Entrepreneurs: Make mental health a priority

As an entrepreneur, you face many challenges on a daily basis. These demands can be physical, but also psychological, which can be a lot to deal with. Having a plan to stay mentally fit and to handle these challenges in a productive way is important for your heath, as well as to the longevity of your business.

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Make mental health a priority
Whether you’re self-employed or manage a team of employees, mental health should be a priority for your business. Mental health includes having a sense of purpose, enjoying what you do each day, having positive support from others, feeling safe in your surroundings, and having enough energy to get things done. Stress and fatigue can negatively affect people’s ability to perform tasks and reach objectives, and therefore negatively affect the business they do.

As an employer, you want your employees to do their best and be happy at work. This means providing the tools your organization needs to make that happen. However, you might also worry that the expense of investing in wellness or motivational programs could hurt your bottom line. The truth is, employee stress and mental fatigue can end up costing your business in the long run. Unhealthy and unhappy employees can lead to more leave requests, lower productivity, and an increase in turnover. You may decide that you can’t afford not to invest in mental health resources.

Wellness programs and a climate of support
Creating a healthy work environment isn’t just about implementing programs. You can lead by example to create an organizational culture that is supportive and enhances employee well-being. Championing good mental health can go a long way in removing the stigma some employees may experience if they are having psychological difficulties and need to ask for help or time to heal, just as they would if they suffered a physical injury.

Motivation-based training and wellness programs can teach all of us how to manage our mental and physical health, as well as things like our learning behavior. If you plan to introduce these types of activities into your organization, you should share your intentions with anyone who might be eligible to participate. You can welcome their suggestions and even have employees set their own goals. Here are a few ideas:

Invite local, qualified mental health experts to speak at your place of business on topics such as nutrition, fitness, and managing stress.
Sponsor employees to take part in charity events, fitness campaigns, activity days, etc.
Encourage employees to form wellness committees with support for those who need it, or education for the team as a whole.
If you are self-employed, you could reach out to other like-minded entrepreneurs with whom you could engage in wellness activities, and create a network of support.
You may encounter situations where workplace or community support is not enough to address serious problems. If this is the case, it may be time to seek help from a licensed mental health professional.

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Evaluate the results
It can be a challenge to quantify a “healthy workplace” but things like performance measurement can help when it comes to establishing a baseline and monitoring improvement going forward. It’s a good idea to keep track of the number of participants in wellness programs or motivational training, to see if there is a direct correlation between participation and reduction in sick leave or disability claims over time.

Taking a proactive approach to mental health helps everyone deal with inevitable challenges and setbacks in a productive and healthy way. Ultimately, that’s good for business!

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