Running a business can be stressful, overwhelming and emotionally taxing, which can take a toll on mental health. Because of this, it’s essential that small business owners prioritize mental health wellness.
This National Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about signs of mental health decline and some proactive steps to maintain a clear mind while running a business.
Recognize the Signs
Remember to check in with yourself and ask the all-important question: How do I feel?
- Constantly anxious
- Unable to focus
- Change in weight or appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Disconnected from reality
- Isolated from those you love
Small business owners should also be aware of the impact of stress on their mental health, including burnout, decreased productivity and difficulty when it’s time to make decisions.
But, it’s not just you! Your employees may be feeling a bit overwhelmed as well, thanks to home life, work woes or pre-existing mental issues.
55% of adults with a mental illness have not received any treatment.—Next Step Solutions
Promote mental health wellness in your workplace by:
- Offering resources to your staff to ease the load. Having an Employee Assistance Program to pay an employee’s overdue aftercare bill for their child is one small way to provide big relief. Or offer flexible work hours that allow employees to come in early so they’re available to pick up their children after school.
- Talking about mental health. Mental wellness is not a dirty word but some are still not comfortable admitting things are not going well. By discussing the importance of mental wellness, you create a safe environment where employees can feel safe seeking the support they need.
- Having healthy workplace practices. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If your business is not able to offer discounted gym memberships for employees yet, that’s fine. Start small.
– Offer healthier snack options in the office
– Require hard stops so employees are not working late
– Provide more 10-minute breaks for employees to take a walk
– Dedicate a room in the office for yoga and meditation
Those same healthy practices apply to you as the owner, too. This means knowing when to say when and NOT taking work home with you at the end of the day.
No matter how great you and your staff are on the job, when mental well-being isn’t prioritized, small issues can quickly spiral into large ones.
By prioritizing mental health wellness, business owners are able to create a healthier and overall more productive workplace for themselves and their employees. And when you’re in need of a bit more assistance, there are resources available.
- Headspace and Calm are excellent apps for meditation and mindfulness practices.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers resources and support groups for small business owners struggling with mental health as well as for individuals and families impacted by mental illness.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a resource page dedicated to mental health and wellness for small business owners.
- Mental Health America has a workplace wellness program that offers resources and screening tools for small businesses owners to promote mental health in the workplace.
- The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ+ young people, perfect for those with minors on staff.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides multiple national helplines, a resource locator for individuals seeking mental health services and a guide to navigate the journey to better behavioral health.