Most people start a business because it’s something they’re excited or passionate about. Few entrepreneurs plan for the chronic stress and anxiety that often follows. And in today’s pandemic, this can be a recipe for disaster. Do you have a plan for managing the emotions you’re feeling?
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Stress and Anxiety Among SBOs Reaching an All-Time High
Small business owners have always been prone to high levels of stress and anxiety. The pressures of running a business are real and no entrepreneur is fully insulated from the effects of high expectations, issues, and uncontrollable circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis has done nothing but exacerbate what was already lying underneath the surface all these years.
Here are a few of the top findings from new Gallup research:
- Business owners across the board are experiencing more daily stress than they were prior to the start of the pandemic. Before COVID-19, 45 percent of male business owners reported daily stress. That figure is now 51 percent. For female business, there’s been an even larger increase – from 38 percent prior to the crisis to 62 percent today.
- Overall, 25 percent of small business owners say their mental health has gotten worse since the COVID-19 started.
Between financial challenges, health issues, and restrictions that make it difficult to operate in a normal capacity, this crisis has been rough on every small business. But it doesn’t have to ruin your company. It’s all about how you respond.
4 Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
You can’t do anything about the COVID-19 pandemic and other uncontrollable factors, but there’s plenty that you can do to reduce stress and anxiety. Here are a few ideas:
Get Some Exercise
Few things have a more positive impact on your mental health as exercise. It pumps your body full of endorphins (the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters), fights the physical effects of stress on the body, promotes mental clarity, and improves mood.
Any exercise is good, but you can maximize the benefits by doing some cardio early in the morning before starting the workday. This puts your brain in a positive frame of mind and helps you feel better throughout the day (physically and mentally).
There’s also something to be said for exercising in the late afternoon or early evening as a way of burning off stress. (Though you shouldn’t exercise too close to bedtime or you may have trouble winding down prior to sleep.)
Learn to Delegate
You have to relinquish some control. As your business grows, you can’t continue doing all of the tasks that you once did. There simply isn’t enough time in the day. (And it increases your stress level.)
The solution is to delegate tasks that eat up your time and can be outsourced inexpensively. This might include content creation and social media.
Any sort of recurring administrative tasks you have on your to-do list – like scheduling meetings, answer customer emails, or even bookkeeping – are ripe for delegation.
Make a list of three tasks that you can delegate to save time and immediately start the process of finding freelancers or part-time workers to handle them. You’ll feel a wave of relief wash over you.
Choose the Proper Tools
There are tools, apps, and software that can help streamline mundane and time-consuming tasks that eat away at your time and leave you feeling frazzled. Look for tools that organize information and improve visibility. A social intranet solution, like Happeo, is one good option. It serves as a centralized hub for communication and information – giving you the ability to see the inner workings of your company. (Which dramatically reduces anxiety over the unknown.)
Shift Your Mindset
At the end of the day, you may need to shift your mindset. Identify your stressors and what makes you feel most anxious. Then find a way to reframe these problems so that you’re spending more time looking at issues as opportunities.
Adding it All Up
Stress and anxiety are not to be taken lightly. While the aforementioned tips may prove helpful, it’s important that you speak with your doctor about healthy ways you can fight back. A counselor or therapist may be able to provide you with some constructive exercises, as well. Never try to self-medicate. The right combination of healthy habits and targeted medical advice from qualified professionals will help.