Self-managing your mental health during the coronavirus crisis

- April 16, 2020 3 MIN READ

As many small business owners and entrepreneurs are grappling with the financial challenges of maintaining their business during this pandemic, the vast majority are also being tested in terms of their mental and emotional resilience. Beyond Blue has already reported a 30 per cent increase in calls for mental wellbeing support.

The impact of these unsettling times on our mental health will be an ongoing challenge throughout and following the pandemic, as entrepreneurs look to sustain, pivot, re-build or start anew with their businesses.

However, this is a battle that can be won if we take a proactive approach to managing our own mental health and supporting each other through these challenging times.

Self-assessing your mental health

There are numerous resources available to support with mental health and wellbeing, from mindfulness and meditation practices, to national help lines.

It can be tempting and even natural to continue forging through times of stress, anxiety or fear, suppressing these emotions in the unconscious hoping that they will naturally dissipate. Suppressing emotions in this way can lead to damaging physical outcomes, such as increased blood pressure, insomnia as well as further heightening negative mindsets.

If you notice that you feel differently to how you normally feel and this feeling is not getting better over time, it is important to put your hand up and ask for the help you need. Too many of us let our pride get in the way or are worried about what others might think of us, rather than feel comfortable to admit that we need help. The truth is that we all need help at different times in our lives and it takes courage and vulnerability, not judgement and criticism for us to get the help we need.

If you find yourself increasingly anxious; feeling isolated and lonely; consistently not sleeping well; emotionally reacting to situations and to people; self sabotaging through any means such as heavily drinking alcohol, having poor eating habits or even gambling, these may be signs that you are not okay and it is time to ask for help.

Take control and build a positive mindset

Fear is a natural part of our human instinct to protect us from danger. Consequently, it requires a proactive effort to step out of a fear-based mindset. Once you’ve caught yourself in a state of fear, interrupt the negative thought and re-focus your attention to your ideal outcome. Try to envision your desired outcomes for the day ahead. What can you do today? What is possible and what could bring you joy?

Focus on what you are grateful for. Celebrate the things that bring you happiness and comfort, even being grateful for something as small as your morning coffee helps.

Meditate regularly. Meditation has been scientifically proven as the most effective remedy to stress. Meditation supports a deep state of rest that eliminates stress and promotes an inner state of peace and tranquility.

Build routines that help sustain a positive mindset

Routines are critical to maintaining a healthy and constructive mindset, and a change or lack of routine can often instigate unhealthy and negative thoughts. During coronavirus, where almost everyone’s routines have changed, we need to re-build routines in our new environments to sustain positivity long-term.

Getting enough sleep is the number one thing you can do to support yourself in experiencing positive energy.When we sleep our bodies repair. So, if our bodies are not given the chance to repair, all sorts of health issues can surface and over time being sleep deprived can lead to emotional disturbances such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.

If you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, you will set your circadian rhythm, which is your body clock, so you are more likely to fall asleep and wake naturally.

Exercise supports us to have a positive mindset. Try to take a balanced approach to your exercise regime. Balance high energy/cardio exercise (such as running, skipping and active movement) with low energy/cardio exercise (yoga, pilates and weight training).

Practice gratitude – We are lucky in Australia to have the opportunity to be able to social distance because many other countries literally don’t have the space to enable this. The more we are grateful, the happier we become. Practicing gratitude throughout the day can ensure a positive mindset is sparked and consistently maintained.

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