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23 October 2018

Wellbeing in small business: Balancing a small business, family and your mental health

Guest blog written by FSB member, and Managing Director of United by DesignOwen Turner

Owen TurnerLooking after ‘you’ is one of the most important things we neglect in life but we do it at our peril. Listening to both your body and mind is imperative. Having awareness, gaining understanding, learning and taking positive action that is right for you ensures your own mental health gets stronger. We certainly underestimate what life chucks at us and what we just ‘deal with’.

I personally have always turned to sport as a way of coping with and managing my stress. Whether this be playing rugby in my younger days or more recently, taking up running - I love that sense of challenge, having something different to focus on and getting outside!

My family and I tend to spend a lot of ‘our’ time out and about, adventuring and exploring. There is definitely something about being by the sea or surrounded by green space, that allows you to pause for a moment.

Always ready to play a game, share a joke and invite me into their little world, my kids are great at helping me chill out and escape the daily pressures of life and work.

While they’re still young, I’m trying my best to instill in them the importance of opening up, reaching out and being mindful - I want them to grow up being aware of their mental health and how things can have an impact. We regularly use the Headspace (meditation made simple) app together, to help bring some much-needed calm into our day.

As an industry, the design world can often be high-pressured and fast-paced. Client demands, tight deadlines and creative barriers can all trigger feelings of anxiety and stress. These are the times when we need to remember to talk to each other. I usually find that once I’ve talked things through with my team, wife or best friend, I’m able to regain clarity and come up with an effective plan of action. They help so much more than they ever realise.

At United by Design, we are really keen to develop our staff in an open, honest environment and have recently pledged to do so with Sanctus. This simply means that we aspire to bring our full selves to work, where all mental health is supported, on a daily basis - allowing us to concentrate on doing truly great design work.

Over time, as I’ve become more aware of my own mental health and that of those around me, I have consciously tried to maintain a realistic, yet healthy work/life balance. Some days this is easier to achieve than others. Being a business owner naturally comes with its own challenges but I find that taking ownership of my mental wellbeing and normalising conversations around it, are definitely a step in the right direction!