The Second Wave of COVID-19 – How Will It Affect The Behaviour of the Business Community?
COVID-19 has already changed the way we live and communicate!
It is essential to understand here that a pandemic such as COVID-19 is unprecedented in the modern history of mankind. The concept of social distancing has disrupted the way we conduct business. For some industries, it has brought activity to a complete standstill. Most businesses are struggling to survive, and many have gone under. Unfortunately, things might be about to take a turn for the worse with the rumours of the second wave of COVID-19 on the horizon.
When you invest a significant amount of time and money in a business, the stakes are really high, and a lot rides on that business to thrive and stay open. So, it is only natural that business owners are bearing the brunt of the stress, anxiety, depression and feeling of helplessness due to COVID-19. With revenues plummeting and uncertainty about the future of their livelihood(business), most business owners are not in a good place mentally. In this article, we are going to take a look at the effects that COVID-19 is having on the mental health of business owners.
Stress, anxiety, helplessness, a feeling of loss, social isolation and despair are common emotions right now that can be directly linked to COVID-19 among business owners. Let’s break down these emotions and see how they might be affecting the mental health of business owners.
- Stress – A stressor is any form of stimulus that is causing us stress; in this case, it is the poor performance of your business due to COVID-19. When a stressor is received by our brain, it activates the glands which produce cortisol and adrenaline; these are stress hormones. The area of our brain that is responsible for this action is called the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Our adrenal glands secrete stress hormones. This is pretty standard stuff, this is how our body reacts to normal levels of stress, but when we experience chronic stress as someone might when a business, they opened with their life savings, shuts down due to COVID-19, our body starts to produce huge amounts of cortisol, more than it can effectively regulate.
This can lead to a huge number of problems. Abnormally high levels of cortisol produced due to stress can hinder the ability of our brain to function properly. It can cause issues with synapse regulation which then leads to anti-social behaviour where people start to avoid social interactions even on the telephone. It can cause apoptosis meaning that your brain cells start to die. In some cases, continuous chronic stress can even lead to the shrinking of the size of the brain. Memory and learning capabilities are also affected due to excess cortisol.
Anxiety – Our feelings are controlled by neurotransmitters. Dopamine and Serotonin are two of these neurotransmitters that are responsible for our anxiety levels and mood. The constant stress that a business owner is experiencing already can cause an imbalance of the neurotransmitters mentioned above, which can lead to conditions like generalized anxiety disorder. GAD can cause you to have trouble sleeping, feeling fatigued all the time, feeling twitchy, irritable and nervous.
- Helplessness and depression – Loss of a business is a major life event and a significant trauma while we all experience a feeling of loss in our lives at one point or another, this situation is extraordinary. There is a culmination of all the different factors around us that are making us vulnerable to falling in depression. We are helpless since there is nothing that we can do about the pandemic, we are under a lot of stress due to the downfall in the revenue, and we are suffering from anxiety due to the uncertainty of the future.
All of these factors combined can lead us down the path of depression. At its core depression can be classified as a mood disorder. It affects the way we feel, behave and think. The imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones in our body due to the constant stress and anxiety can play a major part in triggering depression. It may cause you to feel hopeless and sad all the time. It can affect your sleep cycle, and it can put someone in a less than ideal place mentally, physically and emotionally.
It would be fair to say that now is not an ideal time to be in business for many industries. The global economy is down, and due to safety restrictions, there is no possibility to have your business operate at 100% efficiency.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!
However, the one quality that all entrepreneurs have in common is their ability to be resilient during the most challenging times and showcase their creative energies to finding the best solutions to solving problems that will continue to move business and the economy in the right direction.
That being said, in order to be in a clear and stable state of mind and well-being to progress and grow despite the potential of a second wave around the corner, it is vital at this time to take care of all dimensions of your health and mitigate the impact of the pitfalls mentioned above that can have an adverse affect on personal well-being and business productivity as well. Aim to stay positive, surround yourself with a strong network of family and friends who can be a foundation of social support. And if you ever feel like you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Equally, it’s important to engage in physical activities to help clear the mind in addition to prioritizing your time by investing it with the people who are most important in your life. Stay healthy, stay safe and remember that this will all get better. Collectively, we stand UNITED and we will make it through this together and come out even stronger and better on the other side!