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COVID-19 and your mental health

While Australia seems to be over the worst of the COVID-19 restrictions, things still aren’t back to ‘normal’.

Small business owners had, and continue to face, many additional COVID-19 related stressors that can significantly impact on mental health and wellbeing. As a small business owner, you may have been juggling a variety of challenges such as adapting your business to COVID-19 rules and regulations, managing JobKeeper payments for employees and dealing with customer aggression towards restrictions. Navigating this new, unknown territory may cause you a great deal of stress, and could lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Signs your mental health is impacted

As a small business owner, you may still be feeling overwhelmed by the financial impact of COVID-19 and stressed about the future of your business. If you are concerned about any of the below symptoms in yourself, consider seeking support.

  • Prolonged decreased energy or fatigue: You feel constantly drowsy no matter how much sleep you had.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: You can’t hold your attention on important tasks and even small decisions seem difficult and overwhelming.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies: You have stopped doing something you once enjoyed, and have not made an effort to re-establish your hobby.
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness: Things that may once have brought you joy do not seem to affect you, or cannot overpower the feelings of sadness.
  • Anger or irritability: Feeling agitated without reason and overreacting to minor inconveniences.
  • Feelings of panic or dread: You find yourself anticipating the worst.
  • Restlessness or racing heart: You feel on edge and anxious often.
  • Lack of confidence: You do not trust your own judgement and have lower self-esteem than usual.
  • Changes in eating behaviours: Eating notably more or less every day.

How can I improve my mental health and wellbeing?

If you are concerned about your mental health and wellbeing or want to improve your mental health, you can implement some basic techniques into your daily life. Below are some actions you can take to improve your mental health.

  • Get more sleep: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, set a routine where you read in bed for half an hour before you go to sleep.
  • Do more exercise: 30 minutes of physical activity a day is recommended. You might consider breaking this into small chunks by walking 10 minutes at lunch or doing short one-minute activity bursts throughout your workday.
  • Practise self-care: Look after yourself, make time for things you want to do. Learn some relaxation and breathing exercises and perform them regularly.
  • Be more social: Connect with friends and family daily, even if it is a short text message. Talk to somebody you trust if you are feeling down.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive and optimistic outlook. Perhaps turn off the news and list three good things that happened to you today, no matter how small.

There are a lot of mental health resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Please see the readings below to access further support. There are also a lot of practical resources and financial assistance available to small businesses, please see the ‘Financially impacted by COVID-19?’ page for more information and links to useful websites.

Further reading

COVID-19 Updates

The latest official coronavirus news, updates and advice from the Australian Government.

Head to Health COVID-19 Support

A variety of COVID-19 information including facts, mental health resources, managing financial stress, where to access mental health services, and information for parents.

More Resources