Mental Health Awareness Week: top tips for preventing stress for small business owners

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which is a great opportunity to talk about one of the biggest mental pressures facing small business owners: stress.

Running a business is a challenging and sometimes lonely task, and it’s vital that you keep on top of your mental health in order not only to succeed in your field but also to maintain a happy mental equilibrium.

So, this Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve compiled some top tips to help you manage stress.

Build a routine

The nature of running a small business means that tasks and opportunities throw themselves up at irregular moments, but you can help combat stress by setting a routine, however flexible. For example, you might take the first hour of the day to plan your activities as far as possible, and then deal with outstanding emails. Similarly, you might set aside time at the end of every week to get on top of bookkeeping, or make sure you’re up to date with invoices.

Break up tasks

Big tasks can be daunting and stressful, so try to break them up into bite-sized chunks. Not only can his help alleviate the worry of big, looming objectives, but it can also provide a sense of greater achievement as you gradually tick off your list of things to do. You might like to try techniques like bullet journaling to help you manage big tasks, as they provide a simple way of structuring your work.

Think about your environment

Wherever you work, whether it’s from your own premises or the kitchen table, you need to make sure that your space is optimised for stress-free performance. Keep your work area tidy, and make sure that everything you need is on hand. Plants can also be a great way to spruce up your workplace, and are cheap to boot.

Use technology

There is a range of online productivity tools that you can use to work better and de-stress. From managing tasks with Trello to eliminating procrastination with Focus Booster, tech can help you make the most of your time. Read our round-up of time management tools for small businesses.

Get some exercise

Physical exercise is too often forgotten by the busy small business owner. Even half an hour of cardio can be enough to get rid of some of the day’s stress, and that doesn’t mean that you have to take out a gym membership: go for a jog, try some yoga in your living room, or even just take a brisk walk round the block. Everyone should be aiming for 10,000 steps a day, but if you can manage small bursts of high intensity activity you’ll reap the endorphin rewards.

Don’t forget your friends

Running a business can be a lonely pursuit, and it’s important that you don’t neglect your social life. Clearly you can’t be down the pub every night, but by ensuring that you keep in touch with friends you can give yourself an opportunity to let off steam and decompress. You’ll also benefit from a support group, whether you want to talk through work ideas or simply kick back and chat about last night’s TV.

Learn when to let go

Finally, it’s crucial that small business owners learn their limits. You can’t control everything, despite self-employment and running a business being pursuits geared to control freakery. Learn when to delegate tasks and, importantly, learn when it’s time to let go of a problem and move onto the next opportunity.

Are you struggling with stress as a small business owner? If things are getting on top of you, there is further help available through Mind.

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