Despite the potential rewards, freedom and fulfilment, the grind of running a business can take a toll on your mind – but prioritising mental health is a critical gap in most owners’ business planning.

Constant stress. Fatigue. Poor sleep. Lack of leisure. The need to be “always on”. The pressure of holding the livelihood of your staff’s families in your hands. Loneliness. Who would want to run an SMB? The wear and tear on your mental health can be relentless.

Fortunately, the human spirit is incredibly resilient and a worn-out brain can mend rapidly, just like any other part of the body – you just have to prioritise its recovery.

If you are isolated, find ways to connect authentically with other human beings. Networking with other businesses leaders is very good – no-one else really knows what it’s like to be driving a business. Just be prepared to step out of denial, take off the mask of bravado and admit to each other it’s hard.

Having a counsellor or therapist is absolutely worth investing your time. Talking cures. Evaluate potential therapists like you would any key supplier. Find someone who clicks with you.

If you’re unsure, Beyond Blue has online tests like K10. Your doctor does too. 18 months or so of mild antidepressants is far better than dealing with demons every day.

Prioritise sleep. Exercise. Diet. You know it all, but perhaps you don’t quite believe this: your mind is your business’s most important and valuable piece of equipment. Give it a service plan and stick to it. Healthy mind, healthy business.

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