Unlike their older entrepreneurial peers, young entrepreneurs have a lot more on their plate that needs constant attention. School. Friends. Activism. Homework. Your business. Your family. On top of all that, college-bound young entrepreneurs like you likely keep up with the news, which isn’t always positive. Social media can get overwhelming. And we’re all still dealing with pandemic fallout.
Some of these things you can’t take a break from, like school (which has built-in breaks, even if they never feel like enough). Other things, though, will survive you turning down the volume for a while.
What do you need a break from? Why do you need a break? And how do you get that break without things falling apart around you?
First, breathe. Stop for a second, take a deep breath, and pause. All entrepreneurs are entitled to step back for a little while. In fact, it might be the best thing you can do for yourself and your entrepreneurial career.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO TAKE A BREAK
You know yourself better than anyone else. But if you’re feeling anxious, stressed out, or overwhelmed, you may not realize what’s causing these feelings. Feelings like:
- You dread checking the news
- You avoid things you normally love
- Or, conversely, you have a hard time doing things other than what you love (sort of lost in the escape)
- You have chronic stress dreams
- You wake up exhausted
- You get uncomfortable physical symptoms from certain activities, such as tightness in your chest, stomach aches, or headaches
Things that have become habits or routines might feel automatic to you. The idea of letting them go, even for a short while, may seem like an outrageous idea. If you feel yourself shutting down, tuning out, or otherwise dreading parts of your day, then it’s time to give yourself permission to take a break. Young entrepreneurs are no good to anyone if they are too burnt out to focus.
THINGS YOU CAN SET ASIDE FOR A LITTLE WHILE
As we said above, some things aren’t negotiable. For example, school. A mental health day now and again might be fine, but chronic absences can affect your grades. If you live with your family, you probably can’t take much of a break from them, either.
However, you can take breaks from:
- The news
- Social media
→ You may not even realize how much of the news you consume daily. It can be everywhere, even if you never make it a point to check. People around you talk about what’s going on and you probably read about it in other people’s posts.
Though it can be hard to shut out the news, you can do a few small things to avoid getting completely sucked in. If you subscribe to a daily news podcast, skip it. If you have news sites you like, don’t click on them for a while. Let the people around you know you are taking a “news break,” and ask them to respect that. If they talk about news around you, change the subject. Remember that important issues and events will still be there when you’re ready to emerge from your cocoon, and if there’s a true emergency, someone will let you know.
→ Social media might be tougher to shut away for a while. Explain to your friends that you’ll be taking some time off so they don’t feel ghosted. Move your social media apps to a place on your phone where they aren’t easily accessed. Try to avoid checking in “just to see.” Like the news, everything on social media will still be there when you get back and if there’s a true emergency, someone will find a way to get your attention.
→ Same thing with activism. Here at the Kantner Foundation, we LOVE seeing young entrepreneurs tackle the world’s problems in new and creative ways. But we also understand that no one can change the world while running on empty. Not even you! Without giving up, try to trust that the movement will continue and welcome you back when you’re filled up again.
→ Taking a break from friends may seem counterintuitive. But if you find yourself lacking the usual enthusiasm for hanging out or socializing, it might be time for a break. Friends can be a tremendous source of support and understanding. If you still feel good around your friends, if you feel filled up rather than drained by them, then you don’t need a break! However, if there’s drama, or if they start to feel like “work,” then perhaps it’s time to tap out of the game for a little while.
THE BENEFITS OF TAKING A BREAK
→ You know that old saying, “Stop and smell the roses?” What that means is to pause your journey once in a while so you can enjoy the beauty of the world around you. The time you spend online can be spent taking a walk with a loved one, reading a book for pleasure, or practicing some well-earned self-care. Doing so will help readjust your perspective and refuel your soul.
→ Can you remember why you started your business? Taking a break can be a great reminder of the passion that motivated you to begin with. Your passion should never feel like a burden.
→ Working your brain to death can have consequences on your physical health. A perpetual state of fight-or-flight can negatively affect your muscular system, respiratory system, hormones, circulatory system, and digestive system.
→ When you take a break for self-care, you are developing healthy habits that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Breaks also help prevent falling into bad habits, like eating too much junk food, not getting enough sleep, or staying too sedentary.
This generation of young entrepreneurs is among the best the world has ever seen. As such, the world needs you to take good care of yourself. Take a step back occasionally. Spend a day staring at the wall. Skip that club meeting. Don’t text back. There’s plenty of time for you to catch up when you’re refreshed and ready.
Are you a Florida-based young entrepreneur looking for a college scholarship? Click here to learn more about how the Kantner Foundation can help you!