Well-being – How Healthy & Happy Do You Feel?
Well-being is a basic human need, yet 44% of all work-related ill-health is due to stress, depression and anxiety. As someone who runs or manages a startup, it’s important to be kind to your mind, body and soul. “Well-being is about feeling healthy and happy”, Cambridge Dictionary. Most importantly, how you feel affects your ability to deal with the day-to-day stresses of everyday life. For example, whether you feel energised and/or have a sense of belonging. Secondly, it affects your ability to manage your mental and physical health. For example, whether you feel happy, sad, angry etc. and whether you feel like eating, socialising, exercising etc. In addition, well-being affects how you perform at work. For instance, whether you feel motivated, productive and challenged.
Whatever well-being means to you, it’s important to prioritise yourself. Most importantly, try to prioritise your needs and what works for you. This means listening to your gut and what your body tells you. For example, some of the most common feelings include; a sense of unease, a knotted tummy or pain in the body. Everyone is different, so listen to your bodies’ signs and signals.
It’s important to avoid noise, including; opinions, negative thinking and procrastination. This can be your own self-talk as much as other people’s opinions and judgements, which can contribute to your own negative thinking.
As you can see from the pie chart opposite, 44% of long-standing work-related ill-health is because of stress, depression or anxiety. This equates to 595,000 workers, with 15.4 million working days lost. For more information, please see the 2017/2018 HSE statistics taken from a Labour Force Survey.
Decline in Well-Being
As a business owner, well-being can be difficult to achieve, let alone maintain. Most business owners feel like an island, all by themselves, with no real support. You’re spinning multiple plates, particularly in the first few years. For instance, you might be the finance, sales, marketing and administration person, all rolled into one. In addition, it takes time to build your brand and genuine customer engagement.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts a growing trend in the decline of mental health. With mental health conditions becoming one of the top illnesses, but what contributes to poor mental health?
- Technology advances and increased usage
- Economic, Financial and modern life changes
- Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Social factors
Depending on how well you manage stress and what tools you have at your disposal, your well-being can suffer. This can have a knock-on effect with your personal life and your ability to effectively run and manage your startup. With an increased reliance on technology, we’ve created an obsession culture. For example, according to Ofcom statistics, during waking hours we check our Smartphones every 12 minutes. In the last decade, people accessing the internet from a mobile device has also increased by 52%.
In business, the latest technology tools and systems have become must haves in order to stay ahead. Technology can help drive productivity and efficiency with automation and streamlined processes. Certainly, technology provides economic and financial advantages. However, technology advances also mean new skills requirements, changes in education, learning and social interactions. For example, with social media and digital messaging and communication apps, we’re more connected globally. However, do you feel more of a physical, emotional and spiritual disconnect? What can you do to help reduce stress, build resilience and improve your well-being?
Tips to Reduce Stress
Develop stress relieving techniques that work for you. For example, sit in a quiet room to relax and prepare in advance for important client (and internal personnel) meetings. In addition, remember to reaffirm positive affirmations about yourself and what you’re doing and why. A good tool is mindfulness, which you can also fit into your daily routine to support your well-being.
Make time for you and what you enjoy. As a business owner, we can often think time is in short supply. However, if you’re not able to make time for yourself, what could happen in the long-run? For example, could it lead to burnout, feeling more stressed, less productive or affect how you communicate with colleagues, customers and suppliers? It’s important to find what works for you and if it helps, ‘schedule’ fun time to help make relax time happen. Most importantly, manage work-time well-being by taking regular short breaks.
Tips to Build Resilience
Avoid drama and resolve conflict timely to mitigate and reduce stress. This business coaching blog on how to handle difficult conversations provides some helpful tips to help you. Linked with this and your ability to manage stress and work effectively is ensuring you get sufficient, good quality sleep. It’s not easy, particularly when you’re keeping lots of plates spinning. However, assuming the worst can also compound the problem. Therefore, think about your surroundings and try to keep to a routine time of when you go to bed. In addition, an hour beforehand, avoid using mobile devices. Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed, which you can use to jot down your thoughts and feelings to help clear your mind of worry and overthinking.
Build support networks that work for you to facilitate better well-being. You know who you can turn to in your friends/family/extended circle. Think about who’s a good listener, who shares similar values, thoughts and feelings. Maybe someone you know has a startup or manages a business. Ask them what keeps them awake at night and what tools they use to manage stress and build their resilience. Most importantly, if you feel burnt out or stress takes a hold, it’s important to seek professional help. For example, through your NHS GP services, organisations like MIND, private therapy or even coaching.
Be Kind to Your Mind
First and foremost, being kind to yourself is necessary for good well-being. Unfortunately, we often spend too much time being unkind to ourselves. For example, listening to other people’s opinions, our own negative thinking and patterns of behaviour. If you struggle with negative thoughts and you want to live a happier and kinder life, why not try mindfulness or meditation.
Mindfulness is one way to be kinder to yourself. It’s about being present and living positively. Being mindful requires practice and time, but practiced daily for a short time, can do wonders for your well-being. Don’t worry about your busy schedule, mindfulness can be worked into your normal daily routine. For example, whilst brushing your teeth. Focus on the action, the sensations, how it feels, the smell of the toothpaste, your surroundings and what you can see and hear.
Through incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine, you begin to rewire your brain and mitigate difficult and negative thoughts. Mindfulness is as simple as that and with time and practice, you can teach yourself to be kind to your mind.
Be Kind to Your Body
Of course, a well-balanced and healthy diet is important for your well-being. For example, a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and alcohol. However, being kind to your body goes beyond what you eat and whether or not you go to the gym. It’s about a healthy and loving mindset. Going for a walk and getting some fresh air can be just as kind to your body as going for a workout.
A healthy mind and what we tell ourselves, affects our body and well-being. We all come in different shapes, heights, sizes, backgrounds etc., but at the end of the day, we’re all human, right? Sadly, we’re constantly bombarded by social media. This can have a negative impact on how we see ourselves and how others see us. This is fundamentally wrong, but at the same time, what’s right? Is there a right and wrong? Only you know the answer, since it’s individual. It’s important to remind yourself and keep this in check to support good mental health and well-being.
If you suffer with body image or low self-esteem, it can feel like a constant battle and uphill struggle. The important thing is to remind yourself that you’re human. You’re beautiful and you can love yourself and be happy. Believe it or not, I spent so much of my life not loving myself or even knowing how to love myself. All because of my personal and individual life experiences; what I’ve experienced, heard and seen. Afterall, it’s easy to judge, assume and form an opinion about who people are, but that’s only based on a small amount of information.
Be Kind to Your Soul
Whether your spiritual, religious or not, be kind to your mind, body and soul. It’s what makes us human and unique. Our soul is our very subconscious and what we feel in our gut and body. It’s our self-awareness and our ability to empathise with other people’s feelings and situations.
In a society focused on how we look, more often than not, we need a little help to boost our self-confidence and self-esteem. For instance, with advertisers playing on our insecurities and cyber bullying the new norm. By building positive reinforcement messages into our day, we help break the cycle. Mirror therapy is one way of improving your well-being and self-esteem. It’s also easy to fit into your normal daily routine, morning or night.
Spend a couple of minutes each day, looking at yourself in a mirror. Then, repeat a short, positive affirmation about yourself. What you say will be unique to you and what you want to achieve. For example, when I was suffering with depression, I would say things like; “you can do this”, “you’re worthy” and “you’re a beautiful human being.” In the beginning, it might feel stupid, embarrassing or silly to say these things to yourself. However, that’s your mind telling you that and no one else has to know or hear what you say out loud (particularly behind a closed door).
Overtime and with a few minutes practice each day, positive talk and messages can help retrain and rewire your mind. Ultimately, supporting the positive changes you want to make to improve your well-being. Most importantly, practice with good intention and alongside other therapeutic tools and techniques.
Contact Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd for Business Coaching
Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd provides business coaching to help you manage the stresses of owning and running a startup. If you’d like to arrange a free and no obligation call, complete the contact form now. Learn how to build resilience, improve your confidence, motivate yourself and/or your team and more.