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5 mental health tips for small business owners

According to the Small Business Owners and Mental Health Report from the Australian Government almost one in three (28%) of SME participants reported a diagnosis of mental health issues such as depression, stress or anxiety. It’s not very surprising that one of the key drivers of stress for small business owners is financial pressure. 

Especially in the current climate, a lot of small businesses have suffered a decrease in revenue and are struggling to stay afloat. The increasing level of economic uncertainty is further fuelling the financial stress of small business owners.

If you are a small business owner and are currently struggling with your mental health, here are 5 mental help tips to support you: 

1. Spend more quality time with your family

One thing that business owners often have in common is that they tend to spend most of their time running their business, which is often unavoidable, especially in the current situation. But often one forgets that spending time with the family can really help to put things into perspective. It can remind you of what is most important. And help to distract your thoughts (at least temporarily) from any business related stressors and give you a much needed break. 

While we are all limited in what we can do during times of lockdown, there are fun activities that you can do together with your family on a daily basis. Whether it’s playing a game, going for a walk or swim, cooking a meal or baking a cake, watching a movie together etc. Just pick one family activity per day that allows you to disconnect from it all and recharge your batteries. 

2. Eat well, move, sleep, repeat 

It might sound like a broken record but it really does hold true. Make sure you get the right balance of soul and whole foods! According to the Cleveland Clinic, getting the adequate nutrients and vitamins from whole foods can help to regulate your stress hormones such as cortisol. Which in turn can reduce symptoms such as anxiety and depression and improve your overall well being. Try to avoid eating any foods that could trigger your immune system’s inflammatory response. These foods can also lead to an increase in cortisol and therefore a feeling of stress. Foods and drinks to avoid or limit include alcohol, caffeine, high-sugar foods, simple carbs, such as cakes and pastries and soda. 

To further reduce stress and anxiety, make sure to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. For example, do a daily 30 min walk in nature and keep a healthy sleep routine. Getting enough sleep isn’t always easy when you’re that busy with business and life. But try to stick to a daily routine by going to bed at the same time each night. And try to avoid any screen time at least one hour before going to bed. 

3. Get on top of your finances 

With financial stress being one of the key triggers impacting mental health, it’s important to face financial problems rather than ignoring them. Because financial stressors tend to get worse when left ignored. Some steps you can take to get on top of your finances include:

  • Conducting a financial audit of your current situation to identify any problem areas
  • Cutting unnecessary costs where possible
  • Invoicing clients upfront or part of the invoices upfront 
  • Putting a concrete plan in place for paying off debt (in case you have any) 
  • Consider short-term business funding to fill the gap or fund growth opportunities 

According to mental health research from the Australian Government, many business owners have changed the way of operating their business in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 17% of the participating businesses reported that they were able to find new growth opportunities. If this is the case for you and you are looking for a trusted online business lender, check out our tailored business funding solutions at Lumi. We can offer you business loan options on flexible terms. Whether you’re looking to boost your cash flow, cover staff wages, invest in renovation or new business equipment, we can tailor a business finance solution to your individual business needs. 

4. Ask for help 

In case you’re feeling hopeless, overwhelmed and can’t find relief from any of the mental health coping mechanisms, it might be a good idea to reach out for help! Help can come from anywhere, whether that’s your family or friends, your GP or any other health care professional that can support you throughout this time. 

The same mental health research from the Australian Government mentioned above also indicated that mental health related issues were often under-reported by small business owners. Especially in surveys where they stated to be “fine” while during the in depth interviews they reported signs of mental health struggles such as the inability to sleep etc. While small business owners might be open and tolerant about prioritising mental health of their staff members, they often keep their own problems to themselves. 

Your mental health is a priority! Please know that there’s absolutely no shame in needing support when your mental health is at a breaking point. 

For immediate help, reach out to:

5. Help someone else 

They often say “the secret to happiness is helping others”. Whether you believe in good karma or not. Helping someone else, especially in times of crisis, can also help you cope better with your own situation. According to scientific research the benefit may be partly explained by the simple fact that it is easier to get one’s mind off problems and losses in life by helping others. 

Helping others can also improve your support system and introduce you to people who might face similar challenges. It also encourages you to be more active in the community. And it genuinely helps you to become more aware of other people’s mental health as well as your own. 

In case you need support with your business finance, feel free to reach out to our team. We’d be very happy to discuss options to help you and your business thrive. You can reach us via email at support@lumi.com.au or via phone on 1300 00 5864.

Your Lumi team

Post Author: Vanessa Muller

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