How small business owners can cope with the stress of the coronavirus

Stressed small business owner
Apr 20, 2020
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Nearly one-in-five U.S. adults (18%) say they have had a physical reaction in the last seven days when thinking about the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted March 19–24.

Without a doubt, the coronavirus has created stress and uncertainty for all of us. This is particularly true of those impacted financially like the 30.2 million small businesses owners operating in the U.S.

The pressure on these entrepreneurs who employ 47.5% of the country’s total employee workforce or 58.9 million people is intense in the best of times, let alone during a global health pandemic.

Making sure their employees are taken care of, navigating a sea of paperwork and online applications for financial assistance, staying healthy and thinking about if (and how) their business will evolve post COVID-19 can be overwhelming.

To help cope with the stress business owners may be feeling, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:

  • Connect with others– Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
  • Take breaks– Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
  • Stay informed– When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
  • Avoid too much exposure to news — Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
  • Take care of your body– Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Seek help when needed — If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a counselor, or doctor, or clergy member. You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) helpline at 1–800–985–5990. Common signs of distress to be on the look out for include:
  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Anger or short-temper.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.