The global pandemic severely affected markets around the world and, in many areas, small businesses remain one of the worst-hit categories. Financial uncertainty, operational changes, and remote working have changed the way that many business owners were able to operate. While some of those changes were temporary, others may have long-lasting effects.
All these forces have caused some small businesses to shut down temporarily and others to close operations permanently. Small business owners and employees alike may have experienced new or worsening mental health struggles; do not hesitate to seek professional guidance or consider going to therapy if you feel the need to improve your mental health.
Following are some at-home mental health and wellness practices that can help you care for your general well-being while you are rebuilding your small business and moving it forward.
Take time off after work hours
Business owners are more likely to worry and work on the business outside regular hours, since they may feel more responsible for it. It may feel like your business never sleeps and the work never ends.
Try to impose personal boundaries, even if it’s just closing the lid of your laptop or keeping your phone to the side for certain hours. This could provide much-needed relief and calmness to the body and mind. Overburdening yourself to achieve certain goals might give you happiness for a day but in the long run, it can negatively affect your mental health.
Try to keep your work hours fixed and take sufficient time off before sleeping or getting back to work. Spending time with your family and loved ones, chatting with an old friend, or just simply going for a walk could free up your mind and actually make you more productive later.
Take up different hobbies
A small business owner may develop a single-minded focus on their business, without realizing the importance of other activities. When you take up new hobbies, it can positively impact your mental health. Try learning new recipes if you are interested in cooking, join a Zoom meditation or exercise class, or simply indulge in decluttering your home office.
Carving out a time period dedicated to yourself helps develop a positive attitude and takes your mind off the little things at work.
Some business owners will find it difficult to cope with the pressures of handling a business at some point or another. While many owners feel the need to project strength and certainty at all times, you may find that your employees are more understanding and empathetic when you are honest.
Practicing vulnerability and transparency with your employees every once in a while, when appropriate, can positively impact your relationships and may offer up perspectives you would not have experienced otherwise.
Speaking with employees honestly about potential pitfalls and hearing their concerns will likely make you a stronger company overall. Validating and sharing employees’ feelings and opinions can garner more respect than steamrolling them in an attempt to project confidence or strength.
Particularly during remote work times, but really all the time, it can be mutually beneficial to create and foster an environment of respect and collaboration. Encouraging employees to get to know you and each other may look different for each company, but consider setting up situations in which every voice can be heard.
Communication between yourself and your employees as well as among employees may seem like a minor issue, but workplace environments can affect whether or not someone takes or keeps a job. Open communication lines will help new, creative ideas to flourish, and a boss who is receptive to questions and criticism may be more likely to hear about potential problems before it is too late to fix them.
Maintain physical health
Work pressure and demands of owning a business may make it harder to eat healthily and enough times per day. Try to pay attention to the diet that you feel inspires you to do your best work and keep your energy up all day. Skipping meals or eating on the go can make some people feel unfocused or drowsy.
Many people emphasize fruit, vegetables, and nuts as snacks that keep you going, rather than those that give you a quick high and then a crash. While not everyone has access to the same nutritional opportunities, simply being mindful of what and when you eat could help you to notice patterns and what works best for you.
Delegate and outsource work
Worrying about your business extensively might lead you to believe that you need to fix everything yourself. Instead, delegate work and try to create a fair division so that productivity is maximized.
With remote working and the reduced workforce at some small businesses, you may be able to plug holes by outsourcing your work through freelancers or third-party organizations.
Don’t compromise on sleep
Exercising, practicing mindfulness, consuming a healthy diet, and taking time for yourself are some ways to tackle mental fatigue. However, all of their benefits could go down the drain if you do not maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
Sleeping for a few hours and bragging about it to others might make you feel accomplished at times, but it could ruin the following day when you doze off before an important meeting in the afternoon. Maintaining a fixed sleep schedule will help to keep you well-rested before the onslaught begins each day. The overworking culture may feel effective and impressive for a short time, but it is likely to catch up and knock you down in a huge wave.
Following these tips can go a long way in maintaining one’s well-being. Small businesses have seemed to particularly suffer due to lockdown restrictions, but this may also provide an opportunity for owners to look at the way they run things and improve not only their business but their own mental and physical health.