Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but like everything that’s incredibly rewarding, the lows are as low as the highs are high. As it takes up such a huge chunk of your life, it can also take a huge toll on your mental health and wellbeing.
In a study by the University of San Francisco, it was found that start-up founders are twice as likely to have depression compared with the rest of the general public. When you’re burning yourself out and blurring the lines between home and work life, there’s really no wonder.
While many tips for maintaining your mental health (e.g. taking time off) are unrealistic for many business owners, we hope our advice is actually applicable, and will make a huge difference to your wellbeing as they become daily habits for success.
Confide in Someone73% of UK SME owners admit to feeling lonely (Ultimate Finance) – with 5.7 million SMEs in the country, 73% is a massive number of people feeling this way.
One of the biggest differences between being self-employed and working for someone else is that you’ve got no one to go to about issues – if anything, people will be coming to you. Forming a strong network around you can help you feel supported.
That’s why finding someone you trust, and who understands what you’re going through, can be incredibly beneficial. If you’re having issues (or even if you’re not!), speak to a member of your family, a friend, or even other business owners – there’s a ton of them over in our Facebook Business Club.
Plan Out Your DayIn an ideal world, you’d get up for work, have a really productive morning, get your lunch at a reasonable time, leave the office by 6 and be home in time to cook a really nutritious meal. But even non-business owners struggle with things like this.
Planning out your day is a great way to keep yourself on track, but you have to plan realistically. How likely are you to skip your lunch because you’ve got an important call? Do you really have time to cook your own homemade soup for dinner? When was the last time you made it out the door by 6?
The life of a business owner can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean your life can’t follow some kind of structure. Set provisional plans and be prepared to change them if you need to. Get stuff in for quick dinners, make the most of your free time to prepare for busier times and prioritise your jobs to avoid wasting time procrastinating.
Stop Being So Hard on YourselfBusiness owners are incredibly critical – and while it can be the key to running a successful business, it can also drain you, especially if you’re constantly criticising yourself. Every time you make a mistake, you’re learning a new way not to do something, a new way to improve yourself.
Remember: no one is perfect at everything. If you’ve got the means to, surround yourself with people who have the skills you lack! A solid team will help take the pressure off and let your skillset shine through!
Rethink 'Normal'How many times a day do you find yourself scrolling through LinkedIn or reading about these amazing entrepreneurs who have found nothing but success for their business ventures? We’re here to burst your bubble – it’s not real! Chances are, they’re only posting the positives; everybody does it.
People aren’t likely to shout about their bad experiences, and will often only focus on the good. But every business owner struggles, so you’re never alone in stress and anxiety! For a refreshing view on the struggles of small business owners, check out this interview with our founders, Adam and James.
Do Something for YouEverything you do is for your business, but sometimes that can mean you wind up resenting your business for taking your free time and out-of-work life from you. It can actually be beneficial to take time to do something for you the person, not you the business owner.
As hard as it can be to fit personal time into your busy schedule, try your best to get at least one thing a week in that’s just for you – like going out after work for drinks with colleagues on a Friday, having a family night at the weekend or even finding the time to cook your favourite meal.
It’s easy to dismiss modern wellbeing practices as an excuse to take bubble baths and light a few candles, which is a common misconception. Actual self-care does involve taking time for yourself, but it’s key to do something productive with that time to help put your mind at ease. Whether that’s planning for the day ahead or being a little self-critical, we hope these top tips help you continue to run a successful business, while maintaining excellent mental health. And remember: good mental health = good healthy business!
If you feel that you’re struggling with your mental health and need more help, get in touch with your GP who will be able to offer professional advice. If you are having suicidal thoughts, get in touch with the Samaritans by calling 116 123.