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Mental health support for SME owners

  1. Jas Sensi

    Jas Sensi UKBF Newcomer Staff Member

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    “Being your own boss” is a reason many businesses owners give when explaining why they decided to become an entrepreneur, but, as everyone says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    From long days in the office, or now working from home, to keeping up with finances, the stress is always prominent when keeping a company afloat, and all the more so during a global pandemic.

    Unlike any 9-5 job, research suggests UK small business owners work over 2,000 hours of overtime per year.

    For example, if an average full-time employer works around 37.5 hours a week, on average an SME owner works a total of 17 full days of overtime per year.

    Obviously, that will result in extra weight on your shoulders.

    But, with mental wellbeing becoming more of a talking point rather than a taboo recently, more and more are finally opening about their mental health since the imposition of the COVID-19 lockdown.

    Here are a few tips for business owners for their mental health post lockdown.

    Focus on what you can control

    When running a small business, it is impossible to avoid stress completely, but there are many things you can do to reduce stress, as constantly dealing with stress can have a negative impact on your mental health as well as your physical.

    There are many instances which are out of your control, such as the coronavirus outbreak.

    Stress can come in all forms, from financial insecurity to feeling like you are neglecting your loved ones. But, the best thing you can do for yourself is not stress over the small stuff.

    Your family and friends are well aware you are running a business and following your dreams they will understand if you are not always available, but they will always be there for you.

    Stressing yourself out is not going to take you anywhere. If you feel like you are about to burn out due to the workload, it is okay to take a break and come back to the task later on.

    If you are struggling, ask for help. There is no shame in it.

    Motivation

    Keeping yourself motivated is the key when running your own company. It is easy to give up when something is not going your way but you will be  respected and appreciated more by others when you pick yourself up and carry on trying.

    When you feel like your motivation is slipping, think about your past achievements. If you were able to reach your goals before, you could always do it again.

    Some ways to stay motivated include:

    1. Setting goals
    2. Planning your progress
    3. Using rewards to motivate yourself
    4. Motivate others, so they motivate you
    5. Listen to inspirational people, such as on podcasts or TED Talks.

    Look after your physical health

    Mens sana in corpore sano - a healthy mind is a healthy body.

    The past few months have definitely not been a walk in the park, with all sorts of plans being thrown out of the window – but maybe a literal walk in the park is just what you need.

    If you are feeling stressed out, go out for a stroll or run, be at one with nature, or take a mental health day to destress and do something you love.

    As the famous saying suggests “you are what you eat”. Your diet influences your physical and mental self, so resist the urge to comfort eat junk food or drink too much. You’d be amazed how often a glass of water can make everything feel alright.

    Speak to family and friends

    The coronavirus pandemic has made us all realise the importance of our loved ones in our lives.

    They’re sometimes our biggest supporters and sometimes our therapists in our toughest times. So, instead of holding stress inside, speak to someone and discuss your feelings.

    Although they might not be able to solve your problems, just having them there to listen will help ease the pressure built up in your mind.

    If you do not feel comfortable speaking to your loved ones regarding your mental health, here are some establishments that you could contact instead:

    Mind

    mind.org.uk

    National charity providing information, advice and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone.

    You can phone them on 0300 123 3393 or email [email protected] or text 86463.

    SANE 

    Sane.org.uk

    SANE services provide practical help, emotional support and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends and carers.

    You can call on 0845 767 8000 or email [email protected] 

    My Black Dog

    Myblackdog.co

    Chat to someone online about your mental health for free today. All volunteers are people who have experienced mental illness.

    Click here for more information by The Federation for Small Businesses regarding mental health.

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