In last week’s post, we implored business owners to do their bit for their employees’ wellbeing, with one in six workers at any one time said to be experiencing mental health problems. However, business owners can’t begin to think about the mental health of their staff until they’ve addressed their own wellbeing.
Small business owners are arguably more prone to suffer from mental health issues, given the pressures to succeed in an environment where the odds are stacked against them – we’ve all seen the statistics about how many start-ups fail.
Indeed, a couple of years back, scholars in the United States carried out a study which found that nearly half of entrepreneurs (49%) were dealing with at least one mental illness.
It’s clear, then, that owners need to stake steps to protect their mental health, which, in itself, can be detrimental to business.
So, what can be done?
1. Seek early help
Ultimately, it’s routine to feel some sort of stress when you’re a leader of a business – there’s plenty of responsibility on your shoulders, after all. However, it becomes a problem when that stress begins to manifest in symptoms such as panic attacks, mood swings and lack of energy. As soon as stress starts to take a hold, you should seek help, preventing the symptoms from escalating.
2. Listen to your body
One of the signs of chronic stress is a weakened immune system. It’s easy to put that lingering cough or prolonged headache down to just ‘being run down’, but this might be your body telling you, enough is enough, it’s time to make a change.
3. Put your health first
As a business owner, it’s natural to want to please everybody – your clients, your investors, your employees. But what about doing your bit to ensure you’re OK from a health perspective? Sometimes, especially where health is concerned, you’ve got to put yourself first.
4. Keep doing the things you enjoy
It’s crucial that, even when your work diary makes it difficult, you keep doing the things that you enjoy, be it keeping fit, going to the cinema or socialising with friends. If at any point you feel like you can’t do those things anymore, either because of time constraints or you’ve stopped getting enjoyment from them, it’s time to seek support.
Your first port of call will probably be a healthcare professional however an organisation like MIND offers professional advice that may also be beneficial.
You might also benefit from speaking with experienced individuals in business who have ‘been there, done it’. People who can explain their model for managing stress as well help you to create plans for the business in order to address the root cause.