Entrepreneurship30 December 20208 min

#WisdomWednesday: 2020 takeaways to kick off a healthy new startup year

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This year has been a gigantic learning curve for everyone, and certainly for startups navigating the new normal. One of the most important things we learned is the importance of health and wellbeing. To kick the new year off right, we need to start by taking good care of ourselves and our teams. We devoted a lot of #WednesdayWisdom ink to this topic, so it’s worth looking back at some of the key advice on wellbeing to help you into a healthy and ambitious 2021:

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Your body is your temple: start with these basics

You have only one body, right? So don’t treat it like just a container for your brilliant brain. Your mind and body are actually intimately connected, so taking care of yourself physically also helps boost your mood, creativity and ingenuity. Here are some body basics that give you a mental lift too:

· Exercise: We all know we have to get our bodies moving to keep off the pounds, but did you know it improves your mood and your immune system too? Not only can regular exercise help ward off the flu and even COVID, working that booty also eases the shadow side of the pandemic by helping you get a grip on lockdown anxiety and depression. So walk it off!

· Nutrition: Another essential pillar of a healthy body is a balanced diet. And boy has it been tough to stay away from temptation lately. All that comfort eating can cause huge problems for your body though, throwing off your brain chemistry and leaving you feeling sluggish, moody and depressed. Luckily we have some great food startups on board to help you snack your way to wellness:Chalo Company, Mealhero & Djar to the rescue!

· Sleep: the third part of the wellness trifecta is sleep. Corona anxiety has been keeping lots of people up at night, since stress gets in the way of falling and staying asleep. This is a problem because we need quality sleep to get us through tough times: it gives our immune system a boost and helps our bodies recover so we can handle challenges better. So in addition to washing your hands, practice some good sleep hygiene. That means turning off those cursed screens at least an hour before bedding down. Then wind down by sipping some herbal tea, reading a book or getting in some breathing exercises with moonbird. For more tips on catching a quality snooze, check out Sleepability.

Want to know more startups and self-care? Check out this oldie but goodie #WisdomWednesday.

Now is the time for a wellbeing policy

Obviously there is more to wellbeing than just stay physically fit. Mental health has also suffered in the pandemic from social isolation, uncertainty and concern for others. Pile that on top of finding a way for your company to survive the new normal and all the normal demands of startup life and you have a stress-ipe for disaster.

The solution: a wellbeing policy to take good care of all your team members so your company can keep going strong long-term. Not only will it make your employees happier, it is essential for your company’s growth. Mental and physical illness create major costs for employers in terms of absenteeism, as well as “presenteeism,” where the lights are on but nobody’s home. Healthy employees are engaged employees, and an engaged and connected team is more productive and resilient in the face of change. Not to mention more creative and innovative!

One important element of mental health is feeling connected, and leaders who care about employee wellbeing makes team members feel like they are a part of something. They will reward you for it by sticking around, avoiding the costs associated with high turnover. In addition to enticing your employees to stay with you longer, you will also be more attractive to new talent.

So what are some important elements of a wellness policy? Here are some key points to consider:

· Mental health support: make sure your employees know you are there for them if they are suffering from anxiety, depression or burnout. Back them up with counselling programmes and tools like our lovely bunch of resources (scroll down a bit)

· Set a good example: Founders set the tone, so start by taking good care of yourself. You can get a good summary of how to boost your team’s wellbeing here.

· Weave wellbeing into your workflow: make links between your strategy, your learning and development processes as well as employee productivity with the help of startups like Umital

To learn more about investing in employee wellbeing, check out the tips in this throwback #WisdomWednesday blog

Life’s too short for toxic people

Sometimes running a healthy team isn’t just about finding ways to keep people on board, but also about knowing when it’s time to say goodbye. Although you can find tips and methods for finding employees that fit in well with your team, it isn’t an exact science. You will also learn by doing, which means that sometimes you’ll end up hiring the wrong person: the one who doesn’t share the company’s values, doesn’t carry their weight and causes frustration among others in the team.

Of course a good attitude counts for a lot, and with the right guidance someone who is a willing learner can quickly pick up any missing skills. But some diamonds just won’t shine no matter how much you polish them. That’s when you have to seriously consider cutting them loose. Same goes for problem customers: those who are very demanding, want you to change your vision or are disrespectful while not giving much in return. It might be hard to cut one of your first customers loose, but you’ll free up time and energy to invest in more rewarding customers who will really get you further.

Want to read more about how to handle common challenges for founders? Look back at this vintage #WisdomWednesday blog

Work smarter, not harder

Of course the startup game can be a tough one, and the path to success is full of setbacks. We’re talking rejection, disruptions (like that corona thing) and other things that didn’t go according to plan. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted, so you’ll have to develop some tough skin and be persistent about reaching your goals. That being said, sometimes your efforts can have diminishing returns.

Eventually you will lose steam and start working less efficiently, while denying yourself the rest that you need. Human beings have to recharge sometimes to keep going long-term. Taking a breather and maintaining some work-life balance can do wonders for your energy level and your creativity, which is ultimately good for your business. So take a step back once in a while and spend some time on another passion or hobby as well as family and friends. It helps you reduce stress as well as shifting your perspective and helping you tackle challenges from another angle.

Although entrepreneurship demands lots of energy and hard work, it’s not always the longer hours, the better. The trick is to manage your time well so that you can keep a good balance. For tricks on how to get more done without burning out, take a look back at this #WisdomWednesday blog.

We hope that you’re looking forward to everything to come, ready to make things happen and make your wildest ambitions come true. In the meantime, unplug for at least a day or two, say hi to your family, and charge your batteries for a bright new year.

Happy & healthy holidays and a smashing start to 2021 from your friends at Start it @KBC!