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How to Build a Small Business That Won’t Crush You

Right now, as I write this blog post, I’m lying in bed feeling pretty sorry for myself. But, part of it is my own fault. I ran myself into the ground. Fortunately for me, my business is somewhat established, and I can afford to take a bit of a break. However, wind back the clock to when I started a small business, and any sign of illness would have stressed me. I know how much poor health affected my focus and motivation. I have learnt over the years that if I am in good health, emotionally and physically, I am much more likely to be more effective in my business. Health is essential if you are a new small business owner. 

New challenges appear every day when you are starting a new business. You can find yourself worrying about your money situation, what type of business bank account to open, how to drive customers to your business, and the overall amount of work you need to do. It is not uncommon for it to consume most of your thoughts and time.

While self-care may not be on your list of priorities when you start, you are putting yourself at risk of suffering from deeper issues if you do not look after yourself mentally. Here are some things to consider so you don’t find yourself down the rabbit hole. 

mental health new business

How to prioritise you when starting a small business

Ensure you make time for fitness

When you feel as if you have an endless to-do list, the idea of taking time out to exercise may seem impossible to consider. Exercise, however, can help to:

  • boost the amount of energy you have
  • increase the quality of your memory
  • alleviate stress and increase your productivity

Make an effort to exercise for at least 150 minutes every week, whether you start your day with a brisk walk or jog around the park or go for an evening bike ride with a friend. Consider signing up for Couch to 5k – even squeezing in a few stretches, lunges, or press-ups in between calls and messages counts toward your goal.

Take time to be mindful.

Mindfulness and meditation can have some incredible benefits for your mental health. Just a few minutes a day focusing on what is going on in the present and clearing the mind can do wonders and help you to cope with stress and anxiety.

Where you do, it is unimportant. Someone peaceful is ideal, where you can focus on your breathing and senses. Practising mindfulness regularly can help you boost your concentration levels and help you multitask and deal with the challenges that being a business owner can bring about. 

Ensure that you eat healthily

Few businesspeople can afford to miss work due to illness, so make an effort to eat a good, well-balanced diet to maintain physical health while keeping your brain active. It is all too simple to go for a sweet treat or order takeout whenever you are stressed out at work, but neither of these options is usually the greatest choice. Do not miss breakfast, have a bowl of fruit or nuts nearby rather than a cookie jar, and when cooking dinner, make a little extra to freeze or store for lunch the next day. This will make it easier to choose healthy foods in the future. 

mental health and business

Stay in touch with loved ones.

Even though learning about entrepreneurialism and starting and maintaining your own new business can be an exhilarating experience, it can also be time-consuming and lonely if you are working from home alone.

When creating charts and considering your marketing strategy, do not forget to consider your well-being – it is always beneficial to speak with others and seek support. Your perspective will be more positive if you communicate worries and bounce ideas off of someone you trust. This could be your best friend, a formal mentor, or a stranger you have met through networking.

Stay away from alcohol.

Strive not to get into the trap of pouring yourself a glass of wine every night, regardless of whether you are celebrating a business objective or commiserating over something not going to plan. Drinking alcohol once in a while can be a nice way to relax, but it does not come without risks to both your physical and mental health. Try not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week and have days where you do not consume any at all. Read about my journey to two years without alcohol

woman running a small business

Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

Generally speaking, most adults require between six and nine hours of sleep every night to recharge their bodies and minds fully. Even one night of restless sleep can harm a person’s concentration, mood, and alertness, establishing a decent bedtime routine.

Worrying about work can keep you awake and lead to difficulties when sleeping., Try to start winding down at least an hour before you go to bed. Relax by reading a book or taking a nice bath. Avoid using electronic gadgets such as cellphones, tablets, and other electronic devices before bed because the light from these devices can interfere with sleep. 

I am 100% guilty of being the new small business owner who thought I was invincible. I never really thought about how my health could impact my business. But I’ve been there and done that and eight years later I’ve learnt my lesson, well, mostly. When you experience and understand the difference of how well you can function when you’re well versus when you’re not, you’ll do everything you can to keep yourself well. It’s very exciting to see how much you can achieve. 

Eva Lewis
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