R U OK Day has been an important date in the Australian calendar for the past 12 years, but it carries even more weight this week given the heavy burden of pandemic uncertainty, sacrifices and isolation, writes Simeon Duncan, Senior Manager, International Corporate Affairs, Intuit Australia.
How to prioritise mental health every day not just R U OK Day
Small business owners have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Standing employees down during lockdowns, seeing cash flow dry up, and worrying about unused stock has led to many sleepless nights. It’s important to prioritise mental health and wellbeing during these stressful times.
Create a third space
In recent research commissioned by Allianz, 45 per cent of employees said there are fewer boundaries between personal and work life. For many Australians, losing access to a physical office means their home has become a hub of all things. Dr Adam Fraser, author of The Third Space encourages workers to put a gap between work and personal life to improve mental health. This could mean packing away your computer at the end of the day, turning off notifications during exercise or dinner, or reserving music and television to home life.
Protect your time
Hybrid working has many people feeling the pressure to work longer hours. With little freedom for personal enjoyment, it can feel like work is taking over your life. Sometimes a five-minute break makes a world of difference. Block out dedicated times to get away from the desk and go for a walk, cook something or call a loved one.
Practise gratitude today
Looking for the positives in life and feeling thankful for them helps improve mental health. It might feel like these bright spots could be counted on one hand at the moment, but take some time to acknowledge them. Looking at the big picture, it was encouraging to hear the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate recently that more than 365,000 new businesses opened for business during the past financial year. As well, take time to thank those who have helped to stay afloat, like the two-thirds of small businesses who were able to retain staff as a result of advice they received from their financial advisors, according to research from Intuit QuickBooks.
Intuit Quickbooks found that one in two small business owners were able to use their accountant for emotional support, with a further 15 per cent saying they were a shoulder to cry on. I encourage all small business owners to give an honest answer when asked how they’re going this R U OK Day. Pass it on and ask how other small business owners in your community are doing, whether it’s your accountant, a supplier, the shop next door, or a friend.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for Australia’s small businesses as vaccination rates increase and governments make plans to reopen the economy. In the meantime, check-in with each other and support your local small businesses this R U OK Day.
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