According to a study by iwoca and Mental Health UK, 4 out of 5 business owners suffer from poor mental health. This drastically increased during the pandemic, with more people reporting they experience more frequent periods of depression and panic attacks.
Poor mental health can happen due to numerous things. From money worries to stressful situations, your business can swiftly turn from a dream into a nightmare.
While owning a business is bound to be stressful occasionally, your mental health shouldn’t constantly suffer. Here are five ways business owners can take care of their mental health.
1. Set boundaries
When you worked as an employee, you probably had set work hours. As a business owner, you probably work more than you should. However, constantly working long hours with little time off is detrimental to your mental health. It won’t be long before you start feeling overwhelmed, stressed and get that dreaded burnout feeling.
To avoid this, it’s vital you set boundaries with your business. This means separating work and pleasure by muting apps when you’re no longer working, having separate laptops or phones, and allowing yourself to take a break. Have scheduled work days, and don’t be scared to take a few days off. Your business will still be there when you get back.
2. Prioritise health
After you set clear boundaries with your business, you’ll have more time to prioritise your health. After all, your health is your wealth!
Taking care of your body will naturally decrease feelings of stress. Exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet are all proven to help mental health. For example, your body releases endorphins when you exercise. These chemicals will naturally combat stress and help you feel more relaxed. Plus, who doesn’t feel better after a restful night of sleep? So, make sure you’re getting at least 7-9 hours every night.
3. Find a support network
Isolating yourself when you’re struggling will only make things worse. You might think that finding time for friends or family might add to your stress, but taking a break to have fun is a must for good mental health.
Building your own business is an achievement that you should be proud of. But, just because you’ve done that alone, it doesn’t mean you need to do everything alone. Find people who will be there and encourage you during the hard times. This can be friends, family, or even other business owners who can understand what you’re going through.
4. Learn how to combat stress
Owning a business is bound to be occasionally stressful. By learning how to deal with stress when it first surfaces, you’ll reduce the risk of it growing out of control.
There are many activities you can do to reduce stress. As previously mentioned, exercise is a good option, but if that doesn’t interest you, try journaling or meditating instead. Plus, staying on top of business commitments can also help. Procrastination can easily lead to work piling up, which won’t help your mental health. If you’re guilty of procrastinating, try making lists with deadlines. Note down the dates of when your self-assessment, tax, and any insurance such as public liability is due.
5. Get professional help
Despite the growing number of business owners reporting poor mental health, almost half won’t get help. While professional help such as counselling or therapy isn’t for everyone, you won’t know until you try it.
If you feel increasingly overwhelmed, professional help is the ultimate help. Support networks and taking breaks are great ways to combat stress, but sometimes it’s not enough. If you feel your mental health has a massively negative effect on your life and is interfering with your business, looking into professional health might be the best answer.
While your business might feel like your entire world, you must have a life outside it. Constantly wrapping yourself in your work might benefit your business, but it’ll do nothing for your mental health.
Instead, find the right balance of work and relaxation. If you do, you’ll notice improvements in your mental health and business by avoiding burnout.