Monthly Archives

February 2016

Small Business Owners and Mental Health

Being a small business owner can be stressful. Call it ‘executive stress’ but that stress can be anxiety and even depression and not be as easy to overcome as your other business problems.

Starting and running your own business can be a great opportunity letting you work at something you love but it also means long hours, financial stress and many other responsibilities which may effect your mental health.  Small business owners face many challenges including financial stress from unpaid invoices and irregular client load, long working hours and few holidays or time off for relaxation or illness. Sometimes the pressure means less time to spend with family or friends as well. While bigger businesses have programmes to help managers and staff, the programmes that benefit employees in a large organisation may not work for smaller or single person run businessess. And small business owners often have nothing in place for their own well being.

In Australia, most businesses are small business, employing up to 19 staff. Even more are single person run businesses which range from building contractors, finacial and accounting services to online retailers. With so many small businesses out there, if your mental health is affected then you will certainly not be alone.

Because running your own business is a challenge and there is always a certain amount of of stress involved, you might think that stress can be managed along with the business. You can recognise the signs of stress and other mental health  problems and take definite steps to help yourself but you may feel you need to find some outside help.

No two people are the same so no two businesses will be the same and, like a business, there are no same solutions in helping its owner with mental health problems. At Retreat South tailor a treatment program to suit your needs and to address your lifestyle and the stressors that cause you to seek treatment. Talk to us about the range of treatments and supporting practices we offer to help you find the best way to help you on the road to recovery.

“Something in nature that heals the mind”

Retreat South is set in a natural landscape with gardens and flowers.

Natural settings have a positive effect in times of stress. A teacher in England found his garden was helpful while recovering from a breakdown.

“My garden has been my sanctuary,” he wrote in The Guardian. Therapy and medication were important in his recovery but he said there was “definitely something in nature that heals the mind.”

The gardens at Retreat South provide a sanctuary for you too.

Research shows thefre can be higher rates of depression in areas with few private and public gardens. Just being in a natural space with living things makes us feel good. Being able to view nature, be in a natural setting whilst doing some activity, even just reading, have proven mental health benefits.

Active participation and involvement with nature is also has proven benefits. Because there has there has been a decline in physical activity in recent decades, being less physical has known health consequences. Doing something like gardening, trekking or walking have positive health benefits and can be a good way of continuing your enjoyment of being a natural setting after staying at Retreat South.


Addiction and Brain Function

A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that addiction changes the way our brain functions. Studying the prevention and treatment of addiction and public policy, the researchers agree that addiction is like a disease and not, as is often thought, something a person does voluntarily.

The study divides addiction into three stages which affect the brain. They affect a person’s behaviour and how they react to stress and how they are able to control some actions.

These stages are described as “binge and intoxication,” “withdrawal and negative affect,” and “preoccupation and anticipation.”

In the ‘binge and intoxication’ stage, Dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure receptors, may be released in response to the environment rather than the actual substance being abused.

In the ‘withdrawal and negative affect’ stage, the research shows that addiction works differently than commonly believed. Substance use triggers smaller increases in the dopamine levels when a person is addicted, so that they often become less motivated by everyday things like relationships and activities. Interestingly, although addicted, a person often cannot understand why they continue to use a substance, even when it is no longer pleasurable.

The ‘preoccupation and anticipation’ stage, involves the brain’s reward and emotional signals. Changes occurring in some parts of the brain impaire things like the ability to make decisions or take action. These changes are the reason that when a person wishes to take action about their addiction, they feel unable to.

This study helps to clarify some of the important issues about addiction and understand the way it affects you.

Importantly, it also supports research showing addiction as something emerging gradually and beginning during the risky time of adolescence. During Adolescence the brain is still developing and very sensitive to the effects of drugs, and is often why adolescents’ are more vulnerable to addiction.

At Retreat South, we understand those stages. Our treatment focus is on the entire addiction cycle to help empower yourself to deal with situations that trigger risk taking and addiction related behaviours.