ZOOM fatigue. Never-ending workdays (or workweeks, for that matter.) Financial losses.
At this point, you’ve read it or heard it about a million times, but it’s worth re-stating… These are uncertain and unprecedented times. It’s hard to know what to expect from one day to the next, complicating all of our plans for the future, both personal and professional.
And even as parts of the country begin to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are far from returning to “business as usual.” The end result- increased stress and anxiety.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are already more likely to experience mental strain. Factor in things like financial risk, the self-isolation in the early stages of building a business, and equating self-worth with the success of one’s business, it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report experiencing a mental health condition. During this pandemic, the tension between having to slow down and the need to still make money has only added to already high levels of mental stress.
So what better time than now, during Mental Health Awareness Month, to talk about some of the ways we can enhance our mental well-being, while also running our businesses.
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness has become quite the buzzword over the last decade, but trust me, there’s a reason for it. It’s really all about training your brain to slow down and take stock of what’s happening in the moment, rather than succumbing to overwhelm, and meditation is a great way to do that. I highly recommend apps like Headspace and Calm for meditation newbies as well as one of my podcast favorites, Meditation Minis, that has a variety of guided meditations that often take 10 minutes or less.
Exercise. Even in the age of social distancing, there are ways to get your heart rate up and get those endorphins going. Jump rope, search YouTube for free fitness videos, or take a walk around the block. Just 10 or 15 minutes can really make a difference in your mood, energy level, and your ability to stay focused on what you do best in your business.
Give back. If you’ve suffered from any bouts of depression, I’ve found that this is one of the best ways to take the focus off yourself. It just feels good to do something for someone else, and there are plenty of opportunities to help right now, even virtually. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt, if possible, to make a donation to a worthy relief organization in your company’s name.
Join a community. Entrepreneurs and business owners often feel alienated in times of crisis because they are usually shouldering the burden for the entire company, so having a some sort of support network is critical. Why not join a group like our DBC Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/757161184654309/) to not only gain business insight, but to have a safe space to share the challenges you may be facing. And if you are in a particularly niche industry, you may want to even start a group of your own. Solopreneurs, who might be even susceptible to loneliness, both as a result of working by themselves and this time of self-isolation, might really benefit from a group connection.
Implement a mental health [business] strategy. With the U.N. warning us about a global mental health crisis, there’s never been a better time to start thinking about what this could mean for not only you, but your employees. Whether that means adopting a mental health policy or adjusting your work culture, the net result could include both healthier team members and a healthier bottom line.
Ask for help. Right now, asking for help could mean simply letting go of a little control and delegating a bit more. But if you’re really struggling with anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, it could also mean taking advantage of online therapy options like Better Help or Talk Space; calling a crisis services hotline; or even finding a trusted friend that you can confide in… He or she may not be able to provide you with professional help, but they may be willing to support you while you seek help.
Just remember, you can’t put your best foot forward in your business if you’re not also taking care of yourself.
For more information, check out these resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
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