From the way several high-profile business owners have ended in over a decade back, it is a must that the mental health of entrepreneurs must be discussed. How can small business owners take care of their mental health? A 2014 article by Inc. titled, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship,” received an award for focusing on the area of stress, anxiety, and depression. Highlighting only the positive side of entrepreneurship is disservice to entrepreneurs who are enmeshed with all the highs and lows of entrepreneurship especially in a pandemic.
A study by a Canadian Mental Health revealed that 62% of entrepreneurs get depressed at least once every week. And about 54% of business owners disclosed that their level of concentration at work is affected by stress. Well, CEO of Jetco Delivery, Brian Fielkow revealed that he isn’t surprised by this.
He says that he even expects that the rate would spike in the United State from what he experiences with his clients. He says, “Business owners are so busy taking care of their employees that they forget to take care of themselves.”
Most employers are responsible for the wellbeing of their employees, and with theirs, they are very well likely to experience stress often. They would also suffer anxiety, and have a poor work-life balance. And that is aside the wide range of health concerns that spirals around nearly everyone, financial insecurity, and isolation feelings during lockdown.
Psychological studies have continually shown that social isolation experienced during the period of lockdown is potent enough to affect the mental health of people, and cause fear, insomnia, depression, stress, emotional exhaustion and irritability. Business owners are obviously weighed by all these burdens and situations that it affects their mental health.
David Howell, a 20-year micro business owner, says, “Paying attention to your mental health is just as vital as finding your next customer or client.” So, how you think your business is fairing at the present situation, it is very important to discuss how small business owners can take care of their mental health, and here are 7 ways to consider:
1. Create Work-Life Boundaries And Abide By It
You have to create work-life boundaries and abide by it to avoid a situation where you finally burnout. In a time like this where nearly everyone works from home and finds it difficult to bring balance to their schedules, it would be very crucial to your mental health to commit yourself to a specific range of hours of work, after which your email notifications, work phone, and all business communication channels. It is your own time, and you must be in control of it.
2. Enjoy How You Exercise
You should either enjoy how you exercise every day or exercise in a way that you will find ease and enjoyment in it. More than taking care of your physical health, the exercise you do will let you care for your mental health. Almost all forms of exercises – yoga, jogging, skipping, swimming, or playing pickleball – help in reducing stress. Exercises will help improve your mood and ease tension.
3. Take A Walk To Enjoy Nature
Some studies have revealed that having good time in a natural setting can help reduce stress significantly. There are immense benefits of enjoying the natural world. Aaron L. Baggish, PhD., associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital says, “There’s a real sense of peace and composure you get from being outside and away from everything.”
4. Write Down How You Feel
Even if you have to spend just five minutes writing down your thoughts and feelings every day, you are more likely to observe your emotions often. This move will also help you check for patterns that relate to how you react in different situations. The University of Rochester Medical Center has affirmed that when you keep a journal of your feelings, your overall mental health is tended towards improvement. People who experience depression, anxiety, and stress will find this method rewarding.
5. Spend Good Time With Loved Ones
You can experience an improvement in your mental health by spending time with good friends and family with bringing up topics that connect to business or work. And even if you have to do this virtually, it would still have some positive effect on your mental health as a business owner.
PhD. and psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Sheldon Cohen confirms that you will be able to cope with stress when you build a strong support around you. PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University, Tasha R. Howe, explains that having social support cuts down significantly on immune and cardiovascular problems, and also a lower level of cortisol which is a stress hormone.
6. Do Not Compare And Despair In A Community Of Online Networks
Founder of one of the earliest online business communities, Penny Power revealed in a study, that 83% of business owners still claim to be lonely despite being active on Facebook and other social media all day. She said they often compare their lives with that of their peers, and end up developing a feeling of desperation over their lives. It is important to note that so many people on social media do not live the kind of life they put out. Most of the time, they put their full reality away from social media, and this may be a lot below yours!
7. Be Productive And Stay Productive
Having items on your to-do-list ticked gives a sense of fulfillment and purpose. So, if it seems there is little to do because of some serious business challenge you are having, then, find ways to use the free time productively. Look into those administrative engagements that have stayed for too long and take care of them. Acquire fresh skills in other fields. Consider social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, or start off with a huge project that you have always desired to do.
We all handle different situations in our different ways. So, it is important to take things easy while also finding whatever works for you. Do not overlook the need to provide utmost care for your mental health. Penny Power says most entrepreneurs find it difficult to take a break from work. She adds, “They keep going until being busy becomes mental exhaustion, being anxious becomes anxiety and the low mood turns into depression. Rebuilding yourself is a big job. Prevention is the cure,” Power says.