Mental Health and COVID-19: 5 Tips for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs to Cope

Mental Health - Businessman with shadow of superhero

It’s not uncommon for business leaders, owners and entrepreneurs to have “superhero” status attached to them, but even heroes need help from others. These company heads build innovative industry giants so they themselves must be invincible, right? No, even business leaders aren’t immune to mental health problems. Considering recent COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, we want them to know that they are seen and share some tips to get through this next hurdle. 

Business success and mental health are often intertwined 

Business owners and entrepreneurs are passionate people; they are achievers, doers, and high performers. Their company and its success often become a part of who they are, overlapping their professional and personal lives. This results in high stress, exhaustion, loneliness, or burnout. Unfortunately, this seldom gets mentioned when talking about mental health.  

In November 2020, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) published the Canadian Entrepreneur Mental Health and Well-Being Report outlining the impact of COVID-19 pandemic’s startling impact on small business owners and entrepreneurs. 39% of business owners report “feeling depressed at least once a week” and roughly two-thirds reported “feeling tired or have low energy.” 

Increased anxiety and intense emotions are expected during a prolonged stressful period like the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are 5 actions you can take to help cope: 

1. Watch for warning signs

As people, we naturally want to appear strong in front of friends, colleagues and family. But it’s important to take care of yourself and find support when needed. When entrepreneurs are stressed, they think that working more will help them perform better. This leads to exhaustion, loneliness, burnout and depression. It’s very important to recognize warning signs to break this cycle: 

  • Changes in normal behaviour patterns (eating or sleeping more or less than usual) 
  • Increased alcohol or drug consumption 
  • Withdrawal from relationships and reduced sociability 
  • Difficulties in daily functioning at work, at home or in relationships 
  • Rumination about how things could go wrong that start to affect your capacity to work 

2. Take advantage of your innate resilience

Every one of us has an innate resilience that can help us rebound in times of stress. Try to develop behaviours that will take advantage of our natural coping mechanisms, including humour, doing something kind for someone, and reaching out to social networks. 

3. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. 

You don’t have to carry everything on your own shoulders. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends to talk about your stresses. Consider joining an entrepreneur support group; it can be easier to talk with other entrepreneurs than with employees or family members. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. A discussion with a psychologist can prevent problems from becoming more serious. 

4. Manage your expectations

Entrepreneurs are notorious for having unreasonable expectations; it’s almost part of the job description. But having overly ambitious goals can take a toll on mental health. It can be healthy to slow down your goalsetting process. Take the time to analyze market trends and the capacity of your team before you set a goal that will stretch you too thin. 

5. Try to delegate

It can be hard to relax or deal with personal issues when you are doing everything yourself. Resist telling yourself you’re the only one who can do things right, or that it will take too long to train someone. The initial time investment it takes to train someone will be paid off many times over when you get that extra time to spend with your family or relax on a Friday night. 

We see you and we want you to know that we’re here to support you. Don’t get bogged down by mental kryptonite. If Superman needs to talk to Batman, we’re here to listen. Book a Wingman today.  

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