During these uncertain times, it is imperative that business owners focus on themselves and their mental health. It is OK to be feeling the stress and emotions that come with the uncertainty of the future of your business, but focusing on methods to cope could be the ticket to both business and mental health success. While it may be tempting to throw all you have into maintaining the business, it is equally important to take the time to ensure you are also feeling and doing OK. As they say, you can't pour from an empty cup.
Here at Bsale, we have spoken to some experts in the business and mental health fields and compiled their recommendations on ensuring your mental health does not suffer during these uncertain times. We have put together 7 strategies to help you and your business cope during COVID-19.
1. Don't be Scared to Outsource
Lisa Johnson of Asami Engagement Psychology suggests that business owners who manage their time effectively tend to have good levels of self awareness, self reflection, innovation and insight. One of the best time management strategies is is to explore “what is actually important and put it first”. Knowing thy self and delegating least preferred activities and chores to someone with more expertise, time and focus is essential. Having the belief that you need to be the “jack of all trades,” as a business owner can be a detrimental mindset. It can lead to self limiting beliefs, psychological distress, inefficiency and ultimately poor work/life outcomes.
2. Think Positive
Nick Bendel owner of Hunter & Scribe's number one tip for managing mental health is to remember that events are neutral until we put a label on them. If you attach positive labels to events, you’re going to feel happier and calmer.
For example, Nick runs a content marketing agency, and it’s become harder to sign clients since the economic downturn started – but he has attached a positive label to this event.Nick's story is this: clients that he signs during booms might stop investing in marketing when the economy weakens … but any clients he signs during this downturn will surely keep investing when the economy strengthens.
3. Don't be so Hard on Yourself
Vanessa Lovie is the CEO of Bsale.com.au and recommends during this crisis to have a wider perspective. The Coronavirus is affecting businesses all around the world not just yours. It is affecting your clients, supply businesses, employees, competitors, there is a ripple effect across all industries. Whilst some are thriving during the pandemic, others have doors closed or incomes reduced. Just realise this will pass and be prepared when business resumes. Don't feel the pressure or stress to live up to others expectations, look at your business and what your business needs over next 6 months. Most businesses are long term, we have been around 20 years. This 6-12 months of downturn will be ok if you can manage your expenses.
4. Use Breathing Techniques To Calm Down
Vanessa Giannos CEO of The HR Experts writes that the first thing to know is under stress our Executive Brain does not function well. Our limbic system (or emotional brain) has taken the driver seat. It is NEVER a good idea to make business decisions when emotional. We need to take action quickly. So it is critical to relax the limbic system. When we are stressed or frightened, we breathe shallowly and this provides a negative feedback loop to the brain that the organism is still in danger. The second component that drives stress is our own thoughts and perceptions. When stressed we tend to catastrophise and play the nasty “what if” game, continually buying into the negative vicious thought cycle keeps the stress loop on high alert. So, we need to do things to reverse the negative feedback loop and enable our Executive brain to come back online. There are two main ways to do this quickly. The first is breathing Deeply for at least 5 minutes. Slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of five, hold for two counts, slowly release breath through mouth for a count of seven, hold and repeat. Your stomach should be moving not your chest and shoulders. Once you have breathing under control, start to notice the thoughts running through your head. Don’t bother arguing or trying to push them away, they just get worse! Just allow the thoughts without attaching to them. I often get my clients to laugh at the thoughts if it is appropriate. However, people often find this difficult when deeply stressed. So instead I suggest listen to calming music, lay down or sit comfortably, close your eyes and choose a wonderful scene to create in your imagination. Engage all your senses, breath deeply. Keep building this image in your head for at least ten minutes. You will feel immediately more relaxed. And If you do this a few times a day, you will become less stressed and your Executive mind can get back in the drivers seat to make those tough calls.
5. Reflect on What You Are Grateful For
Karl Eastring of Big Gratitude Experiment argues that during turbulent and stressful times, our minds naturally fall into the fight-or-flight mode, which hinders our decision-making ability and overall mental health. Gratitude is a scientifically proven antidote to that while being accessible to all. Regardless of how hard your day was, try to write down at least three things you are grateful for. It might be your clients, who continue staying loyal to your business. It might be your employees, who go the extra mile. Or it might be your family, that continues to emotionally support you no matter what. Taking just a couple minutes for this simple exercise helps to shift the mindset from problems to opportunities, lower the overall stress level, strengthen relationships, and build resilience.
6. Grow Something!
Anita Van Rooyen, Human Behaviour Expert of AnitaVanRooyen.com advises that it’s very easy to forget that we actually will get through this… growing something, even if it’s just the green bits from carrot tops or avocado seeds, means that we are focusing on the brighter future ahead of us. Growing vegetables in pots, like quick growing lettuce seedlings etc, is even better and reminds us that when we nurture nature, she nurtures us right back.
7. Best of all, Laugh!
Heidi Dening, Speaker, Author and Educator of HeidiDening.com suggests that we have to do what it takes to stay mentally healthy so we can exude calmness, reason and optimism amongst the panic. One way to do that is by laughing out loud every day. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and scared and that’s why we must find a way each day to have a good giggle. Do you have a funny person in your life that you could have a 3 minute chat with? Luckily for Heidi, she is married to an Irish Leprechaun who continuously cracks her up but if you can’t get yourself one of those, find yourself a funny person online. She personally LOVES Celeste Barbour and she certainly makes us laugh out loud every day.
During these times it is easy to become overwhelmed, but ensuring that you care for your own mental health as a business owner is vital to ensure you can lead your businesses and staff. One must do what it takes to stay mentally healthy so we you exude calmness, reason and optimism amongst the panic.
If at any time, you feel as though you need more support, you can turn to any of the institutions listed below, Australia wide for mental health support.
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
LifeLine on 131114
Mindspot on 18004434
About the Experts
Lisa Johnson of Asami Engagement Psychology
Lisa combines over 20 years’ experience in complimentary medicine and counselling with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours and Counselling Major) and Masters of Organisational Psychology.
Nick Bendel owner of Hunter & Scribe
Nick is the owner of Hunter & Scribe, a marketing agency for small businesses. He specialises in content marketing, web development and graphic design.
Heidi Dening, Speaker, Author and Educator of HeidiDening.com
Heidi Dening is an inspiring keynote speaker, author of a best-selling self-leadership book called ‘Her Middle Name Is Courage’, and experienced educator who is currently on a crusade to make sure organisations and their people are resilient enough to come out of these stressful, uncertain and changeable times.
Anita Van Rooyen, Human Behaviour Expert of AnitaVanRooyen.com
Anita van Rooyen is an Australian-based Human Behaviour Expert, Confidence Coach, Chief Confidence Hacker and Creator of The Corona Courses – two mindset courses to help people manage their fear and anxiety caused by the COVID19 ‘Pandemic of Panic’ and “Lockdown Meltdown”. www.social-wellbeing.com
Dmitry Golubnichy founder of Big Gratitude Experiment
Dmitry Golubnichy is the positive psychology mastermind on the mission to help people become a happier version of themselves. Apart from the Big Gratitude Experiment, his award-winning projects like the HIGH5 TEST and 100happydays challenge have improved the wellbeing of over 10 000 000 people across the world.
Vanessa Lovie CEO of Bsale Australia
We have been assisting business owners, brokers and franchise groups in advertising their opportunities over the past 20 years. We have over 10,000+ opportunities currently for sale on bsale.
Vanessa Giannos CEO of The HR Experts
Vanessa is a Human and Organisational Transformational Expert, having developed a wealth of Senior HR, Organisational and Personal Development expertise from her local and global HR experiences over the last 25 plus years.