As we begin a new Financial Year, and with a lot of uncertainty ahead, make sure that part of your future planning is designed to help you support yourself mentally.
But it can also mean putting in long hours, worrying about cash-flow and at times experiencing an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Added to that, external factors outside your control can affect your business and ramp up the demands on you.
Whether you are driven by the satisfaction of running your business or you feel like your business is running you, taking time out for you, your family and friends is essential. Long working hours have not only been linked with poorer mental health but also excessive fatigue, burnout, worry and irritability, as well as increased injuries.
That’s why it’s important to be proactive about looking after your mental health. Taking care of yourself can help you to face the inevitable stress of running your business.
Take some time out
You can only give if your own cup is full, so take enough time out. Gift yourself a sleep-in, get a massage or have lunch outside so you can organize your thoughts. Feeling refreshed allows you to think.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Yes, I know that’s repetitive, but it’s well known that regular exercise is a powerful way of managing stress. When the stress of running a business builds up, it can be difficult to make time to look after our bodies.
To be our best, we need to feel good inside and out, which means a healthy body is key to achieving a healthy mind. Schedule time to exercise before work or escape your phone and email at lunchtime. Using the gym, doing yoga, or just walking around the block can help you make better business decisions.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is a vital way to replenish your mental facilities: sleep deprivation impairs our focus, judgment, and ability to make sound decisions. This is because we can’t assess situations rationally and plan accordingly when we’re tired. Use meditation to unwind, or read a book to switch off, and most importantly leave work at the office and don’t take it home.
Establish a meaningful support base
Owning a small business can be lonely. Isolated working conditions and lack of like-minded connections are some of the biggest triggers for stress.
Whether it’s your financial situation or something else outside your expertise, build a support base around you. Sharing a problem could make the difference between spending hours mulling over the issue or getting a solution in ten minutes. It’s all about using someone else’s gifts and talents so you can use your own more effectively.
Be aware of those around you
The people around you often bear the brunt of your stress, so take notice of how your employees, friends and family are feeling. Stress can be contagious, so if people start asking you if everything is ok, use it as a sign to assess how you’re feeling: The quicker you identify stress, the quicker you can change things. Take time out, delegate work or turn down a project that may cause more stress than its worth.
Be prepared to ask for help
Your health and well-being is your most valuable investment: you can’t work if you’re sick.
When stress levels start to take on unhealthy level, seek help. The earlier you ask for help, the faster you will be able to get yourself and your business back on track. Health practitioners can help you find the support and tools you need.
Because if you’re in great mental and physical health, not only will your productivity improve, feeling mentally and physically well can be the key to taking your business to new heights.