Those who meet Natalie Tink are quickly swept up in her warm and welcoming presence. She has a way of connecting with people who have the utmost confidence in themselves and their business.
But the managing director of popular accessories boutique Miss Monogram recently began opening up about her personal reality – one of extreme anxiety – as she became a staunch supporter of Sunshine Coast Council’s B-Well and Prosper online portal.
The free resource connects small business owners and their employees to information on how to establish healthy workplaces, manage stress in the workplace and how to recognise and manage employee burnout.
Mrs Tink describes herself as having “highly functioning anxiety,” which means that although she may appear outwardly calm and collected, her anxiety could be triggered by stress, or extremes in positive or negative emotions.
“I can publicly cope with anxiety, but internally I start breaking down,” she describes.
“I might go three months or more without having any anxiety attacks and then suddenly, I would be effected for an entire month. The worst thing is that I don’t see it coming, so it’s not manageable.”
Having suffered from episodes of anxiety even as a child, Mrs Tink says it was manageable until she joined the workforce.
“I am more open about it now, but when I was the national advertising director for Coast to Coast Media, I would go to an event and people would ask how I am. I’d worked with some of them for 20 years and they were people I knew as more than just colleagues, and I would still say everything was great and wonderful when really it wasn’t. It would eat me alive and at times, I found it impossible to breathe because I felt like a fraud,” she says.
“When I opened my first shop at the Sunshine Plaza, I had three months of solid anxiety. Most mornings I found it difficult to breathe as I served my first customer of the day.”
Mrs Tink was among the first businessowners to try out the B-Well and Proper portal when it was released late last month. She says the team who designed the program did an incredible job of making the information easy to read and accessible.
“I love the way that they explain things and how they break it down so no matter what you are going through, whether it’s cash flow stress or just feeling alone, you can access this information confidentially in the privacy of your own home and the information on the portal will give you some guidance and direct you to further support if you need it,” she says.
“We have six staff members and this is something we have already made accessible to them.
“It is designed for anybody in small business, whether things are going good or they’re not so good. It’s great peace of mind to know that you’ve got the tools there if you need them.”
The council’s economic development and innovation councillor Stephen Robinson says smaller businesses often don’t have the budget to invest in stress, wellbeing and mental health support for themselves or their employees and can feel isolated because of that.
“Council is proud to be working alongside local wellbeing expert Aaron Williams, founder of Mindstar, and corporate partners to deliver this introductory support portal.
“Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but for many small and medium-sized business owners, having sole responsibility for the business’s success or failure can take its toll.
“This is an important first step to provide support to our local business community and to connect them to further resources if they want to seek additional guidance.”
B-Well and Prosper is proudly supported by My Weekly Preview. You can access the portal free at bwell.mindstar.com.au.