By Drew Barvir

As a small business owner, you are often your business’s greatest asset. When you thrive, your business thrives.

COVID-19 and social distancing have introduced unprecedented change to the dynamic lifestyles of small business owners. These individuals must now cope and adapt to the realities of a vastly different operational and economic environment, not to mention the challenges of working from home with more distractions and dealing with the stresses of a global pandemic.

With so much going on, personal health and wellbeing can often be lost in the shuffle. Don’t forget your company’s greatest asset! Here are some simple tips for maintaining this asset. Think of it like hand-washing and social distancing: necessary practices in order to maintain mental health and well-being.

Moderate your news intake

There are seemingly limitless amounts of information available on COVID-19, ranging from developments on the spread of the virus, its impacts on people and businesses, response by governments and advances (or lack thereof) of testing or vaccines.

While it is important to stay informed, being enveloped by the constant flow of information, both positive and negative, can be taxing on your mental health. Strike a balance between staying informed, but not overwhelmed, through the following:

  • Find your go-to news sources: Choose 2-3 news sources to follow the latest international and local developments. This will allow you to efficiently follow story lines, while avoiding repetition.
  • Limit frequency of updates: While the situation is rapidly evolving, it is not necessary to consistently be on top of every new development. Think of it this way: if there is a hurricane about to strike your neighborhood, you need information as soon as possible. COVID-19 is not a hurricane. Turn off news and social media notifications.
  • Take a break: Give yourself time away from your electronics to focus on the here and now. Spend time (even virtually) with those you love and focus on outcomes within your control.

Prioritize your basic needs

Don’t forget about the essentials of basic health that will allow you to thrive during times of stress.

  • Get adequate sleep: There are numerous studies citing sleep as the foundation for keeping happy, healthy and productive.
  • Practice good nutrition: Be wary of over or under eating and focus on a balanced diet. Would you put low-grade fuel in a Ferrari?
  • Exercise regularly: Reducing stress, improving sleep and strengthening immunity are just some of the many benefits of exercise. This can be anything involving physical activity: going for a walk, working in the garden, dancing, etc. It does not have to be an intense workout.

Keep a social routine

Are you the type of person that enjoys many casual or few deep interactions? While one is not better than another, knowing what makes you tick will help you to maintain the appropriate level of social interaction through social isolation. Make a list of people you’d like to keep in touch with and connect with one (or more) per day via video call. There is not an optimal length or number of people; do what’s best for you.

Use social media as a compliment, not a substitute

Social media can be a helpful tool to stay-in-touch with friends, family and the world, but it is not a substitute for human interaction. Like the news, be conscious of your dependence and time spent on social media.

Keep a gratitude journal

Focusing on the positives in your life can be immensely helpful. Make this a routine through daily journal entries documenting the activities or people that you’re thankful for. Challenge yourself to keep these to a couple of sentences or bullet points. This will make it easier to maintain this practice.

It’s okay to worry

Feeling stress or anxiety about COVID-19 and its related impact is natural. This is how our bodies react to new and unprecedented times. Embrace and talk about your fears openly; the key is to work toward understanding and contextualizing your fears, so they don’t keep you from living your healthiest life.

Reflect on what wellbeing means to you

Every person is unique. Spend some time thinking about what people and activities matter most to you. Continue to incorporate and prioritize these in your life.