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How small business owners can improve their mental health and well-being

This Sunday, the 10th of October is the internationally recognised World Mental Health Day as endorsed by the World Health Organisation. As a small business owner, it’s natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear, an inability to focus etc., especially as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

However, experiencing such feelings and emotions over a prolonged period of time needs to be managed effectively to ensure you stay healthy. The lockdowns had a significant impact on businesses in the UK, around 60% of which provide over 16.3 million employment opportunities.

And research indicates that out of over 900 small business owners surveyed, most experienced some mental health symptoms but many did not seek treatment for this or knew that treatment was available. To help you overcome mental health challenges in business, keep reading below.

Reasons for mental health issues 

As a small business owner, you face the pressures of providing employment opportunities for others, supporting yourself and your family, dealing with stock and logistics, ensuring your business runs smoothly, and many more.

This already means that you could be putting in many more hours into your business than your typical nine to five employees. What’s more is the added stress of cash flow and suppliers’ inability to pay you, rental costs, utilities, and all that in the face of the lockdown after the pandemic. It’s no wonder you’re feeling fatigued and you feel like you can’t cope. 

Early warning signs

Some of the main warning signs of mental health issues for small business owners include the following:

  • Inability to focus 
  • Anxiety 
  • Disrupted sleep/insomnia 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Irritability
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • And more

Impact of poor mental health on your work

The impact of poor mental health on you and your small business could be significant. It can not only spread to you and your loved ones but to your employees as well. You need well-engaged and motivated employees so this is a surefire way of isolating them, affecting their motivation. So, what other impacts does poor mental health have on your work? 

For starters, you can start to have difficulties in focusing on your to-do list tasks. Then you might start feeling unusually tired, teary-eyed and emotional for no apparent reason, get angry or irritable quickly, worry, feel overwhelmed, or unhappy. 

Other ways this could impact you are if you’re resorting to drinking or smoking too much, eating too much, or too little. And what’s more, you may have low self-confidence and find it tough to make decisions, lose interest in the things that once gave you joy and you might feel antisocial and more. 

These are just some of the symptoms of declining mental health and they could have a toll on your physical and emotional well-being as well as on your business, your relationship with your staff and partners, and ultimately on your cash flow.  

Some ways to take care of your mental health 

There are, however, ways to deal with mental health issues in business. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Try to live a healthier lifestyle: this may involve eating healthy foods (regularly and not skipping meals), drinking plenty of water and exercising, or doing some kind of physical activity for 20-30 minutes every day. 
  • Implement a work-life balance: if you find yourself working long hours or thinking about your work during your leisure time, you need to stop and try to find a balance between your work life and your private life. When it’s time to shut your business for the day, leave your business thoughts at the door and try not to take them home with you.  
  • Stay connected and find support: support is all around, it’s just a matter of seeking out the right resources. Sometimes, a solid conversation with a friend or loved one can do the trick, while other times, you may need to seek professional support.  
  • Outsource what you can: make sure to outsource whatever you can in your business so that the burden on your own shoulders is reduced. At myPOS, we pride ourselves in taking the burden away from payments acceptance through easy-to-use and wide-ranging payment solutions. Our latest innovation – myPOS Online – for example, is а free ecommerce website builder to help you create an online shop without any hassle. 
  • Volunteer: taking the time to help others can do wonders for the spirit. Therefore, consider volunteering your time to help others less fortunate than you. You’ll feel refreshed and will count your blessings even more after such an activity. 
  • Learn to say “no”: learning to say “no” is one of life’s biggest lessons in general – no matter what sphere of life you may come from. It’s an important step to being self-aware and knowing your limitations and abilities. There’s simply not enough time in the day to take on everyone’s problems, and you shouldn’t have to anyway. 

Final thoughts

Small business owners are the crux of many economies and they need to be supported. They’re employers, fathers, mothers, business people and so much more all in one.

When a mental health issue strikes, it can seriously affect a small business owner and that’s why mental health in business is such an important topic to discuss. Let’s not shy away from the conversation but rather encourage it!

With Covid-19 and other economic challenges, it’s time to support small business owners to ensure they continue providing the vital products and services we all love and need. 

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