You would think that with the public sphere primed to debate mental health 24 hours a day that there would be more urgency around the topic of loneliness. Loneliness, which leads us to crave human company and attention, can be a trigger for all sorts of mental health concerns, including but not limited to Anxiety and Depression. What’s talked about even less is the loneliness that comes when you run your own business. There are strategies you can take that can help you combat feelings of loneliness. And we’ll discuss those here.
Often networking is presented as a purely professional habit, something you do when you are looking to expand your business through investment, sales, or partnership. This isn’t always its sole function, however, due to plenty of entrepreneurs making lifelong friends through functions set up primarily to court potential business relationships. There are plenty of networks you can try to get started like the Association of Directors, a networking organisation just for bosses. You’ll likely make some excellent business contacts but also friends as well, as you’re likely to personally connect with people with similar ambitions and problems to you.
It’s a double-edged sword of sorts because social media is growing a reputation as being something of an instigator of loneliness so it’s good that you moderate the time you spend on there. When done correctly, having an online community of like-minds that you can talk to whenever you feel a pang of loneliness can be a soothing balm. It is important to preen your feed and create a warm and welcoming place with positive posters and trusted friends, who feel like home whenever you read a tweet or see a selfie.
Celebrate Your Achievements
Entrepreneurs, particularly those just at the start of their careers can feel overwhelmed with the sheer enormity and number of the tasks they need to achieve, and while knowledge of this can be sobering and help to ground you in reality that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the little things. Learning to be kinder to yourself is something we all could work on but particularly when you have a mountain to climb professionally, you should take time to look back on the distance already made and pat yourself on the back.
Befriend Your Staff
Yes, of course being a boss first and foremost is the most important thing but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh with your staff. Particularly in small businesses they can feel like families, especially if you are all working in the same office. Being a friend to your staff can be a great motivator as they’ll want to impress someone whose opinion matters to them. More than that, though, staff can be lifelong friends even after they move on from the company.
Have a Social Life!
For the majority of the workforce, their job starts at 9am and ends at 5pm. Not so, for the boss who must be switched on at all times and so any downtime they do get they find themselves in business-mode and unable to enjoy a dinner with friends or a party without, at some stage, thinking: is this how I should be spending my time (life)? Yes, it is. It’s not lazy to need some time to yourself. And it can be better rather than trying to do everything at once.