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Improve your own wellbeing


By Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc (provider of FSB Care)

The world of business can be stressful, particularly so in the case of small firms. Research has shown small business owners work 13 hours a week more than the UK average (37 hours) and it is not uncommon to find smaller business owners working over 80 hours each working week.  

It is well recognised that poor wellbeing can manifest and exacerbate mental health issues; so good wellbeing is as important if not more so for small businesses owners to consider. The following tips should help you to take action to improve your own mental health and wellbeing: 

Appropriate counselling

Mental health services in the NHS are under severe pressure, and it is not unusual for people to wait three months for a course of counselling or therapy. Particularly in the interests of getting small business owners on the road to recovery as quickly as possible, it is important to have a clinical assessment to ensure that the most appropriate therapy is provided, not just counselling. 

This might also include other, more appropriate therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR). Not all counselling is the same, so we advise small business owners to find specialists that understand your specific needs. These might be offered via employee assistance programmes or offered via your trade organisation and are worth investigating.

Support for physical and mental health

Serious physical health conditions are almost always accompanied by mental health symptoms such as anxiety or depression, particularly when there is the added pressure of running a business. There can be many unanswered questions surrounding the physical condition and the proposed treatment. 

Practical information to answer these questions coupled with emotional support is often a lifeline to help people and their families through a very difficult time, so we recommend getting help that addresses the physical and mental aspects as early as possible. 

There are many ways to access this for small business owners, and many group protection policies (critical illness, life assurance, income protection) incorporate value-added services such as these so it is definitely worth exploring what’s available.

Second medical opinion

From time to time, business owners may have a diagnosis of a serious illness. This can be a particularly worrying time on top of running a business. Some people find a second medical opinion can bring reassurance or sometimes a different outcome. 

Specialist services are available that can arrange second medical opinions, and we would recommend that business owners source those that understand the need for a quick response and can give information, advice and support in dealing with the outcome.

Support groups and charities

Self-help, support groups and charities can provide a lot of help and support to people in specific circumstances. This can range from practical services such as Macmillan cancer nurses to weekend workshops for bereaved families, through Winston’s Wish to Carers support groups through Carers UK. 

Long-term support

In times of physical or mental ill-health, trauma or bereavement, long-term holistic support can make a huge difference for small business owners. Navigating the fragmented UK health system, social services and charities can be very complicated and time-consuming. 

Expert guidance can make a big difference and allow the individual to get access to all that they are entitled to and concentrate on their recovery and returning to work as soon as they are able.

Use existing services

Most business owners are not aware of everything that is available and how to approach them, but support services that are offered alongside group insurance policies, or specialist arrangements that have been put in place by organisations such as FSB. FSB Care is provided by the FSB and provides these services for members free of charge, the service can be purchased for non-members including employees, so we would recommend that members look at this service in the first instance.