Contributed to EO by Shawn Johal, an EO member and former chapter president in Montreal, and Julia Pimsleur, a scaling coach, mindset expert, and best-selling author. Johal and Pimsleur also contributed 3 Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Health and Happiness Right Now.
Many entrepreneurs are now experiencing a second wave of Covid-fueled anxiety and depression as we realize that we’re no longer in survival mode. After being in fight or flight mode for 18 months or more, we now have to make it all work again―often with a smaller financial cushion due to hemorrhaging cash during the pandemic, a new sense of fear that this could happen again, and many employees not wanting to return to the office or dealing with pandemic fallout themselves.
If you don’t take care of your mindset, your body will send you a stern memo in the form of headaches, backaches, an upset stomach or worse. One of Shawn’s clients is Reza (not his real name), the CEO of a fast-growing distribution company in a wildly competitive space. He worked crazy long hours for over eight years, often missing important family events and skimping on sleep and healthy eating. He didn’t try to have any type of work-life balance, as he felt that he needed to “lead by example” and outwork his team each day.
When the pandemic hit, Reza’s sales came to a screeching halt. He began to seriously panic when he realized he had a team of 40 to support. This was before any government support was offered. Unwilling to show any sign of weakness or share his feelings with his team or even his wife, he buried his darkest thoughts. He became short-tempered and super impatient with his team and at home, and started saying he wished he could just “walk away.” He was exhibiting classic signs of depression but did not want to seek help or dial back his long hours.
Around that time, Reza began to feel a constant pain behind one of his ears. He thought it might be a bad headache or a migraine but after a week it was getting worse. When doctors ran a brain scan, they found an acorn-sized tumor behind his left ear. Thankfully it wasn’t cancerous, but it needed to be dealt with immediately. The doctor said the tumor was due to stress and anxiety, explaining he needed to immediately change his lifestyle in order to heal.