May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to focus on the needs of millions of individuals impacted by mental health concerns, including the debilitating impact of stress and anxiety.
It might surprise you to know that overall a major contributor to stress and anxiety is worry about finances. In a recent survey by the American Psychological Association entitled “Stress in America™,” 72% of Americans said they had stressed about money in the prior month. In fact, financial stress often weighs in as the top stressor in similar surveys, topping other key areas such as politics, work, and family.
As a business owner, you are only human, and running a business brings significant added financial pressure. When you are worried about finances, it not only impacts you, but your business and employees. When your body and emotions are reacting to stress and anxiety, it changes the way you process information and act. Imagine facing a downturn in revenue or wondering if you’ll be able to meet next month’s expenses or payroll. The negative effects exerted by stress can lead to an increase in isolation and fear, which in turn can negatively impact key operational decisions and ultimately your overall business health.
There are some steps you can take to reduce your financial stress, ensure sound business decisions, and increase your own sense of well-being.
Be self aware of the quality of your decision making. Some danger signs of bad business decisions made under stress are ones made without careful consideration, reached too quickly, made without consulting others, or arrived at when we’re not feeling our best. If you feel you are falling into one of those categories, take a step back and re-evaluate.
Don’t go it alone. We’re not advocating for talking to everyone about key decisions, but identifying a few individuals inside or outside your organization who could provide valuable insight when facing important issues will help you make better decisions and reduce your stress level.
Take a break. Stress is notorious for helping you lose overall perspective. If you’ve been working nonstop, give yourself permission to detach yourself from work for a time. Take a walk, rest, meditate. Think of that time as not only an investment in your mental health, but the health of your business.
Master your numbers. Financial stress often comes from incomplete data or fear of what you don’t know. When you have the accounting processes and periodic balance sheet reviews in place, you’ll be able to plan strategically to keep your bottom line healthy. Working with a knowledgeable business accounting partner can be an invaluable asset in this area. Knowledge is power
Don’t let financial stress hijack your sense of well-being and ability to run your business. Talk to us about ways we can help.