Strategies to Support your Mental Health as a Small Business Owner: Part 2

Last Updated: June 9, 2021

Welcome to part two of our mental health blog post series. In part one, we shared information on beating burnout from entrepreneurs, business owners, journalists, and writers. In this article, you will find health sources that describe the science behind job burnout and testimonials from entrepreneurs who have learned first-hand the importance of balancing workplace productivity with personal wellness.


Health Sources

1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, November 20). Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Mayo Clinic.

Summary: Although job burnout is not a medical diagnosis, it is known as a “special type of work-related stress.” Symptoms include cynicism, lack of energy and/or concentration, and changes in sleep patterns as well as unexplained physical problems, among others. It is important to note that these symptoms might be tied to depression, and should be discussed with a doctor. Causes of job burnout include lack of control, unclear expectations, lack of social support and work-life imbalance. Relief from burnout could involve making changes at work, seeking support, exercising, sleeping, and/or practicing mindfulness.

2. Fors Connolly, F., Johansson Sevä, I., & Gärling, T. (2020). How does time pressure influence emotional wellbeing? : Investigating the roles of domain satisfaction and neuroticism among small-business owners. International Journal of Wellbeing, 10(2), 71–88.  [Open Access Journal]

Summary: This paper presents two psychological studies conducted on samples of small business owners in Sweden. The researchers hypothesized that “time pressure is a factor reducing positive emotions and amplifying negative emotions.” They chose to investigate the effects of time pressure on small business owners because previous studies have shown this group to be particularly vulnerable to time pressure.This was confirmed in the first study conducted by the researchers. The second study found that time pressure is indeed negatively related to emotional wellbeing, among other findings. 

3. Manzano-García, G., Ayala-Calvo, J. C., & Desrumaux, P. (2020). Entrepreneurs’ capacity for mentalizing: Its influence on burnout syndrome. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(1), 3.  [Open Access Journal]

Summary: This psychological study sought to investigate a possible link between entrepreneurial burnout and mentalizing. Mentalizing is defined as “a form of social cognition that allows individuals to understand their behavior and that of others, which is often intuitive and emotional; it represents the ability to regulate emotions and to be able to create positive and satisfactory interpersonal relationships.” The results found that strong mentalization was a factor in avoiding entrepreneurial burnout.

4. Canadian Mental Health Association Staff. (2019). Going it alone: The mental health and well-being of Canada’s entrepreneurs [PDF]. Canadian Mental Health Association.

Summary: This report was published by the Canadian Mental Health Association in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) in 2019. Using a nationwide survey as well as a series of interviews with small business owners across Canada, the report sheds light on the mental health issues commonly experienced by entrepreneurs, as well as the impacts these issues have on people’s lives. Furthermore, the report provides strategies to address these issues, while highlighting barriers to mental health support. Findings show that work-related stress is a major negative factor in the mental wellbeing of many small business owners, and that this stress can influence all areas of an entrepreneur’s life. This study deserves a closer read, as it presents a robust picture of the mental wellbeing of Canada’s small business owners and provides several important recommendations to address this issue.




1. Manzocco, N. (2020). Mental health & entrepreneurship: How four Canadian entrepreneurs stay grounded. Futurpreneur.

Summary: Research shows that two-thirds of entrepreneurs felt depressed at least once a week at the beginning of COVID-19 and female entrepreneurs, small businesses and early-stage businesses reported more consistent health issues. A panel of BDC entrepreneurs opened the discussion around mental health, emphasizing the importance of establishing a wellness practice, relying on a support network, and taking time to give back to the community. By encouraging dialogue about mental health in the workplace, we can reduce burnout and stress among entrepreneurs. 

2. PwC (2020). Managing mental health amid COVID. PwC Canada.

Summary: This episode, which is part of PwC Canada’s Shift podcast, highlights practical tips from BMO for creating a healthy work culture that prioritizes open communication and support. These strategies, geared toward managers and employees, include implementing regular routines such as 30-minute walking breaks, building in time for reflection, and understanding the importance of supporting one another in these unprecedented times. 

3. Startup Canada (2020). Health over hustle: a conversation about the mental health of Canadian entrepreneurs.

Summary: This webinar, hosted by Startup Canada, BDC, and Futurpreneur, offers advice from the experts for overcoming challenges and supporting entrepreneurs in promoting positive mental health. By engaging in real talk - where entrepreneurs talk openly about the culture of overworking - people begin to understand the importance of finding balance and prioritizing wellness. Strategies discussed for avoiding burnout include engaging in hobbies that are separate from work, maintaining clear boundaries with colleagues, and recognizing personal limits.


Mental Health Support Resources:

  • Anxiety Canada Free PDF Resources: Provides in-depth information about anxiety disorders, as well as links to wellness plans and ways to find help.

  • BounceBack: A free online skill-building program designed to support adults and youth over 15 years of age manage low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or worry.

  • Crisis Centre: Providing barrier-free, confidential support through 24/7 phone lines and online services. 
  • HealthLink BC: Mental and Behavioral Health: A Government of BC resource with in-depth information about a wide variety of mental health issues.
  • HealthLink BC: Resources: A Government of BC resource with a list of mental wellness services, aimed at helping people find the help they need.
  • Wellness Together Canada:  A free Government of Canada resource that helps connect those seeking mental health support to services and/or counselling.  

Phone Numbers for Immediate Support:

  • 310Mental Health Support (310-6789): No area code needed. For information, emotional support, and mental health resources. Available 24/7.
  • 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433): Use this number if you are considering suicide, or are concerned about someone who may be. Available 24/7 in up to 140 different languages.
  • KUU-US Crisis Response Service (1-800-588-8717): An Indigneous-specific crisis line, available 24/7. All personnel are certified in Indigenous cultural safety and bring this knowledge to their roles.
  • Hope for Wellness Help Line (1-855-242-3310): A Canada-wide help line with a culturally-competent Indigenous focus. Services are also available in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut upon request.

Text Lines for Immediate Support:

  • Text ‘WELLNESS’ to 741741: A Wellness Together Canada crisis response resource line.
  • Send a text to 45645: A Crisis Services Canada text line, available from 4PM to 12AM ET.


Cover Photo by from Pexels

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