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Build resilience to prepare for adverse events

Life is full of unexpected events, which can impact you and your business. Building resilience helps us mentally prepare for adverse circumstances in our lives.

As a small business owner, there are many stressful and adverse events, which can occur within your work and personal life that can impact on your business, or your capacity to run your business. This could include flooding, bushfires, drought, a global pandemic, an illness in yourself or family, death of a loved one, supply chain issues, loss of a key staff member – the list goes on.

Mental health in the time of a crisis may greatly contribute to the outcomes of your business. Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy also helps keep your business healthy. Introduce some protective factors into your daily life to help improve your mental resilience, this will help you overcome many stressful business and personal situations that arise.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to cope with and adapt to these types of adverse events. It is about using your mental strength to overcome adversity and come out stronger and more confident on the other side.

If you think of your mental health as a bucket, there are things that contribute to good mental health and fill your bucket, as well as things that contribute to mental ill-health and put holes in your bucket. It is important to increase factors that fill your bucket, and decrease factors putting holes in your bucket. The fuller your bucket is when an adverse event occurs, the longer it is going to take to empty and cause stress, burnout and other mental health issues.

Building resilience

Take a proactive approach to improving mental health and resilience. Owning a business can increase stress, and presents unique ways in which owners can be affected by adverse events. Listed below are some ‘protective factors’ which help build your resilience and bounce back from adversity:

  • Maintain strong/ healthy social connections and relationships: Arrange a date night with your partner or a coffee catch-up with a friend.
  • Take care of yourself physically: Eat healthy, exercise, avoid negative outlets such as drugs and alcohol.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy, and try new things you might enjoy: Sign up to a club or activity in your local community.
  • Be proactive: Do something you have been avoiding, no matter how small.
  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation: Learn some breathing and visualisation techniques and perform them regularly.
  • Take steps to move towards your goals: Break them down into smaller actionable steps, write them down, and tick them off when complete.
  • Do not expect yourself to be perfect: Learn and grow from your mistakes.
  • Maintain a positive outlook: Do not dwell on things outside your control.

Risk factors

While it is important to increase protective factors, which contribute to increased resilience, it is just as important to decrease ‘risk factors’ which can negatively affect your resilience and ability to cope with adverse events. Risk factors are generally the opposite of protective factors, so may include factors such as:

  • Poor social connections and feelings of isolation
  • Unhealthy lifestyle such as poor diet, lack of exercise and overuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Taking no time for yourself
  • Avoidance of tasks which contribute to your productivity and goals
  • Poor mental health/existing mental health problems
  • Being self-critical and having a negative outlook.

Further reading

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