The Happy Student Society

Instagram: @happystudentsociety

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