Three practical ways to look after your wellbeing in FY22 

- June 28, 2021 3 MIN READ

Being your own boss is something that many Australians dream of – and for good reason. Aspiring to financial independence, flexibility, and creative or strategic control can be hugely rewarding. However, as the past year has proven, it’s not without its challenges, writes Lucas Finch, Global Head of Wellbeing, Xero.

For small businesses and sole traders, coping with the highs and lows of running a business comes with great responsibility. And sometimes, the weight of that burden can take a heavy toll on how you feel. According to Xero’s Emotional Tax Return research – a new survey that uncovers the emotional impact of running a small business – almost seven in 10 (68 per cent) Australians say that the past 12 months have been more emotionally draining than any other year before. This indicates that in FY21, wellbeing has largely fallen by the wayside. 

Tips to  top up your wellbeing

But despite ongoing pandemic uncertainty, there are ways to replenish those feel-good reserves. And the new financial year is a great opportunity to set yourself up with strategies to do just that. Whether you intend to plan for personal commitments, do more of what you love, or ask for help, each small step counts towards easing some emotional tolls in the year ahead. 

Use your energy wisely to increase wellbeing

As a small business owner, time and energy are some of your most valuable assets. But when it comes to productivity, we often practice time management without considering how our energy levels can impact the quality of our work. 

Part of wellbeing is learning how to build and spend energy – and that looks different for everyone. Of course,  movement and exercise, sleep, and nutrition are all foundational to feeling good, and it’s worth exploring how you can optimise these (especially if your routines have been disrupted since the pandemic). Even the most incremental changes can improve your mood and perspective, kickstarting a positive ripple effect in other aspects of your life.   

In addition to these things, there are other ways to ‘fill your cup’ throughout the day. In practical terms, this could mean setting aside 10 minutes to do what you love most – like spending time connecting with customers or talking to your favourite suppliers. 

Be sure to schedule these moments, as well as more regular breaks into your calendar. Even taking breaks away from your work for as little as 40 seconds can add up over the course of a day. The more downtime you can build into your week, the more energy you’ll have for when you need it most, all so you can show up for those moments that matter – both inside and outside of work.

Plan for what’s in your control 

Any small business owner or manager knows that finding time for personal commitments isn’t always an option when you work for yourself. According to the Emotional Tax Return survey, they lose 15 hours a week on average that could be spent with their family, social life or hobbies. However, through planning, compromise, and external support, winning back lost time can become more achievable. 

Note which tasks you find most challenging, and consider whether they can be outsourced. Although this will likely incur a cost, it’s worth calculating how many hours you would typically spend doing it yourself to see whether the return-on-investment will be worth your while. 

For example, if you’re spending several hours managing your books each week, perhaps it’s time to invest in an advisor or software that can help. The Xero Advisor Directory is a great place to start, connecting you with bookkeepers and accountants all over Australia. What’s more, you can filter by industry and location to find a match that’s right for your business. 

Remember not to be too hard on yourself when personal commitments fall through. In return for your loved ones’ understanding, make a conscious effort to give them your undivided attention when you do get a chance to spend quality time together.

Be proactive about getting support 

We know that being a small business owner takes an emotional toll. And an important skill in taking control of your wellbeing is asking for help when – if not before – you need it. Thankfully, there are resources available for small business owners that can really make a difference.

Ahead for Business is a digital hub that offers small business owners a free wellbeing plan with a realistic and tailored approach to managing stress. Also, Beyond Blue’s NewAccess program provides free and confidential mental health coaching to all Australian small business owners and sole traders. 

These are just some of the many great programs out there. If you’re not comfortable speaking to an organisation, reach out to your GP or someone you trust instead. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. 

Being a small business owner is indeed a labour of love. But despite the heartache, the Emotional Tax Return survey reveals that most Aussies running a small business (77 per cent) wouldn’t change it for the world. Putting wellbeing strategies into practice is about learning to manage the lows so you can enjoy more of the rewards that come with being your own boss. And after the year that was, we all deserve to fill our cups and feel good in FY22. 

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