Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, came in for an interview on The Brew and we spoke in-depth about her work, her advocacy for small businesses, and her experience in the mental health sector.
Kate said that 1 in 4 Australians will experience a mental health problem at some stage of their life. She explained that mental health issues can affect small business owners and that mental illness can bring “businesses to their knees” if not treated or helped early.
As a small business owner, I understand the struggle of running a business and how it can affect my work-life balance. The Brew team have put together a few points for small business owners to consider.
Before I continue, I want to emphasise that mental health is a serious subject and it can affect even the happiest people. It does not make you weak if you experience mental health issues and I urge you seek help if you need it.
3 ways to stay on top of your mental health
1 Take scheduled breaks
One reason that mental health issues have such a big effect on small business owners is because many owners think of their business as their baby and have a hard time stepping away from it. It can overtake every other priority, and if it’s not doing well it’s even harder to step away.
Scheduling regular breaks to stop and relax for a small amount of time is recommended. Doing things such as going for a walk, reading a book, watching a show, or anything else you enjoy, can serve as a welcome reprieve.
2 Spend time with friends and family
Friends and family who care about you are important, and many people experiencing mental health issues can find themselves drawing away from their support network. As bad as you can feel, spending time with people who care about you is highly recommended as a strategy to talk through your feelings and get help. A support network means that you will have people who regularly reach out and check in on you, and people that empathise with what you’re going through.
3 Eat well
Nutrition is important to keep up and the food you eat can affect how you feel. Beyond Blue recommends that you learn to cook simple meals that don’t take too much time or energy to prepare, and making use of the times that you feel good to prepare meals ahead of time. A healthy and balanced diet plays a big role in feeling good, and ensuring you have proper food to eat if you’re busy or stressed means there’s less worry and guilt surrounding meal times.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from mental health problems, please seek help. BeyondBlue.org.au is a great resource and they offer 24/7 support through the phone, online chat, email, or forums.
Another resource for ensuring your workplace is mentally healthy is Heads Up. Please check it out if you want some tips and pointers on increasing your workplace wellness.