As we head into the fourth consecutive month of COVID life, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has urged small business owners to pay close attention to their mental health.
Ms Carnell said recently that COVID was a challenge that nobody saw coming and the impact of that stress has serious ramifications for our community.
“Many small business owners will be focused on staying afloat right now, but it’s important to balance that with looking after yourself,” she said.
Mental health is an issue close to our hearts at Flying Solo. Our beWell survey in February revealed 56% of our community experience anxiety or depression.
And while you told us you were mindful of the impact your daily decisions had on your overall sense of wellbeing there was plenty of room for improvement.
Conscious of the impact these past months have had our general sense of ease and wellbeing, we asked Leanne Faulkner, small business mental health advocate for advice.
“I guarantee that whatever you are feeling right now, others are feeling it too,” Leanne told Flying Solo.
“We have lots of evidence of people managing through difficult times, even if the business you love has to change (or close). We will make it through eventually.”
In the meantime, Leanne recommends we focus our energy on the following:
1.Make a realistic plan
Using your best estimates, try to write a plan for the next twelve months. Include in there a section titled “What if” and then list as many scenarios you may face in the coming months (for example, another lockdown, the end of JobKeeper, staff challenges). Once listed, identify the impact of each on the business and list ways you think you will be able to manage each scenario if it happens. Feeling prepared is a great stress-busting tool.
2. Start talking to experts now for assistance and support
Check in with your accountant, check in with your bookkeeper, talk to a business coach, seek out a mentor. I know it’s cliched but we really are all in this together and there are lots of people who want to help and support the small business community. Sharing the load is a good way to ease stress levels.
3. Access the free support services available
Check the My Business Health resources on the ASBFEO site, check the dedicated COVID-19 support resources at Beyond Blue (they have small business specific resources) and check out the Victorian Small Business Commission guide to developing your own personal mental health strategic plan.
Great tools and resources to support your wellbeing right now
- Smiling Mind
- My Business Health
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 850 890.