Being a business owner is an amazing thing. In charge of your own hours, following your passion, choosing exactly what you do and who you work with – on paper it sounds absolutely perfect. But it’s also incredibly hard. There’s a lot of worry about where the next job is going to come from, especially in the beginning, as well as the stress of having to wear so many hats at once, and the difficulties of being the one in charge when things go wrong. Add to that the general stress of a pandemic (that’s been going on for over a year), and a lot of business owners are starting to feel as though they are only hanging on by their fingernails. Mental health is an important thing to talk about in general, but when it comes to business owners it’s really not discussed enough. Personally, I’ve had my share of mental health challenges, and I truly understand how difficult it can be to not only take care of yourself, but ask for help when you need it as well. So today, we’re going to talk about how you, yes you, can take care of your mental health as a business owner.
Understand the Impact
First things first, you need to really understand the impact your mental health has on your business. A businesses owners mental health affects everything – from productivity, personal interactions, communication and teamwork, to maintaining safety at work. Whether it’s just you, or you have a team of people, if you are mentally healthy, then it will have a positive impact on your business. But if you’re struggling with mental health, then it can start to negatively impact it instead. But when you’re running the show, you’re faced with a number of unique challenges that make things more stressful than most 9-5 jobs. You know, things like:
- Working long hours
- Bending over backwards to get your start-up off the ground, or meet its demands
- Having to work beyond the standard working hours, blurring your business and home life boundaries
- Worrying about cash flow, bottom lines, getting new clients etc
- Making all of the decisions, from the big ones to the tiny ones
- Feeling independent, yet very isolated
- Playing multiple roles every day
But while it is stressful, it’s also rewarding, and with a little bit of awareness and self-care, you can see success in every part of your life.
Know the Warning Signs
While everyone is different, and your struggles may be different, there are some fairly common tell tale signs that you might be having problems with mental health. These include:
- Having a hard time focussing on tasks
- Always feeling tired (more than normal)
- Feeling emotional or tearful for no reason
- Feeling irritable
- Getting frustrated or angry easily
- Worrying too much, about things you can’t control
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling unhappy
- Resorting to drinking alcohol, or smoking too much, to relieve stress
- Eating too much, or having no appetite at all
- Reduced self-confidence
- Struggling to make decisions (of any size)
- Bad sleep
- Retreating away from people
To name just a few. Sound familiar? Then you might need to take just a small step back, and spend some time looking after yourself ahead of your business. We’re not saying you should drop everything – that would probably just cause more worry! But you can shift your focus a little so that you’re paying attention to your mental health, and do some things to help take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup after all, and that little bit of space means you’ll ultimately be a better business owner.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
There are a lot of different ways you can take care of your mental health, and it’s going to depend on you and your preferences which ones you choose. But a few things we recommend include:
Work-Life Balance: I know we’ve talked about why this is bullshit before, but the work-life blend is important, because if you’ve got too much of one and not enough of the other, you can get overwhelmed. If you tally up your mental and physical time, are you splitting it fairly evenly between your personal life and your business? Or is your business eating up all of your time? If it is, reclaim some of that time and try to strike more of a balance.
Cultivate Support: We all need a little help, and a good support system can help keep you happy and healthy. Whether it’s another business owner who knows what you’re going through, or an old friend, make sure you have someone who you can talk to, do things with, and unload all of those big emotions with. Build up a strong support network so that even when things get hard, you’ll have help getting through it.
Stay Healthy: Your physical health has a huge effect on your mental wellbeing, so take care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and sleep well. Make sure the basics of a healthy body are taken care of, and the mind will follow.
You Time: And finally, take some time out just for you. Watch your favourite show, play your favourite game, go out for drinks or just curl up with a book. Whatever activity makes you happy, make the time to do it, and do it regularly. Don’t let business become your life.
And if admin is one of the things you’re struggling with? Get a VA! At Your Admin Hub, we specialise in helping stressed out, overwhelmed business owners get on top of their to do lists and take control of their business. We can take care of all the niggly admin bits you just don’t want to do yourself, so that you have the time you need to take care of yourself. Want to know more? Get in touch.