Taking care of yourself whilst running a business can be challenging. It can be even more challenging when you’re battling the fog of depression. Yet, it must be done. Businesses don’t run themselves but how can you ensure that your depression doesn’t hurt your business?
Step 1 – Recognise That You Are Not Your Business
Your business is, of course, an expression of some of your personality. It couldn’t be otherwise, what draws us to begin a business is usually enthusiasm and passion. But we are not our passions and we are not our business’s balance sheet, sales figures or client satisfaction metrics either.
If you allow yourself to believe that they are, then every bump in your business’s journey has the potential to have a huge impact on your depression. If you see those mistakes as personal, of course, it’s going to make you feel bad.
You mustn’t let yourself get this way. You ARE NOT the business. You are a whole, well-rounded, person. You have friends and family and interests and things that have nothing to do with your work.
You want to construct a more balanced life. One which embraces all the parts of you, not just the business woman. Allow yourself to draw your self-worth from that balance of things. Sure, today may have been a bad day at the office but that night out with your lover? It was priceless.
Life is the sum of many things. It is harder for your depression to derail your day when you value yourself and all the things you do.
Step 2 – Make Sure You’re Attending To Self-Care
There is one thing you can do that has been proven to have a huge (and positive) impact on your depression. That is exercise.
If you hit up the gym each day, you will have more energy, you will feel less depressed and life will be easier. This has been shown to be 100% true even if you are overweight or have other health problems. Exercise is the miracle pill for depression.
Sleep and diet also play their part in our physical and emotional health. You need to make room for sleep. People who don’t sleep enough – die younger than those who do. They are stressed all the time, stress leads to bad decision making, bad decisions lead to depression. Sleep will help you ward off the worst of the world. Don’t neglect it.
A healthy diet contributes to your overall well-being and again this will lead to a better emotional system response to our business challenges.
Step 3 – Take Control Of Your Time
One of the most common reasons to feel depressed at work is that we never have enough time to get things done.
When you’re in charge, you need to take charge of this for yourself. Be ruthless about your time. Mark down when you will work. When you will take calls. When you will attend to problems and stick to it.
Delegate and outsource work wherever you can. Free yourself to be productive. You’ll feel better for it immediately.
Step 4 – Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Support
You don’t need to face your depression and your life on your own. Sure, it can be good to carry the weight of life by yourself at times but in the long run that’s a recipe for burnout.
Seeking support doesn’t mean seeking professional treatment (though if all else fails, a professional may be able to help you better manage depression), it means finding someone with a sympathetic ear who can offer advice and support.
Letting go of your feelings can be scary at first but once you unburden yourself, you will connect better to the people around you and you will find life is less scary and thus your depression is kept farther at bay.
I know the challenge of running a business with depression, I do it myself. But this simple 4 step plan can help your business stay on course and help you keep depression at bay.