Running an online business is hard work and stressful too. As a business owner, you have to ensure that your business runs efficiently, and there are many difficult decisions to make.
During the pandemic, you have no doubt had additional anxieties, with businesses closing and the economy under strain. Financial, physical, emotional, and mental stresses are at play. It’s tough having sole responsibility for the success of your business.
Unless you take care of yourself, stress and anxiety can get the better of you, and the business will suffer. It is therefore essential that you take steps to manage your stress and look after your emotional health.
Online Business Challenges
Challenges with which online business owners must tackle:
- Long working hours – there’s so much to do and so little time. Even when you prioritize, there’s always something still to do.
- Meeting the demands of customers and staff
- Cashflow, cost, and profitability concerns – chasing unpaid invoices, trying to sell additional products or services, and keeping abreast of customer requirements
- Managing multiple roles – including sales, accounts, social media management, website and content management, human resource responsibilities, and more
- After hours interruptions – caused by a constant stream of calls and emails all vying for your attention
- External factors – legislative, economic, and technological changes none of which you control
- Feelings of isolation – nobody with whom to share your problems.
These challenges can and do, lead to increased stress. Therefore, you must find healthy ways to deal with the pressure to prevent it from causing mental health issues.
Early Signs Of Mental Health Issues
If you recognize the signs of emerging mental health issues, you can take action to recover and restore your emotional well-being. Early signs of mental health issues include the following;
- Problems concentrating
- Difficulty with making decisions
- Avoiding social contact
- Trying to cope by using alcohol
- Frequent becoming angry or frustrated
Since you are in a leadership role, mental health problems could cause irreparable damage to your online business.
Mental Health Tips for Online Business Owners
Setting boundaries and taking control of your life can help forestall some of the problems of runaway stress. Everybody needs a work-life balance, and, as the owner of an online business, it is your responsibility to ensure that you create an environment where stress levels are minimized.
1. Set Your Working Hours
One of the problems of working for yourself is that there are often no boundaries between work and leisure time. If you’re not careful, you’ll work increasingly longer hours, which doesn’t necessarily translate to higher productive output.
Your goal should be a healthy work-life balance. Savvy businesspeople set working hours and keep to them. Obviously, there should be some level of flexibility, but don’t make that the norm. If you’ve worked extra hours, make sure to reward yourself with time off later in the week.
Take short breaks throughout the day. Take a walk in the sunshine. Stop for a healthy snack. Small breaks will help you to top up your energy and increase your productivity. It refreshes you and will help you think more clearly when you return to work.
Turn off your business phone and emails when you reach the end of the workday. In addition, take the weekend off and spend it with your friends and family, and don’t forget to budget for a vacation somewhere along the line.
2. Consider Outsourcing
If you’re running out of hours in the day, consider your outsourcing options. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead, find someone who can do the tasks that don’t require your skills or expertise. There are thousands of freelancers on sites like Fiverr that you can outsource certain tasks to.
Someone else can manage your content, schedule your social media posts, or sort through your email. When you get someone else to help, you give yourself space to do what you’re really good at.
Learn to say no. you don’t have to do every job that comes your way. Instead, plan your day and prioritize your tasks.
3. Stay Healthy
Staying in good physical shape is vital for your mental health and the well-being of your online business. When you’re healthy, you are better able to handle daily stressors. Your business success also depends on your good health, so take steps to ensure that you stay in peak physical form.
- Make sure that you have a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Don’t eat on the run. Instead, take time out to savor your food
- Stay hydrated – drink 7 to 8 glasses of water a day
- Exercise regularly – exercise is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Take regular gym classes or take up jogging, dancing, or your favorite sport
- Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol
- A good 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day will ensure that you are well-rested and ready to tackle the challenges of the day.
4. Find Support
Running an online business can be a lonely place. Everybody needs support sometimes. Sharing your problems with others and inviting an outside perspective will help immeasurably. Speaking to others is often the first step to relieving stress. Find support systems that can help you through difficult times. If you're based in the Windy City, find therapists in Chicago who specialize in dealing with the stressors unique to business owners. Their professional advice and counseling can provide an additional layer of support to help you manage your mental health effectively. Local expertise can offer solutions tailored specifically to your situation. Counseling, after all, can be an excellent resource for stress management and therapy.
- Connect with other business owners who understand the stress that you are under
- Link in with a network of other business people
- If you need financial support, find an organization that can help you with advice
- Find a mentor
If you are suffering from mental health issues, seek medical assistance. There is no shame in asking for help.
5. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Stress causes a flood of hormones, speeding up your breathing and increasing your heart rate. The result is that uncomfortable fight or flight reaction. People have stressful reactions to many of life’s circumstances. It’s normal. Taking a deep breath and walking away from the problem normally resolves the issue. However, prolonged stress is a different matter altogether and will eventually affect your emotional health.
Practicing relaxation techniques can give you an inner reserve of peace. Breathing exercises offer one of the easiest stress relief methods. All you need is a quiet place and a short period of deep breathing to help you to relax.
Take up mindfulness meditations or yoga and practice every day. Both meditations and yoga are popular pastimes, so you should find classes in your area. Alternatively, you may find online courses helpful.
Download the Insight Timer app. It is a free meditation and sleep app with thousands of teachers and meditations to help you to learn to relax. Try different relaxation techniques and find out what works for you.
6. Don’t Take Employees’ Feelings Personally
The pandemic has meant that owners of many online businesses have had to make difficult choices, like reducing employee working hours or laying them off for a period. As a result, your employees may feel angry or disappointed. However, understand that this is a response to their own stress and don’t take it personally.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health With Daily Activities
The key to ensuring good mental health is to ensure that you manage your stress levels. This is particularly important for online business owners who face significant responsibilities and problems daily. Manage stress in the following areas to protect your emotional well-being.
- Practice meditations and relaxation techniques daily
- Set work hours and stick to them
- Learn to say no
- Exercise regularly
- Share your problems with others
- Stick to a healthy regular diet.
Why is Self-Care for Small Business Owners Essential?
As an online business owner, the buck stops with you. You are responsible for all the decisions, and you have to solve all the problems. Sometimes the sheer weight of responsibility can become overwhelming, and that’s when stress kicks in.
Unless you practice self-care and ensure that your physical and mental health are up to the challenge, you could find yourself facing a mental health issue. In addition, the well-being of your online business depends on your physical and psychological health.
What are the Signs of Good Mental Health?
People in good mental health typically feel content and good about themselves. This doesn’t mean that things won’t get you down from time to time. A person in good emotional health can cope with the stress and strain of everyday living without feeling overwhelmed. Mentally healthy people have healthy relationships with others. They also have enough self-esteem to stand up for what they want.
You can avoid stress-induced mental health issues by making a few early interventions. Manage your time. Know when to leave your workspace, switch off business communications and relax.
Look after your health, sleep well, exercise, and enjoy a healthy diet. Build a calm inner reserve by practicing breathing and meditations. Download apps like Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace to learn how to reduce stress.
As an online business leader, you have a responsibility to ensure that you look after your mental health. In addition, your family, customers, and staff depend on you to make the right decisions and ensure your business's financial well-being.
Live a balanced life. You owe it to yourself. Only by taking time off from work can you enjoy the benefits of time spent with friends and family.