As a small-business owner, I’m sure you’ve had to deal with a lot over the last couple of months and continue to do so as COVID-19 lingers around like the food in the staff kitchen fridge.
Even though dealing with stress is a common reality for every small business, COVID-19 has brought about a few rare strains of stress that we don’t often deal with, including;
- Foundational change stress – where the core foundation of something, whether that be a business structure or personal situation, is forced to change or completely pivot, which is exactly what COVID-19 has caused.
- Anticipation stress – also known as ‘the fear of the unknown’. Not reasonably knowing what is going to happen in the future.
- P2P (Pressure to Perform) stress – a common type of stress in the workplace but when compounded on top of the above stresses can lead to acute overwhelm.
These heightened variations of stress types have led to some of the biggest increases in emotional issues like anxiety and depression that Australia has ever experienced. Beyond Blue, one of Australia’s leading NFP’s working to address mental health issues, has experienced a 60 per cent increase in demand on their phone and online help services since COVID-19 hit.
This is why making sure you’re taking time to look after yours and your staff’s mental health right now is so important.
Unfortunately though, mental health is one of the last problems to be dealt with in times of uncertainty as, a cloud of embarrassment around it and there are seemingly more important issues that need to be addressed, like ‘how do we completely pivot our core business’s service/product offerings?’ and ‘what do we need to do to generate more cash-flow through this difficult period?’
Both are very real and important challenges that need quick and decisive action but here’s a hidden secret that not a lot of us realise or if we do know it, rarely actually implement it.
By bringing up the importance of practising mental health exercises to the top of the priority list, this will not only enable you and your staff to handle all the increased problems with a calmer, more focused approach but also be able to solve them sooner as you’ll have a clearer a mind and more energy to tackle the challenges.
Therefore, here are some quick and easy mental exercises you can practice yourself and implement with your team that I’m confident will help reduce the stress levels and have you handle these challenges better.
- Take a curious walk – simply go for a walk outside around your workplace and try to notice five to 10 things you’ve never noticed before. Doing this pulls the mind into the present moment and out of the stressful “thinking mind”. Giving your brain a break and a chance to rest.
- Do a guided meditation – guided meditations are a great option for a mental exercise as all you need to do is follow the directions of the teacher to experience the relief. This is why we made every class at Soul Alive completely guided so that it is as easy as possible for members to experience the benefits of meditation.
- Go to gratitude – gratitude is the trump card in the deck of life. Have you and your team at the beginning and end of the day take five minutes to write a couple of simple things that you are grateful for in your life. By doing so, again it pulls your mind out of the hypothetical world and into a place of actual thankfulness.
If you do make yours and your staff’s mental health a priority right now, I am confident you and your business will be better positioned to succeed in this difficult time.
Luke McLeod, mindfulness & meditation expert and Founder, Soul Alive