COVID-19 is impacting many small business owners. They are dealing with major issues such as temporary shutdowns and loss of sales. They have had to think creatively to find new ways to source business income, negotiate with stakeholders such as landlords and suppliers and deal with staff. Small business owners carry many responsibilities and obligations on their shoulders. In these difficult times many small business owners are reporting high levels of stress.
Unchecked stress can lead to major health issues such as anxiety, depression, headaches and even heart disease. If you are under too much stress it is likely that you will not be able to think clearly when making major decisions for your business. The following advice is worth considering.
Take a Step Back
Over the last few months you’ve faced an unprecedented situation and probably had to make some difficult decisions. You’ve probably been given some curveballs in your personal life as well. You might have kids or flatmates stuck at home with you.
You might feel compelled to stay busy every moment of every day but one of the best pieces of advice amid the mayhem is this – if you’re stressed, step back, even for an hour. If you overwork yourself at home, you will not be able to unwind at the end of the day. You’ll be unable to reduce your stress and gain the clarity needed to plan for the next day, week or month. If it’s meditating or simply having a cup of tea that calms you down, then do that for yourself. If you’ve had little sleep for days, take a nap. You can only look after others and navigate your business once you’ve looked after yourself.
Prioritise and Set Small Goals
Write down what you need to do right now and prioritise the key activities. Then set smaller goals that align with those priorities. You’ll understand what you need to do each day. Repeat this process as often as needed. For example, you may like to sit down on a Sunday to look back at how things went over the week and then prepare your plan for the week ahead.
Set a Routine
It may be difficult to set a routine if your life has been turned upside down. Nevertheless, try to maintain a set sleep and wake cycle. Other regular activities can also help reduce stress and promote productivity. Be sure to schedule in time for a bit of exercise and time with the kids and partner. It’s important to keep these relationships healthy.
To some it may seem like a no-brainer but for many people exercise means that you have less time and inclination for drinking alcohol, smoking and binge eating during times of stress. Build activity into your routine especially if you’re someone who isn’t normally keen on exercise. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels. There’s many ways you can exercise without having to go to a gym. Take a walk or run, cycle or do some Pilates at home.
It can be tempting to binge eat or eat poorly when you’re stressed. However eating well will actually help you think clearly. Cut down on sugars and refined carbs. Whole grains can help you sustain energy throughout the day by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. The soluble fiber in whole grains forms a gel in your digestive tract. They add consuming whole-grains can help lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and reduce cholesterol.
Rather than dwell on what’s gone wrong, try thinking ahead and planning what you want to do when restrictions are lifted. Up-skill or read up about new ideas. During times of change, it’s important to be open-minded and flexible. Be thankful for what you have even if it is your health and safety.
Seek Professional Support if required
If you still find yourself struggling after heeding this advice, consider seeking professional support from your GP. Your GP can refer you to other professional services such as a psychologist or counselor. Remember, it’s OK to seek mental health support. It’s normal and often it can be very useful to see someone. Phone or video consults are common so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s undoubtedly a tough time for many right now. By taking actions to your stress levels, you and your business will benefit. If you are after more mental health resources for the current COVID-19 period, check out my blog Healthy Minds.
“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."