The pandemic has especially taken a toll on small and medium businesses. Entrepreneurs and independent professionals have had to deal with a double whammy. On one hand, they have to factor in every day finances (which include wages and overhead costs, rental dues, etc). On the other they have to battle their fears and anxieties. Here’s how they are coping with stress.
Coping with stress with music
Like the tourism sector, the restaurant business has also been severely impacted. Meldan D’Cunha, owner of Bandra-based Goan eatery, Soul Fry, shares, “Business is down, and I am trying to cut my losses by taking on home deliveries. Some of my employees have moved back to their native towns, while others have taken up odd jobs. I am managing with skeletal staff. At this challenging time, the vibrant online Soul Fry Community has really helped me use my time productively. Music has become a way for the community to bond virtually, and it has also kept me occupied, and helped me de-stress.”
Practicing yoga to calm the mind
While music has helped Meldan cope with the financial and emotional impact of the pandemic. For Komal Lath, founder of independent marcom agency, Tute Consult, yoga has made a huge difference. She says, “Living in the moment, blocking out negative news, practicing yoga and adopting a sense of gratitude has helped me start the day on a positive note.”
Yoga practitioner, Shameem Akhtar adds, “One of the things people need to understand is that it’s wrong to say that one should not feel anxious. We need to channelise that anxiety. Yoga helps with coping with stress, and also calms the mind. Fear or anxiety are not our enemies, we have to learn to channelise them in a positive way.”
Tips to cope with stress
Mental health experts advise being mindful about your body’s responses to stressors and to be more adaptable rather than rigid and set in old ways. Milan Balakrishnan, consulting psychiatrist suggests ways for entrepreneurs and independent professionals to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.
Dealing with the uncertainty
When you feel overwhelmed, he suggests jotting down things that are in your control, and things which are not.
Communicate with people around you
To survive, you need to communicate better. Don’t bottle your emotions, and be honest and upfront with people you care about. When it comes to your employees, be open about the financial state of the business. Make sure that your employees feel involved in the decisions.
Take care of your own mental well-being
While it’s important to take care of your staff, it’s equally important to be mindful about your own mental well-being. Try and not let the current situation affect your day-to-day living. Exercise, stick to a daily schedule, and if you have drifted away from it, try and get back to it.
Practice basic mindfulness
You can use mindfulness apps and meditative practices that can help you focus and live in the moment.
Consult a mental health expert if…
Depending on the intensity of anxiety, and how much it’s impacting your work and personal life, decide if you need help. If it’s not too intense, understanding what anxiety is, and how, it’s triggered can be a major sense of relief. An online consultation with a mental health expert can also help in extreme cases after physical ailments have been ruled out.