Small business and covid-19: How to deal with stress and run a small business
While starting your own business is an exciting experience, it can also be a challenging and stressful situation in the best of times.
Covid-19 came out without a warning and shocked the whole world, with thousands of people getting infected every day, and economy hitting lower points in some industries, this past year has been intense for all of us.
You have to know that you’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed and stressed, a lot of us are. When the pandemic hit Europe in March 2020, 70% more businesses closed down than the year before.
It is a crisis for every person on the planet, and for those that are small business owners, keep up with the responsibility of maintaining a business afloat bring, this past few months had been a challenge.
I find myself looking for anti-stress routines for business owners, I find out that there’s so much help and support online to keep yourself healthy and active while lockdown which is excellent, but not much information about being an entrepreneur, running a small business and dealing with today’s situation.
This is the reason why we are here today, in this business blog we will discuss how to keep up with stress while running a small business.
It is ok to be stressed.
Feeling stressed – overwhelmed, anxious, even hopeless – is a normal human response to any crisis. It is not a pleasant state of mind, but it is functional, it allows our body to mobilize resources to face adversity.
One of the first things that you have to try is “face reality” is the best way to coping with stress and build resilience, acknowledge that this situation is challenging and that you are not the only one.
To get a rational “face reality” think about his six questions:
What stresses you now:
- Are you paying your employees?
- Your suppliers?
- Are you meeting your financial obligations?
- Are you not having enough time for your family?
- Are you worried about your health or that of your loved ones?
Answer these questions on your own and try to be truly honest with yourself, knowing and acknowledging the reason you’re stressing will give you a sense of control and show compassion towards yourself.
Time for yourself:
Make time to recover yourself. Being stress is exhausting. Over time, it damages our mental and physical health if we don’t allow ourselves time for recovery.
To deal with challenges and crises, you need to get out of your comfort zone. Still, it can only do so for short amounts of time without damaging the body. Therefore, it is essential to look after yourself, be compassionate towards yourself and allow yourself time to unwind and recuperate from stress. Is especially important for small business owners because having a small business is already an experience with higher levels of chronic stress, both mentally and physiologically. Usually, a small business owner is least likely to make time for recovery when you most need it in these challenging times.
It would be best if you looked after yourself first to enable you to make an excellent decision for your small business. That self-care will include taking regular breaks, to take some exercise, get some fresh air unless unable to get out and maintain a good healthy diet. If you have a garden, do some work to provide training and a connection with the outdoors, which is beneficial in self-care. You could also use the time to try a new hobby or past time. As part of your self-care, you should also aim to get plenty of rest and sleep. This situation can be challenging if you have negative thoughts and are preoccupied with your problems.
Ask for help and support:
As a small business owner, you are used to making decisions and being in charge. Often asking for help and reaching out to others is seen as a sign of weakness, when, in fact, it should be a sign of strength. Where should you get support?
Many governments have implemented schemes to help small business owners through these difficult times from income support for the self-employed and employees, deferral income tax, temporary loans and guarantees, and cash grants for businesses in specific sectors. An overview of these measures by a country, which is updated daily, can be found here (and here for UK small businesses). Don’t wait till the last resource to look for support, asking for help is a smart decision in these challenging times.
With the uncertainty that Covid-19 pandemic has brought us and with a lockdown in place in many countries, one essential part for small business owners is to know that, to deal with stress and build resilience You have to accept that you cannot change certain things. What are the things that stress you the most? Knowing them will free up your mental capacity; rather than dwelling on something that you cannot influence, you will focus on regaining control over the aspects of your business and life, that you can influence.
There are a few things that, as a small business owner, you can’t control. Still, there’s always a way to see this situation as an opportunity.
If in the past, You focused your business on-sell your products in a location and You didn’t have enough online presence this is the time to change things up.
Social media is an excellent ally for small businesses; most of their features are free. Billions of users can have access to your products in a click. You can learn how social media apps can help you market your products online. You can set up an online shop, sign up for courses, fin a new hobby, spend more time with your family and have time for yourself.
Watch the whole picture:
Running a small business during a pandemic is a very individual process. Some people gain a new perspective on work-life balance by reaffirming family importance; others may realize that if they can manage to keep a business afloat in stressful times like this, there is little they cannot achieve in life. And still, others find that they gain new insights into how not to run a business and treat others with a newfound resolve to do business differently going forward.
Adversity can help recognize that there is a different way of doing business. I am impressed to see how small business owners have been creating opportunities in adversity; this is the entrepreneur’s true spirit.
This situation has allowed us to innovate, be creative and support others, the restrictions, lockdown, and pandemic will not be forever, but what we learn and how we proceed during these challenging times will forever change our lives.
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