It’s no secret that the high-pressure world of business can have some unfortunate effects on our health. Aside from the constant stress that comes with being a successful entrepreneur, there’s the ever-present risk of debt. We’ve all seen it happen – an investment goes awry, your forecasts turn out to be off, or a global recession puts the boot into your business plans. When this happens, it can be hard not to be depressed and this can have terrible consequences, not just for your business but for your health too. Studies have shown that those suffering from depression are more prone to everything from heart disease to strokes, even to catching the common cold. By going about your business in the right way, however, you can mitigate or even ward off these effects and achieve a healthier mind-set. Here’s how:
With the average businessperson juggling somewhere between 30-100 projects at any given time, it’s easy to see how everything can become too much to cope with. That’s why routines are so important in business. Aside from giving your work-time a clear structure, they absolve you of the stress decision-making can sometimes bring. Know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it to maximize good mental health. Maybe think about something as simple as setting yourself a ‘Thing to do list’ for each day.
Keep Your Perspective
You’ve had a terrible day – you messed up a client meeting, you’re behind schedule on a project and your monthly reports have been neglected. Fair enough, it’s understandable you feel awful, but remember to keep things in perspective. Unless your creditors are literally kicking down the door, things could always be worse… Always keep an eye on the bigger picture.
Never assume a deal will go through or you’ll make a sale until it’s signed and sealed and the money is in your account. If you mentally start spending that £5,000 you’ve yet to make, you’ll only destroy your confidence if everything falls through.
It’s always a good idea to have time in the day when you’re free from the hassle of phone calls and emails. Ration these accordingly to avoid feeling stressed out. For example, choose a first thing, middle and last point in the day to check emails.
Separate Work from Your Personal Life
The golden rule of business is to never take your work home with you. Easier said than done! It’s important to give yourself a cut-off point each evening and simply stop, even if you haven’t done everything. Keep your home as a stress-free environment and that way you will be able to re-charge each evening.
Don’t Judge Yourself
Our own negative self-judgement is one of the primary causes of depression. If you find yourself stuck in a negative mental state, make an effort to think about your achievements instead or pick out any recent success stories. Try reminding yourself, out loud if you can, of three positive things about you or your life. For example, you’re in good health and have the ability to do this job.
Another huge cause of stress and depression is feeling out of control. If you make a mistake, even if there were mitigating factors, learn to move on. Pointing fingers or raging at someone will only make you feel worse-off in the long-run.
Don’t Overstretch Yourself
Business is always a gamble, but not everybody can be Richard Branson. It’s good to take risks, but only if you can easily absorb any loss. Don’t go in for any risky deal that you can’t bounce back from. This is how people end up in serious debt which then leads to more stress, anxiety and depression.
When in Debt
For those of you already in debt and possibly suffering depression, there are specific steps you can take to get you back on track
1. Talk to Debt Charities
If you’re already in debt and it’s making you miserable, you can turn to trusted debt charity advisors and a place where you can share your problems such as TalkaboutDebt. They will be able to advise you on the different debt solutions available such as the Talk About Debt IVA – an arrangement which allows you to pay off only what you can afford over a 3-5 year period. A trusted debt advisor will not ‘sell’ you a solution but will review your case and your special circumstances and recommend payment options that are the most suitable for you.
2. Budget Carefully
When you’re ‘in a hole’ you should stop digging. If you feel you’re at rock bottom early on in your start-up business, then you should think again. Don’t resort to any quick fixes such as expensive loans, as these never work. Try to go back to basics: Re-evaluate and consider if there really is a market for your product. Running out of cash is one of the most common causes of business failure, so be sure to budget carefully. Be aware of payments you will need to make to suppliers and advisors. Always revisit your budget on a regular basis and keep expenses down as best as you can.
3. Create an Action Plan
A plan for getting your business on or back on track can help focus and stimulate your mind and avoid more debt. Revisit your business plan and focus on achieving more realistic goals. Ask yourself, who am I selling to, is my pricing strategy right, am I reaching the right audience and spending only where I need to? Take professional advice if you can on tax issues and do your own research on possible Government grants which may be available to you and your business.
Jennifer is a graduate who has spent her career climbing up the ladder. She has worked in many careers which has enabled her to grow her skills. Having worked in deadline driven roles she has learnt how to project manage sites globally and develop strategies for success. She is passionate about life, innovation, and engineering and motivates herself on a daily basis to achieve her very best and help those in need.
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