I have worked with many business owners during my time at ActionCOACH, and a recurring theme is a lack of time and the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of work they need to do. This can very quickly lead to stress and tension both in the workplace and at home. Whilst ownership of your own business is a real achievement, focusing only on the good parts is a disservice to business owners who understand all too well the harder, and often lonely sides of business ownership—especially during the last 6 months!
I have talked to so many business owners who are so busy taking care of their employees that they forget to take care of themselves. Because most business owners feel responsible for not only their own livelihoods, but also those of their employees, they’re more likely to experience stress, have a poor work-life balance and suffer from anxiety. So, along with the financial insecurity, health concerns and feelings of isolation that nearly everyone has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners feel all those worries, on top of taking care of their employees.
In my view, looking after your own mental health is just as important as any other aspects of business development we cover here at ActionCOACH. Re-evaluating your personal and work habits, ensuring you have a healthy mind and the right mindset to build your business! Here are a few ways I believe business owners can ensure they look after of their own mental health:
Have a clear divide between work and home
This is essential to avoid burnout, and even more so when so many of us are working from home and potentially finding it more difficult to achieve balance. Having a structured default diary with specific hours in which you commit to work and various tasks, and when its time to go home, switch off all your work devices and notifications. This is now your time, so use it to relax and re-energise!
Get out and see the world every day
You will not only be taking care of your physical health, but also your mental health. Whether jogging, going for a walk, cycling to work, nearly any form of exercise helps relieve stress, will also help reduce internal tension and improve your mood.
Make a note!
Writing down your thoughts and feelings when challenges are on your mind can really help, and enables you to become more mindful of your thoughts too. Doing this is a great way to park those issues that are becoming overwhelming. I always ask myself two questions… is it real or hypothetical? And can I do something about it now? Asking yourself these questions will help you to write the concern down, and plan how you can deal with it at the right time. Those who struggle with anxiety, stress or depression can especially benefit from this practice.
Find a focus
We talk a lot at ActionCOACH about planning; focus sheets; and eating those frogs (doing the things you really don’t want to do!). Having a plan and also ticking items off your action list can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment—even lifting a weight off your shoulders that you’ve allowed to rest there for too long. Effective delegation of admin tasks that could be done cheaper and more effectively by others is also a great idea!
Invest in yourself
Learning a new business-related skill, like social media marketing, that can boost your business, or tackle a big project that you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t had the time to complete. Learning new skills will not only help your business, but also help to change your personal beliefs about what you can accomplish going forward.
Each of us has our own way of dealing with the uncertainty of hard times, so be patient with yourself as you find what works best for you. Even if you’ve been feeling fairly optimistic, don’t underestimate the importance of caring for your mental health.
Self-employed business owners find it a challenge to take a day off. ActionCOACH has hundreds of strategies to support you in building your business, helping you to find more time because being in business should give you more to life.