Ottawa entrepreneurs are learning that their own mental well-being is as important as their business ventures.
"For me, self-care and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. I think doing this type of work takes a lot and to be able to do it is amazing," reflected Clary Chambers at LocalTalks, a speak series for Ottawa entrepreneurs. She is an inspirational coach who participates in talks like this one and others, around Canada.
Reagan Bradley, Ottawa ambassador for LocalTalks, lead a panel discussion, sharing stories on how she coped with mental health issues and shared ideas for others.
All panel members, speaking to the crowd on Tuesday, suggested the biggest key to staying mentally sharp and healthy was taking breaks. They said business people need to realize that they have the power to step away from themselves and from others when they need to.
“Entrepreneurship is a challenging endeavour,” said Bradley. “It is easy to neglect yourself when the daily demands of your business consume your everyday life. The purpose of this specific talk is to remind entrepreneurs it is okay to say ‘no’ — to focus on your own health and happiness first.”
The panel also insisted that an entrepreneur's mental health should take precedent over everything. They advised audience members to turn off push notifications on their phones once in a while, and allow themselves to be in the moment when possible.
Kenny Caceros, owner of UVU Fitness added, "If you cannot have a healthy relationship with yourself first, how are you going to impact other people? I think it is important not to be afraid to try.”
The stigma around mental health is still a pressing matter even in 2018, said personal business coach Mandy Lunan.
“I had a mental illness growing up and did not want anyone in the business world to know that," she explained. "I already had two blows against me — being a girl and being so young. I did not want another. So I did whatever it took to not have my mental health surface. But, I learned that it is very important to talk about these things and despite the illness you can do this and you can be successful."
LocalTalks brings people together from around the community who are aspiring entrepreneurs, but also seasoned professionals. Each month, they have a panel of three to four guest speakers that tackle and talk about a challenge, reflected by monthly themes.