Running a business can be stressful, demanding and isolating. Without realizing it, your business venture can take a toll on your mental health.
The truth is, hustle culture will put you in fight or flight mode. And no one is going to give up on their business easily. That’s when the early mornings and late nights begin.
Because you can’t pour from an empty glass, it’s important to prioritize yourself. Seems easier said than done, right? That’s why we reached out to a pro for some mental health tips.
Meet Organizing Pro, Jennifer Snyder
Jennifer Snyder is a Certified Professional Organizer, podcaster, teacher, author, creator of the Organizing Academy and owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing & Cleaning in Waco, Texas.
When she’s not rearranging spaces, she’s helping small business owners declutter their minds.
Her company offers entrepreneurs and businesses such services as accountability partnering, efficiency assessments and employee confidence coaching, among others.
I chatted with Snyder about small business problems that can take a toll, and she provided a to-do list of mental health tips that can keep you of sound mind.
1. Commit to Work and Rest
Taking business home is an issue many people face. But for small business owners, drawing boundaries becomes even more difficult. Your family and your employees’ livelihoods depend on your company’s success.
When work stress leaks into home stress, it’s at the expense of your relationships and health.
Snyder suggests confining your work to specific times and locations.
“You should have office hours. If you work better early in the day, do the hard things first and then you take your break,” she says.
It’s so easy to feel the need to be available 24/7. Resist the temptation. Shut down the laptop after hours. Avoid bringing it home if you can.
Snyder suggests even having a separate work and personal phones so you can silence each during the appropriate time. It’s always a good idea to disconnect.
On average, Americans check their phones 344 times per day.
2. Create Your At-Home Space
For those working from home, separating work from home is even more of a headache. Snyder’s solution: NO WORK IN THE BEDROOM.
“Work is our most constant source of stress,” she explains. “So what you’re doing is bringing the energetic stress of work to where you rest — and then you can’t rest. Your sleeping room should always be a sanctuary.”
Create a Productive In-Home Office
- Have plenty of natural light, but position your desk away from the window. Artificial light increases feelings of tiredness, according to a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study, while natural light increases productivity. As for keeping away from the window — that’s just to help you avoid being distracted by the lovely day outside.
- Bring nature inside. A Journal of Environmental Psychology study discovered that people recover from mental fatigue more quickly when looking at nature photos. You can one-up them by bringing actual nature indoors with a plant.
- Photos of cute animals aren’t just for Facebook — they help productivity, too. Researchers at Hiroshima University found evidence that cute baby animal images trigger feelings of being careful. For study participants, that resulted in improved dexterity and visual search test performance. If you’ve got a furry family member at home, consider adding in 10-minute snuggle breaks.
- Warm up your office space. Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory discovered typing errors decreased by 44% and typing output improved by 150% when an office temperature was bumped up from 68 degrees to 77.
- Reduce noise where you can. Noise-canceling headphones can help — and they’re better than listening to music. Surprisingly, an Applied Cognitive Psychology study found listening to music can lessen your ability to absorb new information.
- Paint the walls a subtle color. Bright colors bring up too many emotions, while neutral colors are a wash — they don’t affect productivity one way or the other. Frank Mahnke, author of “Color, Environment & Human Response” notes that light green, like “grayed jade,” is calming and pastel yellow is stimulating but cozy — all helpful for a good work environment.
- Keep your office space clean or messy, depending on your goals. A clean office was viewed as inviting. However, a University of Minnesota study found that subjects in messy offices were more creative than those in tidy ones.
3. Set Realistic Goals & Get an Accountability Partner
It’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed. But having an accountability partner helps make grand goals attainable. They help provide structure so stress and mental strain don’t leave you distracted, overworked and off track.
Mental decluttering is just one of the high-demand services Snyder offers to her clients. By looking at their goals, she reverse engineers them to become actionable steps that lead business owners to where they want to be.
The key, she explains, is to not get discouraged when you miss the mark. “You have to be smart about it,” she says. “Figure out what didn’t work, and make it work.”
Putting These Mental Health Tips Into Practice
The truth is, you can’t grow your business if you have nothing to give. So make sure you’re taking off the many hats you wear as a business owner, and remember to practice self-care. Implementing these mental health tips is a good place to start.
And if it seems a bit hard to take yourself out of every to-do item, seek an end-to-end software that can double as your 24/7 personal assistant.