It is well known that the entrepreneurial life is often a stressful one with many challenges and a lot of uncertainty. A recent study (before the coronavirus pandemic) found that two thirds (62%) of Canadian entrepreneurs feel depressed at least once a week. With COVID-19 dramatically shifting the professional and personal routines of entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is reasonable to assume the numbers are now much higher.
Today, we want to spend some time to support you in reflecting on what you can do to take care of your mental health, so that you have resources and strategies to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm.
If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, we recommend that you:
- Focus on what you can control
- Use professional counselling services
A. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
While a lot is currently outside of your control, there are important things you can choose to do to support your mental health:
Choose to Stay Active
Regular exercise can have a major positive impact on you as it will improve your mental and emotional health, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better. Make a point of scheduling activity into your day. Plan to take a walk or if you can’t go outside, you can do stretches, a free online workout video on YouTube or Instagram, or you can join many of the free online dance parties.
Choose to Eat a Healthy Diet
Healthy foods will support your mental health. Foods that can support your mood include fatty fish rich in omega-3s, nuts, avocados, beans, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
Choose to NOT Skimp on Sleep
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. Studies suggest that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience, while chronic sleep deprivation sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability. Be sure to plan to sleep enough each night and limit the use of stimulating devices — TV, phones, tablets or computers — at least two hours before bedtime to help you fall asleep more easily.
B. USE PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLING SERVICES
The following wellness resources provide free professional counselling services to students and can help you identify coping strategies that will work for your personality and current circumstances:
Here2Talk is a new mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students by The Government of British Columbia that offers free single-session telephone and chat-based counselling by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
MindShift is a free app from Anxiety Canada that provides tools for managing anxiety and stress. MindShift™ CBT uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety.
BCIT Counselling is providing phone-based and virtual appointments to students.
BCITSA Online Wellness Support Group Sessions are available for students who are emotionally impacted by COVID-19 and would like to connect with peers and a mental health professional for resources and support.
Are you feeling overwhelm and anxiety about your business or business idea? Would you like to talk to someone objective about how you can approach your current business goals? Our services are free and your BCITSA Entrepreneurship team members (Laura and Tania) are here to support you! Book an online one-on-one appointment with us.
Take good care of yourself and tap into the support services available to you. Remember: You are not alone in this!