See you in 2018! Happy Holidays from the Techstars Family

The holidays are a time to reflect and recharge. Getting away and coming together. Looking back and looking forward. The holidays are family, spending time with the people you love.

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. As we near the end of 2017, we want to thank all the people across our network who made this year, and every year, possible – the founders, mentors, community leaders, investors, and partners around the world.

From our family to yours, happy holidays, schöne Ferien, boas festas, felices feriados, joyeuses fêtes!

Happy holidays from all of us at Techstars, we’ll see you in 2018!

Holidays Aren’t Always Fun

“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?” – Beatles, Help!

I’m taking advantage of the time of year to remind us that holidays don’t always leave people happy. In fact with some, it really makes them unhappy.

People who are depressed, struggle with dependency issues, have a mental illness or are going through a life inflection point may have a hard time with the holidays. And, so, it feels like the right time to share some “how to be an awesome person for others” best practices.

1 – If you see that someone is having problems, speak up. It may feel awkward to ask why someone may not be engaging, seems super sad, is detached or is upset about the holidays. Simply asking gives that person the option to share.

2 – If someone says that they feel like the world is better off without them – stop, look and listen. Find out if they have a plan and if they do, call 911 or emergency services and get them help. It’s better to be wrong and call for help than be right and do nothing. EMTs, hospitals and doctors far prefer that someone gets help rather than lose a life because the help wasn’t offered.

3 – Depression isn’t rational. Your brain chemicals aren’t the same and your thinking is different. A depressed person may not have rational and logical answers and responses to ordinary events. If you know someone who is depressed and not getting professional help – make a wellness check call for them. Let a professional visit them and check in so that they can assess the situation.

4 – If you know someone who has nowhere to go for the holidays and you have room, invite them to your holiday gathering.

5 – Holidays are busy times – it’s worth taking the few minutes to check in with yourself as well. Are you just full bore get things done for the holiday mode? If so, take 10 minutes to meditate, contemplate or do something that is #givefirst. Give that homeless person an extra dollar, buy a gift for TOYS FOR TOTS, volunteer an hour at a shelter, donate to a food pantry, buy a coat for someone who doesn’t have one.

6 – If you know someone has a dependency problem and you see that they are struggling, ask how you can help. Maybe you can make time to go to an AA meeting with them, share a cup of coffee with them or take a walk. Holiday times are fraught with events that are planned around food and alcohol which can be exclusive and hard for people with dependency problems.

The real gift at the holidays is being mindful – of yourself and those around you. All the material things in the world won’t matter if the people that we share with aren’t as healthy as possible in both mind and body. Help is hard to ask for – and it’s not always easy to know when to offer help. If someone extends a hand, reach out and take it!

We encourage everyone to become educated on mental health and important issues around it. Here is a list of resources for anyone who thinks they may be suffering from mental health issues, or anyone who wants to learn more about the topic.

A Holiday Survival Guide for Founders and Entrepreneurs

The challenges you face as a founder and entrepreneur don’t go away just because it’s the holiday season – in fact, they usually grow. As demands for your time increase during this time of year, you need to do more for yourself — not less. This time of year is extra challenging to those who suffer from depression, common among startup founders. Here are ten helpful tips to help you cope.

1. The Numbers Matter

This does not mean just the bottom line, or your Q4 sales revenue. This means getting eight hours of solid sleep a night. Yes, I said eight hours. Not the typical four or five hours of sleep you’re used to getting. Another number to be aware of is your budget. Don’t get caught up in overspending this year. This will only cause you stress as you enter 2017 when the bills roll in. So watch your numbers, they matter!

2. Calm Your Mind

Meditation and conscious breathing are your tickets to less stress. Even carving out 5 – 10 minutes to meditate and consciously breathe every morning before you dive into your busy day will have a big impact on your mood and energy levels. And this will make you more fun to be around and more effective at running your business.

3. Visualize Success

What do you want the holidays to feel like this year? After the holidays are over, what memories do you want to take with you into 2017? Make a short list of specific memories you’d like to create and schedule them into your calendar just like any other appointment. It can be something as simple as picking out holiday gifts for your team members, but scheduling will help you distinguish between what’s important to you and what you can drop.

4. Let Go of Expectations

Be in the moment. Holiday ups and downs  – and the highs and lows of being a founder – will have less of an emotional impact on you if you keep your expectations in line with reality. The unrealistic expectations of the perfect holiday season is one sure way to bring on the disappointment. Know it won’t be perfect. Be present. All you have is this very moment, so enjoy it.

5. Shift Your Mindset

Practice gratitude. Write down three things you’re grateful for at the start and end of every day. Showing gratitude to your employees and your customers will go a long way to increase both productivity and retainment. Being grateful for what you do have instead of getting upset at what is lacking is a guaranteed way to bring more joy, ease and happiness into your business. All you need is a little shift!

6. Me Time

During the holidays we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on others and our company. But don’t forget that the most important person is you! Don’t neglect you, because in the end you’ll feel stressed, drained and resentful. Make sure to carve out time for yourself to decompress. Schedule this in your calendar and tell your team, family and friends you have a very important appointment – with yourself!

7. Drink a Lot

I’m talking about water here. With all the happy hours, holiday parties and cocktails, it’s easy to get dehydrated. And what happens when you get dehydrated? You get tired and cranky. When you’re tired and cranky, it’s an easy set-up to get into difficult situations with employees, family, and loved ones. So make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day.

8. Limit Sugar Intake

Sugar affects your mood and health. The holidays are filled with all kinds of sweet treats and it’s a sugar overload at the office. All that sugar is sure to make you crash and burn. But you don’t need to deprive yourself, instead of overloading your plate with things that don’t really turn you on, go for the MVF (minimal viable food) that gives you true enjoyment. If something doesn’t light you up, leave it.

9. Move Your Body

Maybe you’re traveling this holiday season and there’s no gym in sight? Or perhaps you don’t have time to go your fave yoga class in-between your end of year meetings? No problem! Jump online or download the latest fitness app to find something that fits your busy schedule. Moving your body helps you to process your feelings and emotions — an important practice for founders to stay sane. Physical activity is like poor man’s therapy. Just do it!

10. Be Prepared

Once the holidays are over and 2017 is in full swing, many founders experience a dip in your mood, motivation, and energy levels – the post holiday letdown. Getting back to your normal routine at the office may take a few weeks, so take it easy as you enter the New Year. Don’t get caught up in lofty Q1 expectations, schedule fun things to look forward to outside of the office, and don’t forget to unplug every once in awhile to clear your head.