Entrepreneurship is already a journey of highs and lows on its own. Throw a global pandemic, social isolation, and economic uncertainty into the mix and you have a situation that would take a toll on anyone’s mental health. Between juggling business pivots and a need to always feel “on,” burnout for small business owners has become a real problem.
In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing five ways small business owners can take care of their mental well-being and avoid burnout.
1. Unplug from your phone and computer
We love social media marketing but social media burnout, not so much.
It’s important to post high-quality content consistently to your social feeds but it’s also important to exercise some boundaries with your screens. The good news is that you don’t need to be glued to your phone to update your social media.
Incorporate some of these into your daily and weekly schedule to make sure you’re unplugging:
Designated screen-free times
Create content in batches
Schedule posts ahead of time
2. Practice gratitude
Don’t leave gratitude just for Thanksgiving and special occasions. Studies show that regularly practicing gratitude has many benefits for your mental and physical health.
When it comes to your business, use gratitude as a tool to transform challenges and setbacks into opportunities and learning experiences. Gratitude can help you shift what you’re focusing on and create a new perspective. For example, when businesses were navigating the pandemic, those that focused on gratitude found it easier to apply lessons from the obstacles and adopt new solutions. Not only will this ease the blow of hardships, it will also help you bounce back faster.
To turn gratitude into a habit for you, consider keeping a journal or regularly sharing with family and friends about what you’re grateful for and lessons you have learned from challenges.
3. Connect with your small business community
Being a small business owner can be lonely. Build your support system to include not only family and friends but also a small business community. Having a community of fellow business owners that can relate to triumphs and struggles is helpful for mental health.
Find your community by participating in mentorships, masterminds, and local specialized business organizations to support long-term sustainability and growth. These types of programs provide a safe space to exchange ideas and tools, share feedback and get advice from those further along in their business journey.
4. Don’t compare your business to other businesses
Social media is generally known as being a highlight reel for people and businesses, so it’s no surprise that one of the downsides of spending a lot of time on social platforms can lead to falling into a comparison trap.
No matter what stage your business is in, everyone has to start somewhere and there is no use in comparing yourself to someone who you think has what you don’t.
Instead of comparison which can feel discouraging, use the success of your peers as inspiration for what’s possible and motivation to get there. For example if you want to get more engagement, set a goal to create more content that attracts followers and comments. Look to your competitors to see what’s working for them and put your own twist on it.
As you make progress, don’t forget to give yourself recognition which brings us to our final point...
5. Celebrate business wins
Getting lost in the day-to-day work of running a business can make it easy to overlook small wins and milestones along the way. If you or your team appear to have low morale, chances are that everyone could benefit from celebrating.
Whether you choose to celebrate with yourself, your team, or your customers, the most important thing is to stay motivated.
Here are some examples of small wins to celebrate to get started:
Follower milestones on social media
Create a work-life balance for mental well-being
The best way to treat burnout is to proactively work to prevent it from happening in the first place. Achieve this by finding a work-life balance that allows you to make time for yourself and your loved ones.
Daily well-being practices and small check-ins with yourself throughout the day can make a big difference in improving your overall mental wellness and the well-being of your small business. Try setting a timer every day to check-in with yourself, stand up and stretch, or take a short walk outside.