These are stressful time for all of us and especially if you are a business owner and have staff. One of my clients, a business owner and a Neuropsychologist shares some of his tips on how to manage stress. See below. Hope you find this helpful.
Hi, I am a Clinical & Neuropsychologist and a small business owner. Yogeeta and I were discussing the impact of COVID-19 and the lock-down on business owners recently. Yogeeta asked me to share some thoughts on the psychological impact of this for business owners and some strategies to help during this trying time, based on my professional and personal experience. This is a hugely difficult time for everyone in business, but particularly those who are not able to keep operating remotely or whose customer base has been impacted. One of the consequences of this is an exponential amount of stress and worry, which can be as consuming as the other demands of keeping a business going under such circumstances. Sometimes, this can even lead to problematic levels of anxiety or depressive symptoms, which can impact on your functioning in daily life.
I use mindfulness based practices to help me keep a balance between managing the things that are important in the here and now, but also being able to step away from excess worry that clutters my head but which is actually not a priority. These techniques help me manage stress and anxiety, and help me to avoid becoming stuck in a negative headspace. People often assume mindfulness means meditation or yoga practices, and it does include this, but mindfulness is about so much more. It is an entire philosophy around balanced living, and learning to manage both the “good” and the “bad” of life. Have a look at this video to find out more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_h-Zn9pKAU&feature=youtu.be. A great book for people new to the technique, Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat Zinn (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14098.Mindfulness_for_Beginners) talks more on this subject. Mindfulness does not necessarily solve all life’s challenges, but it helps one deal with them better.
Another thing I find invaluable is attending coaching sessions with another psychologist. You may wonder why one psychologist would need another psychologist, but I find that often I am so immersed in the realities of my life, that I sometimes miss things. An external perspective helps me to see the bigger picture and to find the things I am doing well, and to grow these, whilst letting of things I am doing which aren’t helpful. Moreover, having someone working alongside me to work through challenges means that I feel less burdened by them.
The other reason I prefer to see another psychologist, as opposed to just brainstorming with my friends, is that psychologists receive expert training in scientifically validated techniques that are helpful in dealing with life challenges. Whilst I have studied many of these techniques myself, its not possible to know about everything that is out there that could help. This is where a psychologist with a slightly different skillset to mine helps me to learn things I am not that familiar with. During particularly challenging times, I will attend weekly, but as my ability to manage challenging situations has grown, I have dropped this back to monthly check-ins. I like to keep the check-ins going, even when things are going well, because it allows me to catch challenges early before they become bigger and more challenging issues. Keep in mind that looking after your wellbeing is not only good for you personally, but great for your business, your employees, customers and your family.
If your business does not have an existing employee assistance programme with psychology already in place, here are some options:
- For low cost or free psychology sessions (usually 4-6), you can contact your GP for a referral. Most psychologists are running services remotely via video conferencing and phone during the lockdown.
- For paid services, the College of Clinical Psychologists (https://www.nzccp.co.nz/for-the-public/find-a-clinical-psychologist/) or Psychological Society (https://www.psychology.org.nz/community-resources/find-a-psychologist/#/cid/884/id/101) have a list of psychologists available in your area.