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Balancing business and wellness can be difficult during COVID-19

by Johari Hamilton

As our country institutes measures to protect our physical health such as social distancing, it is equally important to maintain healthy emotional and mental balance.

The World Health Organization (WHO), defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

According to the website, “poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change.”

As entrepreneurs face “rapid social change” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, having practical solutions to manage stress and anxiety are essential.

Charlotte Freeman, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Nia Therapy, suggests the following tips:

  • Meditate/Pray/Quiet time daily to center one’s self prior to the start of the day.

  • Develop a “new normal” schedule rather than clinging to or expecting each day to operate as it would have prior to the pandemic.

  • Take out 30 minutes per day to decompress doing something that is just for you.

  • Be intentional about daily exercise, socialization, and meaningful time with others.

  • Encourage yourself with positive self-talk.

Courtesy Photo of Dr. Charlotte Freeman

A recent poll conducted by the American Psychology Association (APA) revealed, “more than one-third of Americans (36 percent) say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health and most (59 percent) feel coronavirus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives.”

Despite the challenges, emerging entrepreneurs find constructive ways to maintain emotional well-being.

“As an entrepreneur I have found that I must encourage myself. Also, I have a life coach that has been a tremendous mental support to me during this time,” said Alicia Hill, owner, A Career Girl Brand Management LLC.

Ryan Pierce, student entrepreneur-in-residence at The Crews Center for Entrepreneurship shared, “Once our team was able to take a step back and focus on both our health and loved ones, it prompted a positive surge of energy for each of us. That energy made it easier for us to fight.”

The live event industry has suffered from COVID-19 and event organizers and planners have cancelled or postponed events.

April would have marked 34 years for the annual Africa in April Cultural Awareness festival. Due to social distancing, the local festival has been rescheduled.

“We are in this together. We have a positive feeling that the journey will continue,” said Yvonne Acey, associate director of Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc.

Maintaining mental and emotional balance is often the result of having a good support system.

Epicenter Memphis has designed specific resources to help entrepreneurs navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources include, but are not limited to:

  • One-on-one sessions with Experts-in-Residence

  • Virtual Wellness Wednesdays

  • Customized Business Support

  • Financing Options

“Epicenter has been a comfort during this storm providing valuable, time sensitive resources and mentorship,” said Andrea Johnson, owner of Bubble Bistro.

“As a business owner, it is refreshing to be surrounded by a new village of friends who are here to genuinely help!”

Crisis impacts entrepreneurs at all stages. A healthy outlook can be beneficial when change is inevitable. Balancing work and health can be a challenge, but Dr. Freeman offers these words of advice.

Many hands or heads working together make the work lighter to bear, with reliance on healthy networks that encourage us to keep moving forward, support us when we grow weary, or come to our aid to problem solve for viable solutions to ever challenging problems.”

Dr. Charlotte Freeman is a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Nia Therapy. She can be reached at or

To learn more about resources available to entrepreneurs visit

Johari Hamilton is a content writer for Memphis Small Business Quarterly. She can be reached at

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