Startups

A Small Business Owner’s Guide To Mental Health

With small business ownership comes the benefit of being your boss, setting the rules, choosing the jobs, and taking control. It’s all you imagined it to be and more. The more that causes the problems, though, because when it’s all on your shoulders, you have to work harder to protect your mental health. 

When you first start your business, it might feel as though you will never have time for fun again, but you have to make time for breaks. Don’t buy into the nonsense about sleeping for two hours a night and working for 20 with the rest of your time spent commuting. That isn’t a healthy way to operate, and it won’t ensure the long-term success of your business. 

It’s impossible to avoid the fact that you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Running a business can impact your mental health, and here’s what you need to do. 

Control your hours 

If you allow your business to consume you, it will do so. You’re in charge, which means you have to have the good sense to keep your hours in check. When you leave the office and head home for the day, you have to decide to ignore emails and calls until the morning. 

If you manage a team remotely, make sure to set clear boundaries between work and personal time. It’s a conscious decision that you will have to make daily. 

Keep home and work separate and give your family and friends your total attention and energy when you’re with them. It won’t just improve your relationships with them, but it will also help you protect your mental health. 

It will help if you let go of work when you’re not there so you can give it your all when you are there. Try the tips below to get balanced: 

  • Turn off notifications when you leave the office.
  • Throughout the day, have alarms set as reminders to take breaks.
  • Schedule a long weekend or a day off following a hectic period.
  • If you have a work-from-home job, maintain regular working hours as if you go to an office. 
  • Learn when to delegate.
  • Learn when to say no.
  • Learn when to invest in yourself or others to facilitate business improvements that benefit everyone.
  • Plan your day, whether it’s the morning or the night before. Learn to prioritize the most important tasks first to address the most significant stressors early in the day.

Seek support 

If you invest all of your time and energy into making your business a success, you will isolate yourself from everyone in your life. Isolation is especially true if you work alone, as many small business owners initially do. 

Isolation leads to loneliness, and loneliness leads to anxiety and depression. That is why the first point is so important to remember, but it isn’t enough. As crucial as breaks are, it’s just as important to have a support network you can turn to when times get tough. So, time off is essential, but how you spend counts too. 

  • You should have at least one person in your life you can bounce ideas off, discuss your frustrations with, and let it all out.
  • Look into a small business network to connect with to find support and network. Ideally, you will meet someone who can mentor you.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, whether it’s mental or financial. Consider adopting a pet as pets can help reduce anxiety.
  • Go all out for legal support if the concerned matter is out of control.

Look after your lifestyle 

Whether you are a small business owner or a small business employee, your lifestyle matters, and how you live your life separate from work impacts how you work. 

For example, if you drink seven energy drinks daily, eat leftover pizza for breakfast, microwave burritos for lunch, and hit a drive-thru at dinner, you are going to see several adverse effects. 

In addition to the health implications resulting from a poor diet, it will interfere with your sleep patterns which will increase your stress levels. 

Then, when you’re stressed out and exhausted, your body will crave more sugar and fat to make energy. It creates a vicious cycle that makes every part of your life harder than it needs to be. 

  • Have a relaxation routine, whether it’s meditation, reading, gardening, or something else.
  • Make time for regular exercise.
  • Plan meals to ensure you’re eating well.
  • Set the alarm to remind you to drink water often.
  • Set a sleep routine.
  • Regularly practice an activity or hobby you enjoy. Resources like Masterclass are great for finding interesting new things to learn.

Remember, looking after your mental health will positively impact your business because it won’t succeed if you aren’t at your best.

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