small business owner

As a small business owner, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and experience burnout.

You’re responsible for a lot, and at the same time, it’s important to stop and evaluate how you’re feeling. If every day is leaving you drained and questioning whether the decision to start a business was worth it, then it’s time for some changes. Your business should be a source of freedom and joy, not a detriment to your well-being. Here are four ways you can manage your mental health:

1. Define the boundaries between your work and personal life.

It can be difficult to find your ideal work-life balance, and being a small business owner makes it more of a challenge. Without a clear separation of your work and personal life, you’re likely to find yourself constantly working overtime, limiting your time to relax and refresh your mind.

One potential solution to this issue involves time blocks: designated periods of time for you to focus on something. If work-life balance seems unmanageable, consider how you can start using time blocks to your benefit. First, consider your ideal schedule (the number of days you work, how many hours you dedicate to business each week, and how many hours of free time).

After you determine your ideal schedule, focus on dividing work and free time into manageable time blocks. This will naturally differ by person. What’s essential is that you’re able to create the schedule and designated working/relaxation periods that work best for you. Once you’re clear on work-life balance, you’ll notice some improvements in your mood and mental health.

2. Reassign tasks to team members or outsource some of your work.

When you’re a small business owner, there’s always another task to complete, but you only have so much time in your week. To better manage your mental health and proactively address your overwhelm, determine what’s most important to focus on and delegate the remainder.

If you often focus on time-consuming, repetitive tasks such as data entry, consider if it’s truly beneficial to work on them yourself and whether the time and energy required to complete them is worth the costs to your mental health and business. When you evaluate your priorities as a small business owner, you can then reassign or outsource tasks that are lower on your list.

Even if you don’t yet have the budget for a team, a quick search will provide you with some affordable options for hiring freelancers. Any task you delegate to a member of your team or outsource to a freelancer is one less task on your overall to-do list. This means you’ll have more time to focus on what’s the most important and continue to create real value for your business.

3. Check in with yourself and how you’re feeling on a regular basis.

Setting boundaries and delegating work allows you to more effectively manage your mental health as a small business owner, but it’s still critical to regularly evaluate how you’re feeling. Even with the best systems in place, it’s normal to experience periods where you’re not thriving.

Make time at least once per week — or, at minimum, every month — to pause and check in with your mental health. How have you been feeling about your life and business? Are there any areas where you’ve been struggling, even if they’re not related to work? Do you feel prepared and confident about the weeks ahead of you? What’s working, and what’s not working for you? Answers to these questions allow you to evaluate your feelings and next steps.

4. Separate your self-worth from the financial success of your business.

The experience of a small business owner is somewhat unpredictable — one moment, you may be thriving, and the next, you could be struggling. It’s exciting and rewarding to celebrate your professional successes, but an issue arises when you associate them with your self-worth.

When you determine your value as a human by your level of success as a small business owner, you subsequently endanger your mental health. Business isn’t always stable, and if your worth aligns with the financial highs and lows of entrepreneurship, your well-being suffers. This creates an unhealthy situation where you constantly alternate between peace and anxiety.

Rather than allow your business to determine your happiness, reframe it as an opportunity to celebrate your wins and learn from your losses. By shifting your perspective to view business failures as a learning opportunity, it becomes less about what you did “wrong” and more about how you can effectively use the knowledge you gained to achieve better results in the future.

To briefly recap, here are four ways you can start managing your mental health today:

  1. Create boundaries and time blocks to define your ideal work-life balance.
  2. Delegate or outsource tasks that prevent you from focusing on priorities.
  3. Evaluate how you’re feeling about life and business on a regular basis.
  4. Maintain a clear divide between your self-worth and financial success.

If you’re a small business owner struggling with your mental health and feelings of burnout, incorporating the above methods into your life will allow you to better manage your well-being.

Still feeling overwhelmed and burnt out? Check out Business Owner Burnout, a free e-book to help you understand and address feelings of burnout so you’re no longer impacted. Whether you identify as a small business owner, entrepreneur, or something else entirely, you’ll have access to the resources you need to thrive and feel good about your business.