Supporting Entrepreneurs’ Wellbeing During COVID-19: Tools and Tips to Build Back Healthier


Building back after a difficult time is always stressful. Entrepreneurs have faced unprecedented pressure as they work to re-open their businesses and recover from losses while maintaining and ensuring their health and wellbeing as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

During a recent radio show that aired on KT Radio, the SME Response Clinic and Geruka Healing Centre shared tips for how entrepreneurs and businesses can manage stress and burnout related to the everchanging business environment. Read on for more.

Tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners

Take care of yourself.

The day-to-day hustle and the need to stay on top of market and supplier demands makes it difficult to find time to care for yourself. It’s important to take time to enjoy simple things like listening to music and exercising after work to help prepare for the next workday. Some entrepreneurs have found practicing breathing exercises or walking back home from work to be helpful. Taking time to practice mindfulness after a hectic day is a great way to take care of yourself.

Be gentle with yourself.

Do not blame yourself for things that are out of your control, such as government lockdowns or the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, take stock of the things you can control and focus on what you can accomplish in a given day. Set realistic goals to help build a sense of fulfillment.

Practice a healthy lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and jogging or walking a few minutes after a long day can go a long way in maintaining a good balance in your life. There’s strong evidence that physical exercise produces an effect equivalent to antidepressants, and playing sports can help overcome depression. Reducing unhealthy coping behaviors such as alcohol and drug use are also important in improving overall wellbeing.

Connect with others.

Although measures such as curfews have halted physical meet ups with loved ones, some people have found it useful to stay socially connected through texts, calls, and virtual events. These activities build a sense of belonging and togetherness during difficult times. Look for opportunities to connect with those around you, and if none exist, reach out and schedule time for a group call or start a group chat on WhatsApp.

Avoid misinformation.

With the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen an uptick in misinformation circulating on social media and other channels. Staying up to date on the latest information about the pandemic is key for entrepreneurs in order to stay ahead of the competition, but overloading yourself with misinformation can increase anxiety. You may access accurate information on COVID-19 here: or how to look for information safely here:

Put your phone down once in a while.

While phones and digital tools have been critical during the pandemic, reducing excessive use of technological equipment during the day may help your brain rest and reset. Normalize having time away from technological devices such as your phone or computer, and take time to bond and build connections with people around you.

Seek professional help.

In Kinyarwanda, we say “Ibuye ryagaragaye ntiriba rikishe isuka,” which loosely translates to, “a stone visible in the field can no longer destroy a hoe”. As an entrepreneur, if you continue to see signs of depression or anxiety, it’s important to seek out professional support in your area. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness! Please reach out to Geruka Healing Centre for mental health support.


Tips to implement for your business

Create safe and open workspaces.

Employees should be able to share distresses or challenges that arise from work. Build in peer support networks and allow employees to share their feelings and stressors. Whenever possible, have a professional facilitate the conversations.

Recognize and acknowledge employee efforts.

Appreciate employee sacrifices and reward them when you can for their hard work during challenging times, such as by giving time off. Building strong relationships between the employee and employer helps boosts employee morale and ultimately results in reduced risk of stress and burnout.

Provide access to information.

Give employees access to important information on how to manage stress and burnout as well as useful health and wellness techniques for selfcare. For some people, having this knowledge easily accessible will promote a positive change. Techniques could include writing down on a piece of paper what’s stressing you along with how you know it is causing you stress and an idea or two for what you can do about it. Visit this SME Response Clinic for more health and wellness tips.


Ensure emotional and physical safety.

Safety and security are key for employees wellbeing. Promoting a safe and secure work environment will build trust and a sense of ownership. Honor and respect your staff by giving them enough time to adjust as needed to upcoming changes at work to encourage a smooth transition and avoid mental shocks.

Building Back Healthier

The silver lining from the COVID-19 pandemic could be that we have learned to change the way we work, confront our day-to-day stresses, and talk about our needs. By turning inward to better understand emotions and cultivate compassion, it’s easier for business owners and leaders to address employee’s concerns and build resilience for any future challenges they may confront. Stay tuned for more from the SME Response Clinic on the topic!