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Brainz Contributor: Stress Levels Of Entrepreneurs During COVID-19

COVID has altered many business owners’ outlooks on work. They must reflect on their perspectives and mood fluctuations. Some business owners experience depression, while others find themselves crippled by anxiety and fear, which prevents them from working and seeing themselves as successful. All business executives need to be vigilant about their mental health during this challenging time.

Thoughts like “What will happen to my business? How can it be sustained, and for how long? Will I lose my valuable employees, and if so, how can I replace them in this virtual world?” are just a few of the concerns adding to the everyday stresses of owning and running a business.

It is one thing to talk about this issue around the virtual “water cooler,” but determining the impact on the work world today is crucial. In this article, we will highlight information about this topic, from around the world, during the last two years.

“Simply Business recently surveyed almost 800 small business owners in the UK and found that 82% reported poor mental health in the last 12 months. In fact, more than half of all business owners suffered from anxiety, 62% have been affected by stress, and 30% experienced depression. It’s clear that prioritising mental health should be at the forefront of recovery after the pandemic.” Their solutions included: setting boundaries, taking care, and talking it out.[1]

A study in India chose a cross-section of small business entrepreneurs; the sample included 228 males and 44 females, and the age of respondents ranged from 22 to 65 years. The findings were, “…that financial distress severely affects the mental health of small business entrepreneurs in India. A collective mechanism for coping with such a situation is necessary from the side of individuals, government, institutions and business bodies to come out from trauma and uphold positive mental health.”[2]

Once there is an understanding of the reality of stress on business executives and owners, we need to examine methods to address that reality in the future.

Beyond Blue offers COVID-19 pandemic business advice, including supporting your staff, looking after yourself, prioritizing your mental health and well-being, and accessing emotional support; in addition, they offer practical tips: [3] Some include:

  • Try to maintain perspective.

  • Make sure you are accessing accurate information for your situation.

  • Try to stick to healthy daily routines.

  • Establish regular sleeping patterns and make sure to get enough rest.

  • Look after your physical health and find ways to stay active.

  • Do something each day that makes you feel good.

  • Participate in exercises that you find relaxing, and perhaps try therapeutic activities such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.

Finally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some recommendations for coping with anxiety/stress:[4]

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed but constantly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens.

  • Take care of your body

  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate

  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals

  • Exercise regularly

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use

  • Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider

  • Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine

  • Make time to unwind — Try to do some other activities you enjoy

  • Connect with others — Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling

  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations — while social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

This modern pandemic has touched the lives of every person all over the world. One of the ramifications has been a sharp decline in mental health. We have shown today that by coming to grips with the realities of this situation, and creating an arsenal of coping mechanisms, we can all not only survive but thrive through this adversity.

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