Life as a business owner often comes with its fair share of challenges. Losing a big client, rapid staff turnover, new competitors that take business away- can all be disruptive forces. The pressure of running a business starts to build up and soon you find yourself coming to work with a heaviness that is difficult to shrug off.
While it can be tempting to focus all your time and attention on the business, it is essential that you take care of yourself and find the support you need to improve your mental health. Here are 5 ways to manage worry and anxiety as a business owner.
1. Admit you have a problem
When you have fallen into a rut in your thinking and mood, the last person to notice is often you. For many business owners, it does not come naturally to separate work and home life. Away from the office, you’ll find yourself constantly thinking about your business and the things that you could be doing.
It can be even more difficult to switch off if you are going through multiple business challenges where your mind can feel saturated with issues you need to tackle, keeping you up at night. One psalm of King Solomon warns how worrying robs us of refreshing and pressing the reset button:
How do you know that you are roaming about in a whirlwind of negativity? You may be finding it difficult to concentrate or make decisions or you feel tense, irritable and oversensitive, leading you to withdraw from people.
Admitting to close Christian mentors and family that you are struggling is often the first step to finding healing. It is far more damaging to health and relationships in the long term when you pretend that everything is ok than when you are honest and upfront about your mental state with people who are trustworthy and you respect.
2. Be intentional on what you read, watch and listen to
Today’s world can be described as an age of distraction. There is so much that eats away at our time and causes people to lose focus, not only on what matters in life, but on life-giving truth.
If you are already struggling with negative thoughts and mindsets, the worst thing you can do is feed yourself off content that reinforces fear, uncertainty and dread. The Apostle Paul wisely encourages Christians faced with an onslaught of troubling news to focus on the good:
The Greek verb for ‘think’ used in this passage is logizomai which means “to consider, to reckon, to carefully reflect.” The human soul is like a garden that can only thrive if it meditates on those things that give glory to God.
Time Magazine cited a recent study by the American Psychological Association that found that more than half of Americans felt the news caused them stress, anxiety or loss of sleep! Even though this was the case, 1 in 10 reported checking the news every hour even though research indicates that the way news is being presented is increasingly more shocking, triggering all sorts of adverse responses from mood swings, aggressive behaviour and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Limiting consumption of news stories that cause panic and distress creates a healthy boundary that will allow God’s peace to do it’s work in your life. In its place, it’s important to create daily habits that involve spending time in God’s Word, prayer and other practices that cultivate a lifestyle of worship so that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit and be better positioned to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b).
3. Seek Christian counsel
There are a host of lies specific to business owners that can push them into a state of worry and anxiety. Questions like “Will the economy continue to grow?” or “Do I have enough cash flow so I can pay my staff?” can all keep business owners awake at night. These questions and more can plague a business owner and tip them over to state of panic if they are not careful.
The Scriptures encourage Christians to bring their concerns to God and He promises life and an inward stability.
Sometimes if you have spent years living with a negative mindset it is helpful to engage with a good Christian counsellor and start the journey of challenging some of your ingrained patterns of thinking. When stretched for time, the last thing you may feel you need is time out for Christian counselling to deal with anxiety and worry. However, spending time with a good Christian counsellor can help get to the root of anxiety. When you make yourself available to Bible-based counselling, you can find clarity in identifying some of the destructive ways you view God, yourself and others.
4. Choose the right narrative for your circumstances
When building a business, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. Juggling problems with cash flow, projects behind schedule or a client that is difficult can all chew into time and resources.
Reminding yourself of the things that are going right can be a powerful antidote that can positively affect your attitude. You can significantly improve your stress management in business, simply by reminding yourself of the things that are going right.
Choosing the right narrative for your circumstances can stop you from falling into a pit of hopelessness and despair as well as helping you to appreciate the good things God has accomplished in and through your lives.
5. Give thanks
The Scriptures give us many examples of people who went through trials and testings. Yet there are so many encouragements to believers to give thanks no matter the obstacles they confront. Again, the Apostle Paul shares wise guidance when facing setbacks:
The New Testament is filled with exhortations to believers of the abundant spiritual blessings available in Christ Jesus. This is no warm and fuzzy pep talk, it is the Word of God. God the Father’s love letter to individuals through the Scriptures urges a response of gratitude regardless of the giants faced in life and business.
Thankfulness quenches negative thinking. It is the antibiotics to feeling weak, insignificant and confused. The decision to daily thank God for His wonderful acts of kindness is one that will change the course of your life. It kills off bitterness and resentment that can often be at the root of depression and withdrawal. But most of all, a frame of mind that is thankful will allow the peace of God to do His work in your lives, liberating you heart and mind so that you can live every day in the authority and power of Jesus.