Contributed by: Thomas Granswein
Description: Small business owners are vulnerable to mental health problems like stress, depression, and anxiety. As an entrepreneur, how do you deal with them? Learn the risk factors for mental health and the effective workplace strategies of dealing with them!
Running a small business is not a walk in the park. As rewarding as entrepreneurship may look, considering that you get to decide who to work with and you also get to set your own hours; however, the pressure that comes with managing a small business can take a toll on you.
Ask any successful entrepreneur around and they will tell you the journey is not easy. You have to deal with financial stress, long hours of work, professional isolation, and you may find yourself with limited time to spend with your family. And if you think this is something that can be brushed off easily, think again. The stress that comes with running a small business can have devastating effects on your mental health.
According to mental health statistics, entrepreneurs are at a higher risk of having depression and anxiety compared to the general population. What this means is that many business owners today are stressed by the problems of managing their businesses, and most of them are without access to support.
In fact, not many people know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems. If you are there wondering ‘is stress a mental illness?’ then consider yourself part of the statistics. Stress itself is not an illness, but there is a connection between stress and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. In fact, stress can cause depression.
What Are The Mental Health Risk Factors
There is growing mental health awareness – and some risk factors for mental health problems by small business owners have been identified as follows:
- Overwhelming work responsibilities
- Professional isolation
- Financial pressures arising from having unpredictable income
- Long hours of work
- Business failure
The above-mentioned risk factors can cause a small business owner to have stress, which can then develop into depression. The effects of the stress will be multiplied once the business owner becomes unable to operate the business and ends up losing their income source.
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
If you find that you are slowly sinking into depression because of one or more of the risk factors mentioned above, then the following is what you can do to help you alleviate the problem. Consider this your mental health first aid kit for small business owners:
Try Solving One Problem At A Time
Running a business can be quite challenging and you will find yourself being bombarded with problems left, right, and center. These job-related problems might be the ones that got you depressed in the first place. An effective workplace strategy is to deal with the problems one at a time rather than attacking the whole hoard at once. You will create momentum by solving one problem and moving on to the next one and this will encourage you to continue facing challenges head-on. You will have less stress when you solve problems affecting your small business.
Make Sure You Get Enough Rest/Sleep
As a small business owner, chances are you are so busy that you barely have enough time to rest/sleep. However, working long hours can get you exhausted and demoralized. Presenteeism is even worse because it negatively impacts on both your physical and mental health. Many small job owners tend to sacrifice their sleep when things aren’t working out with the business and decide to work long hours. This is a wrong move because it will eventually aggravate the problem. Besides, you will not be able to function well when your mind is tired, and that is how stress takes over you and, before you know it, depression kicks in! Therefore, always ensure you get enough sleep so that your mind stays fresh and rejuvenated.
Simplify Your Business
If you have many services on offer, such that it is becoming difficult for you to provide them to your clients accordingly without compromising on your health, then it is advisable that you simplify your business. Try to keep it simple at least until you are ready to hire people to help you. Let’s be realistic, you cannot do everything by yourself. Soon enough, you will get exhausted, both physically and mentally, and you won’t be able to run that business you love so much.
Remember not to overwork yourself. You can also create time for leisure to let your mind cool off. Play your favorite game, watch a movie, go for a walk, or engage in a sport—anything you can do to get your mind off the pressures of work, do it!
Thomas Granswein (Author’s Bio)
Thomas Granswein is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, with many years of experience in psychology and business strategies. He likes to write articles on these topics. He helps not only readers with bits of advice, but also hold seminars for small business owners. The purpose of Thomas’s life is to be useful, and he does it.