Being an owner-manager can be an isolating business. The stress and worry of running the business, making smart decisions that will affect colleagues and family, and much more, can take its toll.
When taking part in our range of programmes and workshops, our participants are happy to share their stories with their contemporaries – fellow entrepreneurs, leaders and owner-managers.
Aside from the practical and academic knowledge imparted, we hear a lot about the emotional and personal side of running a successful business. The Icehouse Owner Manager Exchange programme, for example (open to Owner Manager Programme alumni), includes sessions on wellbeing and resilience, because mental health and physical wellbeing is vitally important to stay at the top of the game. As more and more business leaders are looking for ways to ease pressure, what can you do?
| Practical steps to de-stress and find some calm
Did you know that not exercising reduces productivity by 50%, and a poor diet lowers productivity by a massive 66%? We know that eating well, exercising regularly and getting high-quality sleep are essential factors in staying healthy – but easier said than done. However:
Find a winning routine that works for you. Apple CEO Tim Cook sends out company emails at 4:30 am every day, and then heads to the gym at 5 am. Be logical. If you’re a morning person, get up at 5 am and go to bed at 8 pm. Identify when you’re most productive. If checking your emails and answering sales enquiries at 6 am works for you, then stick to it. Once you find your magic time, you will complete tasks quicker and race through your to-do list.
Take frequent short breaks during the working week – even if it’s just to the coffee shop at the end of the road. It will help! On days when you’re totally time-poor, take a colleague with you – you can discuss any work issues on the way, and the fresh air will help provide you with some clarity.
Stay hydrated. As well as helping with physical activity, hydration improves brain energy and memory functions. One study found that just a small 1.6% fluid loss to the body was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue (US National Institute of Health).
If you’re not sporty, still try to do a little physical activity that’s as far away from the business as possible, as it has been proven to relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing. Switch off after work. It’s really hard, but reading a book, listening to music, if only for a few minutes, will help you relax.
| Discover the benefits of breaks and delegation
Learning to delegate and trust your team is a valuable skill to learn in becoming a better leader and owner. Understanding that you don’t have to do it all on your own, and that a loyal, inspired and empowered team wants to help you, has so many advantages on a health level.
If a holiday is too daunting or simply too expensive at the moment, then take off a rare Friday and have a long weekend – even if it’s at home. Your team can cope! The business won’t fall apart because you’re not there and, you might actually find that they cope rather well when you’re doing other things!
| And finally...
Speak to someone. Sharing your pain points, worries and challenges with someone outside the business will enable you to get re-centred and back on track emotionally. For owners and entrepreneurs, that self-doubting ‘little voice in the head’ needs quietening down. Speaking to a trusted individual who has nothing to do with your work will help you get the perspective you need. And there are plenty of organisations out there who are willing to listen and give great advice.
For more business ownership and leadership advice check out more of our blogs.