10 ways to improve your mental health & your business

Date: 5th February 2020

It’s no secret that running a business can be extremely taxing to our health. A survey found that 31% of people suffered from a mental health condition after starting or taking over a business. It’s easy to get swept away in the day to day, but for a business to be sustainable and successful, it’s important we take the time to prioritise mental and physical health.

mental health

With that said, here’s our top ten tips to bring health and wellbeing into your workplace.

1. Ask for help

Most importantly: If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. At some point in time, we can all become overwhelmed in business, so there’s always someone who understands what you’re facing.

Xero has recently partnered with Mental Health Foundation of NZ to start the XAP (Xero Assistance Program) to provide mental health support to NZ small businesses.

There are other excellent resources and NZ support organisations found online. Here are a few:

Where To Get Help (Xero)

Mental Health For You And Your Staff (business.govt.nz) 

Workplace Wellbeing (mentalhealth.org.nz) 

2. Build connections

Creating a sense of unity in the workplace should be right at the top of our list as business owners – and this doesn’t necessarily mean cringe-worthy team building exercises! People tend to work more productively in an environment where they feel respected, included and heard – regular team meetings are a great way to encourage this level of positive communication and support. A business owner has the ability to set the tone for the entire workplace.

3. Find a mentor

business mentor

A problem shared is a problem halved! Having stable guidance in business is so important for our mental wellbeing, relieving the pressure of ‘going it alone’. Having that ‘go-to’ person or group who you can bounce ideas off from outside your usual business circle can be invaluable. A mentor can bring a different perspective or business direction through their own knowledge and experience.   

Ignite Wanaka is membership based group with the aim to empower and connect the Wanaka business community.

4. Encourage breaks

work breaks

Breaks are legally required for good reason; we work far more productively when we can de-stress and recharge regularly. As an employer, you can use breaks as a great opportunity for casual team bonding – a quick 10 minute catch up over a cup of coffee can do wonders for breaking the monotony of the working day.  

5. Share the load

It can be challenging for business owners to delegate tasks – sometimes there is apprehension around things being done ‘right’ or maybe it seems faster to just do it yourself. Often, it’s a catch 22 – the business owner takes on a long list of tasks and suddenly those ‘fast’ jobs get pushed further down until it would’ve been quicker to delegate them in the first place! Our suggestion? Invest the time to train capable staff to take on some of your work list. After a few successes, you could feel like a weight has been lifted. 

6. Physical fitness

A healthy body quickly translates into a healthy mind. Exercise endorphins generate an alertness and clarity that are well-utilised within a business. Doing exercises at your desk can be a little daunting in a shared office, but a lunchtime jog or conditioning session at the gym might be just what you need to get through the afternoon!

7. Be social

Never underestimate the power of fun to increase morale and positivity in the workplace! Whether it’s a few cheeky beverages at the local, a full-on Christmas party or a Friday afternoon BBQ, it’s one of the simplest ways to make your employees feel recognised and appreciated, not to mention the benefits of team bonding. A team that plays together, stays together!

8. Outsource tasks

Running a business requires such a range of skills and personality traits that it’s virtually impossible to have a business owner who can cover it all. Often people start a business because they have a skill they wish to profit from, but this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily great at other tasks. The good news is, you don’t have to be a super-human. Instead, gather a support team of professionals together to assist in the day-to-day running of your business, such as an accountant, mentor, business advisor and HR consultant – you’ll have better results and feel better for it too!

9. Just breathe

woman taking time to breath in workplace

Breathwork is an amazing tool for reducing feelings of stress and anxiety in the workplace. You can easily take a moment to do some breathing exercises at your desk or on a work break subtlety and effectively. In a busy office, focusing on breathing regularly will give your brain the opportunity to settle back into a calm state. Be kind to your adrenal glands! Check out the Headspace or Calm app for some helpful guided breathing exercises. 

10. Workspace matters

tidy office desk

If you feel you spend a lot of your waking life ‘at the office’, then make sure you make that space is somewhere you want to be! Create a work environment that’s comfortable and relaxing to work in, whether that’s a installing a new ergonomic workstation, choosing a new colour scheme or cleaning out unnecessary clutter. The Japanese 5S methodology describes how maintaining a tidy workspace can increase business efficiency.  

Posted in: health & safety, Latest News, mental health, Wanaka