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How to support yourself and others as a business owner during Mental Health Awareness Week 

Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes

Sean Owusu , 19 May, 2023

As you may know, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual event that aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues. This year, the theme is the cost-of-living crisis, which refers to the fall in real incomes that the UK has experienced since late 2021. 

The cost-of-living crisis has been caused by a combination of factors, such as the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise in energy prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, and the impact of Brexit on trade and supply chains. These factors have led to a sharp increase in inflation, which means that the prices of everyday goods and services have gone up faster than wages and benefits. In March 2023, inflation was at 8.9%, the highest rate since 1980. 

The cost-of-living crisis has affected millions of people across the UK, but especially those who run SMEs. As a business owner, you may be facing multiple challenges, such as managing cash flow, paying bills, meeting customer demand, dealing with staff shortages, and coping with uncertainty and change. All of these can put a lot of pressure on your mental health and well-being. 

That’s why we decided to write this blog post as a follow-up to our previous one from last year, where we talked about how to support your employees’ mental health during challenging times. In this entry, we’ll explore how to cope with the challenges and pressures of being a business owner, and how to help others in the same boat, during Mental Health Awareness Week 2023. We will also clarify what anxiety is and how it can influence your mood and productivity as a key decision maker, present you with some effective tips on how to beat it, and recommend some fantastic resources that can support your mental health. 

The end goal is to make you feel more informed and empowered to take care of your mental health while you are running a business. We also want to remind you that you are not alone in this journey. There are many sources of support available for you, both online and offline. And of course, we at Nucleus Commercial Finance are always here to help you with your funding needs, so that you don’t have to worry about how to turn over more profit or lose sleep over your finances. 

What is anxiety and how it can affect business owners? 

Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. It can help us prepare for challenging situations, such as giving a presentation, taking a test, or facing a problem. However, sometimes anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with our daily lives. This can happen when we feel worried, nervous, or fearful about things that are uncertain, out of our control, or threatening. 

Anxiety can affect us in different ways. It can cause physical symptoms, such as racing heart, sweating, trembling, nausea, or headaches. It can also cause psychological symptoms, such as feeling restless, irritable, on edge, or having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things. Anxiety can also affect our behaviour, such as avoiding certain situations, people, or tasks that make us anxious. 

As a business owner, you may be more prone to anxiety than others. Running a business can be stressful and demanding, especially in times of crisis. You may have to deal with multiple challenges, such as managing cash flow, paying bills, meeting customer demand, dealing with staff shortages, and coping with uncertainty and change. You may also feel isolated, lonely, or unsupported by others who don’t understand what you are going through. 

Your business performance and productivity can plummet when you’re anxious. You may find it hard to make wise decisions, think outside the box, communicate effectively, and lead confidently. You may also jeopardise your relationships with the people who are vital to your business: your employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. What’s more, anxiety doesn’t end at work – it can also devastate your personal health and well-being. You may increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as depression or panic disorder. You may also endanger your physical health by reducing your immunity and boosting your risk of developing chronic diseases. 

Therefore, it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and seek help if you need it. There are many ways to cope with anxiety and improve your mental health as a business owner. In the next section, we will provide some practical tips on how to do that. 

How to cope with anxiety as a Business owner 

If you are feeling anxious as someone who runs an SME, you are not alone. Many other business owners are facing similar challenges and struggles, especially during the cost-of-living crisis. The good news is that there are many ways to cope with anxiety and improve your mental health. Here are some practical tips that you can try: 

  • Identify what’s causing your anxiety. Sometimes, anxiety can be triggered by specific situations, people, or tasks that make you feel worried, nervous, or fearful. Other times, anxiety can be vaguer, making you feel uneasy or restless without knowing why. The first step to coping with anxiety is to identify what’s causing it and how it affects you. You can do this by writing down your thoughts and feelings, talking to someone you trust, or seeking professional help if needed. 
  • Find a healthy outlet. Anxiety can build up inside you and make you feel overwhelmed or tense. To release some of that pressure, you need to find a healthy outlet that works for you. This could be something physical, such as exercising, walking, dancing, or gardening. It could also be something creative, such as painting, writing, playing music, or cooking. Or it could be something relaxing, such as meditating, breathing exercises, yoga, or reading. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. 
  • Find a mentor. Running a business can be lonely and isolating, especially if you don’t have anyone to share your challenges and successes with. That’s why finding a mentor can be very helpful for your mental health. A mentor is someone who has more experience and knowledge than you in your field and who can offer you guidance, support, feedback, and advice. You can find a mentor through online platforms, networking events, industry associations, or personal contacts. Having a mentor can help you gain new perspectives, learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goals. 
  • Turn to your team. Another source of support that you can turn to is your team. Your team consists of your employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and anyone else who is involved in your business. Your team can help you cope with anxiety by providing you with practical assistance, emotional encouragement, constructive feedback, and creative ideas. To make the most of your team’s potential, you need to communicate effectively with them, delegate tasks appropriately, appreciate their contributions, and foster a positive work culture. 
  • Seek professional help. Sometimes, anxiety can be too severe or persistent to cope with on your own. If your anxiety interferes with your daily functioning or causes significant distress or impairment in your personal or professional life, you may need to seek professional help. Professional help can come from various sources, such as your GP (general practitioner), a counsellor or therapist. You can also seek help from a mental health charity or a helpline, but we’ll go more in-depth about the resources available later. Professional help can offer you diagnosis, treatment options (such as medication or therapy), and ongoing support for your mental health. 

These are some of the ways that you can cope with anxiety as an business owner. Remember that anxiety is common and treatable and that you don’t have to suffer in silence. By taking care of your mental health, you are also taking care of your business. 

Resources for key decision makers to support their mental health 

As an business owner, you may feel that you have to deal with everything on your own. However, you don’t have to suffer in silence or struggle alone. There are many resources that you can use to support your mental health and well-being. Here are some of them: 

  1. Mind: Mind is a leading mental health charity in the UK that provides information, advice, and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. You can visit their website to find useful guides, tips, blogs, podcasts, and videos on various topics related to mental health. You can also call their helpline or text service to speak to a trained adviser who can listen to you and offer you guidance. You can also find your local Mind branch or shop to access face-to-face support or join a peer support group¹. 
  1. Headspace: Headspace is a popular app that teaches you how to meditate and practice mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness are proven techniques that can help you reduce stress, anxiety, and negative emotions, as well as improve your focus, creativity, and happiness. Headspace offers hundreds of guided meditations for different situations and goals, such as sleeping better, managing anger, coping with change, or boosting productivity. You can also access mini meditations for when you need a quick break or a moment of calm². 
  1. TED: TED is a platform that features inspiring and informative talks from experts and innovators from various fields and disciplines. You can watch TED talks on topics related to mental health, such as how to cope with anxiety, how to overcome fear, how to build resilience, or how to find meaning in life. You can also listen to TED podcasts or read TED books for more insights and ideas. TED talks can help you learn new perspectives, challenge your assumptions, and spark your curiosity. 
  1. Calm: The Calm app is another app that helps you relax and improve your mental health. The app offers a variety of features, such as guided meditations, soothing music, nature sounds, sleep stories, breathing exercises, and daily affirmations. The app also has a mood check-in feature that allows you to track your emotions and get personalised recommendations based on how you feel. The Calm app can help you unwind, sleep better, boost your mood, and cope with stress. 
  1. The Samaritans: The Samaritans is a charity that provides emotional support for anyone who is feeling suicidal or in distress. You can call their free helpline anytime of the day or night and talk to a volunteer who will listen to you without judgement and offer you confidential support. You can also email them or visit one of their branches for face-to-face support. The Samaritans can help you cope with difficult feelings, explore your options, and find a better way forward. 

You have a whole community behind you, and you can always reach out for support when things get tough. These resources will help you nurture your mind as well as your business. 

We want to remind you that taking care of your mental health is not only important for yourself, but also for your business. By coping with anxiety and improving your mental health, you can also enhance your decision making, creativity, communication, and leadership skills. You can also improve your relationships with your employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. You can also achieve your business goals and grow your business. 

We also want to remind you that you are not alone in this journey. There are many sources of support available for you, both online and offline. And of course, we at Nucleus are always here to help you with your funding needs. We understand that having the right funding in place can help reduce stress and anxiety for SME owners. That’s why we offer tailored funding solutions for SMEs across the UK. Whether you need a secured or unsecured business loan, we have the right product and service for you. 

If you want to find out more about our funding solutions or get a quote from us, please visit our website or contact us today. We would love to hear from you and help you with your funding needs. 

BY Sean Owusu




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