Cracking the Cost of Living: 5 Ways to look after your mental health as a business owner

Being a business owner has its perks, but building a company requires a lot of energy and attention, which over time can take its toll on your mental health. More business owners and entrepreneurs are reported to be experiencing poor mental health post-pandemic, with higher anxiety and burnout at the top of the list for reasons why.

It’s never been more important to know how to support your mental health and well-being so that you and your business stay on top. To help, we’ve put together 5 easy ways that you can look after your mental health as a business owner. 

Why being a business owner can affect mental health negatively

Let’s talk about this. When you go into business, the start of the journey isn’t always smooth sailing. There are financial implications to consider, which is reported to be the biggest contributor to poor mental health amongst business owners.

With finances playing a significant role in keeping your business afloat and running, it’s no surprise that as a business owner, you feel the intense pressure and responsibility to succeed. Without the right mental health tools in place, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with the everyday stresses of running a business, which can ultimately lead to the business’ detriment too. 

The importance of mental health to successfully running a business 

Business owners who experience poor mental health such as higher levels of anxiety, and disrupted sleep are more likely to develop substance abuse, panic attacks, increased feelings of burnout, and symptoms of depression. 

It’s therefore easy to see why it’s so important to implement effective strategies to ensure you’re in the right headspace to optimise the success of your business. Strong mental health lets you prepare effectively for any new challenges thrown at you and allows you to cope with these instances much more calmly. 

5 Ways to look after your mental well-being while running a business

  1. Communication and relationships 

Relationships are key to practicing good mental health. It’s easy to get swept under whilst running a business, especially during the early stages where it’s all go go go. But it’s crucial to take some time out and hang out with your loved ones. 

Schedule that long overdue coffee with a friend, make plans for a Friday night, or organise a group activity. Getting some space from the craziness of work will do you the world of good and get you back to feeling recharged and in a better headspace.  

  1. Bursts of exercise 

We’re not breaking the mould here – exercise is great for your mental and physical health. But, finding the time or the energy to do this is often what puts people off. Did you know that even just 4 minutes can have a positive impact on your mood and alleviate stress? 

The Tabata method, created by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, suggests exercising at 100% effort for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second break, and repeating this 8 times. And that’s it! You could do this while you boil the kettle or after you blast out a few emails, whatever time you find in the day – it’s a manageable way to decompress and benefit your health. 

Next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, try this technique and see how you feel after!

  1. Workspace

Our surroundings can influence our mental health. If you’re spending the majority of your day at work, then it’s important to consider the environment you’re working in too. 

Making small changes like introducing calming colours like green and orange; introducing more open space, and moving your desk to a window or into a brighter area will not only help you feel more relaxed and calm, but are proven to reduce irritability, increase productivity and protect your mindset. 

  1. Take regular breaks

After around 25 minutes, your brain seeks a break, and listening to your brain can do all the good to your mental health. Don’t be afraid to take or schedule them in. Allow yourself to reset your batteries, as well as your mind. 

It’s been found that taking regular breaks not only boosts creativity and productivity, but also improves concentration and restores your ability to focus. Ensure your burning passion can continue to burn and your business can continue to glow.  

  1. Boundaries 

Post-pandemic, a lot of how we work has changed. The increase in remote working means that face-to-face interactions have decreased with colleagues, clients, and employees, meaning it’s become that bit more challenging to switch off. 

Creating much-needed boundaries between your business and personal life will help restore some balance and ensure you’re not constantly consumed by work. 

The following steps could make all the difference to your mental health: 

  • Turning off your laptop, computer, or phone at specific times to avoid checking emails.
  • Taking time off when you feel overwhelmed and putting your mental health first.
  • Keeping your workspace and personal space separate.
  • Only work during working hours and be strict with this type of routine so you rest properly.

Where to find support when you’re feeling low or under pressure

It’s never too late to seek support. Your mental health is a priority and you should never feel embarrassed when you put your mind first. There are many options out there to help business owners and entrepreneurs with their mental health including: 

  • Confiding in friends, family or colleagues
  • Speaking with your GP and requesting a referral to a mental health care professional 
  • Reaching out to mental health charities such as Mind, Samaritans, For Men to Talk, and WISH for mental health tools and advice 
  • Use online resources such as Mental Health At Work to access digital toolkits and mental well-being guides
  • If you’re struggling with addiction of any sort, use resources like Rehab 4 Addiction to help start your recovery.

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful and for more information and advice about good mental health, have a look at the Mental Health Foundation website.