“If you had to describe your mood in one picture, what would it be?” asks Ella Stuart, personal coach from New Zealand, at the beginning of the third Social Impact Accelerator (SIA) workshop. The 10 SIA startups are confronted with their own mental apprehension from the very first minute. This was a morning packed with essential inputs on self-leadership, and it also created a lot of space for reflection and peer exchange. It is about the person behind the startup and learning to respect one’s own limits as well as creating awareness for one’s own mental health. A topic that is especially important for entrepreneurs, because when you are so personally involved in business, you quickly start to distance yourself from your own needs.

One feeling we have all been confronted with is stress. It manifests itself physically: sweaty palms, palpitations and even sleep disturbances are its symptoms. Emotionally, stress often triggers feelings of fear, anger and pressure. A condition that is unbearable in the long run. This reaction is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, one of the three components of the autonomic nervous system, which adjusts to an increase in performance when under particular stress. This physiological reaction is natural and necessary. However, one should be aware of it and ask oneself, “What am I experiencing and what do I need now to overcome this state of stress?”

Stress is a cycle. In order to break this stress cycle, one should devise a strategy that works for one personally. Various strategies are possible:

– Physical activity (sports)
– Breathing
– Laughter
– Affection
– Crying
– Creative expression (painting, music, writing, etc.)

To break out of stressful situations, different methods such as breathing exercises (“4, 4, 6” or “Hummingbird”), journal writing, positive affirmations, meditation, yoga, dancing or going into nature help, depending on what the body and mind need at the moment.

The Mental Health workshop was a rich afternoon of input with personal depth for all participants. Next up for the 10 SIA start-ups is a workshop on 27 May on “Participatory governance & organisational development”.

More information on the topic of “Burnout and how to complete the Stress Cycle” can also be found in this podcast.