Being in a position of leadership can be deeply satisfying; it can be personally empowering and contribute to an overall sense of fulfilment. The paradox is that it can also be draining; anyone who has ever led knows that there can be an accompanying sense of stress, anxiety, and burnout. That’s simply the nature of the beast.

That’s why it is imperative for leaders to be proactive in safeguarding their mental health—taking practical steps to maintain their sense of mental clarity. What are those steps, though? Let me list just a few tricks of the trade, as learned from some of the great leaders and entrepreneurs I’ve had the privilege of working with.

Protecting Your Mental Health

  • First and foremost, take care of your body. Make sure you’re giving it the kind of nutrition it needs to function at its best, and to handle stressful situations with the utmost strength. Get eight hours of sleep at night, allowing your brain to recharge. Make time for physical activity, too—a great way to cope with daily anxieties and cares.
  • Be protective of your time. Have a calendar, and use it not just to set appointments, but also to schedule blocks of time when you can be alone in your office and get work done; and, time outside of the office for you to enjoy recreation or to connect with family.
  • Have someone you can talk to, someone you can vent to—ideally a mentor, or, if not, a friend who may work in a leadership position elsewhere, and who can understand what you’re going through.
  • Use your vacation days. Time away from the office is essential for mental health.
  • Don’t feel like you have to take on everything yourself. Hire people who you know you can trust, and outsource simple, repeatable tasks to vendors if need be.
  • Stay organized. Have a to-do list for each day, but also consider keeping a not-to-do list—a list of things that it’s okay to put off for another day if need be. Organization is so critical for mental health and clarity.

Your mental health is vital for your success—and for your happiness. Be active in promoting and preserving it.