Following on from my post a few weeks ago on bullying in the workplace and its effects on my husband, I wanted to share our self care tips for good mental health as a business owner. Often as business owners we are so busy worrying about everyone else we forget just how important we are to our businesses, when we should be making ourselves a priority.
Self Care For Good Mental Health As A Business Owner
Often the first thing to suffer as a business owner, is the boundaries we have in place and insist on for our staff. Our staff work restricted hours, but most business owners do not, in fact you will often find business owners working double the amount of hours we expect our staff to work.
This happens for several reasons, there is no one else who can do the work or we feel we cannot afford to outsource, or we need help learning to delegate. Whatever the reason, it is essential that you find the help you need to set yourself some boundaries around working time.
This may not look like a typical 9-5 working week, instead you might set restrictions like leaving your phone off until 7am, or turning your phone off at 5pm. Boundaries need to be realistic, don’t set anything that you couldn’t possibly abide by. For example there is no way I could not check my emails for the weekend, so I set a boundary of checking only on Saturday and Sunday morning and not answering anything that can wait.
Try setting a few small boundaries in place, and ask for help sticking to them. Your good mental health as a business owner depends on this.
Plan A Holiday
This is a tricky one for most small businesses, we think that our business cannot cope with us gone. For many of us the work load is too full for us to even consider taking a break, but what if I told you that this simply isn’t true? What if I told you that you need breaks to keep you fresh and working to your optimum. What if I went as far as to say, if you are not scheduling holidays at least once a year, you aren’t doing business right?
Some of you will be offended by the above statement, however at the risk of upsetting a few, the truth needs to be shared. If your business is so reliant on you to be there every day, you’re doing it wrong and for your own health and safety, you need help to get it on the right track.
Then there are (and this is really typical in tradies businesses) those who live to work. I get this, I love what I do and am happy to work every day at it, but when I do I get stale. But I also get blind, I can’t see that I am getting stale and it takes the break to show me that I have.
Regardless of why you don’t take breaks, you need to change, for you, your family and your business. Why not try adding an extra day to the next long weekend. I mean one day isn’t going to ruin a stable business? Then schedule in a 4 day weekend that isn’t a long weekend. If you stretch it over a Friday and a Monday, that’s only 1 day a week for two weeks.
From there plan a week, over Christmas perhaps when your family needs you most. Take a week or two while all the suppliers are shut down. You deserve some time and planning the holiday will give you something to look forward to.
When working in our own businesses, we need to be performing at our best. This means taking care of ourselves and preventing burn out or getting sick. To do this we need to nourish ourselves. Nourishment comes in several forms, diet, exercise and personal nourishment which looks a little different for everyone.
Personal nourishment for me looks like daily grounding and meditation, for The Builder it looks like catching up with some mates for a beer once a week. It’s as much about finding a way to center ourselves as it is about finding a way to calm the mind. For me this is an inward process and for The Builder it is an outward one in the form of back slaps and chats about everything but work.
It’s up to you to find something in your day/week that creates some breathing space in your head. By doing so you allow yourself to perform at your optimum each and every day you are at work.
We cannot do it all, we often think we can, but we cannot. There is a tipping point (actually many) in each business that requires you to find help. Outsourcing allows you to focus on running your business and stops your business from running you.
It may be the paperwork, or admin tasks that take up far too much of your time. It might be your social media management, or your time spent on the tools. Regardless of the task to be performed it is vital that you find help to get it done.
Getting shit done = brain space and a little freedom. We underestimate how much weight unfinished tasks carry in our mind. How can we possibly perform to our best and shed stress when we are busy on the tools, while the quoting isn’t getting done, or the follow up emails to clients are not being sent, or the BAS date just flew by or staff are not getting the training they need, or materials needed are not being ordered in time.
Free up your mind, outsource what you can as often as you can. Good mental health as a business owner is your responsibility but it is one that can be shared. Set boundaries, plan a holiday, nourish yourself and outsource, all do-able and all necessary.
If you need help with putting into place any of the above suggestions, head on over to our Tradies in Business Facebook group where like minded business owners network, share and collaborate.
When was the last time you had a holiday? How’s your mental health?