Small-business owners, take care of your mental health

World Mental Health Day

Building a company, no matter the size is always celebrated as a success. But business owners know only too well that entrepreneurship is tough. They are responsible for themselves, their customers and their employees.

Anxiety steps in mostly because of financial concerns, but mental, emotional, and physical stress can also cause anxiety that may lead to long-term mental health issues. Many small-business owners tend to spend too much time taking care of their business that sometimes they overlook their mental health. For these reasons and more, people who run their own businesses are more likely to experience mental health issues than regular workers.

How do you ensure that you are on top of not just your own mental health but your employees’ too?   

Set and Keep Work-Life Boundaries. When you own the business, it can be difficult to stick to a work schedule. However, as important as it is to have time for business, it is also important to set aside time for self-care, family, social life and other enjoyable things. The same goes for your employees. You are taking care of your mental health when you have balance in your work and personal life. Some of the work can wait so, as much as possible, set reasonable business hours for you and your employees and keep them.

Have a Flexible Work Arrangement. Being holed up in the same environment everyday may cause burnout. Do all tasks they need to be done in the office or can some tasks be done elsewhere like, say, at home, at a park or at a coffee shop? To be able to get out of the office from time to time can positively boost output. A flexible work environment that fits your and your employees’ lifestyle can help maintain your emotional and psychological balance and beat burnout.

Assign and Delegate. Running a business means juggling many duties. Consider delegating some of your tasks to free up time so you can step back, relax and take a break. Observe, too, if and when your employees are overwhelmed with their duties. If so, you may consider reassigning and distributing some of the work to other employees or you may try outsourcing. Know that you can’t possibly do everything yourself so there’s no point in trying to do it all. Similarly, do not assign to an employee more tasks than they can reasonably manage.

Take Your Mind Off Work. Since you own the business, it is understandable that there is a lot on your mind. Set aside some time to take your mind off work from time to time by engaging in other activities like exercise which has proven to be a great stress reliever. You can also start an exercise program for employees. And, after dealing with business for most of the day, try to clear your mind from work matters during the evening.

Socialise. You know what they say about all work and no play? Spend fun time with your employees outside the work setting, minus the business talk. This will foster camaraderie and help strengthen your work relationship. Encourage your employees to also spend time with their friends and families. Socialization helps reduce stress and improve mental health.

Know that your psychological health is vital to the success of your company. With many businesses folding because of the pandemic, it is important to keep your and your employees’ mental health in check to maintain your resilience and keep your business running as smoothly as possible.

Manna Maniago, Registered Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Founder, Kairos Assist