Entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with depression, that’s a fact. The good news is that there are ways to overcome it.
According to research, entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from depression and from attention deficit disorder than other people. Lack of success, repeated rejections from investors, lack of control, long hours, limited results, not to mention financial difficulties, all form a breeding ground for depression that must be treated quickly.
In simple terms, suffering from depression is virtually guaranteed. The good news is that we can do something about it. Here is a non-exhaustive list of simple tips to follow:
#1 Have a “Why”
Not only you must love what you do, but you must also do what you love. Your passion, your conviction, your “why” will be the fuel that will keep you going.
#2 Follow a purpose
85% of the world’s employees are unhappy and are not engaged. Studies found that giving them a purpose to work on, such as volunteering, make them thrive at work.
Giving meaning to your life, to what you do, can give you a good reason to get up in the morning. Thinking about your just cause especially when bad thoughts come up can help you not let them take over your mind.
The idea that an entrepreneur should not count the hours of work is a fallacy. As much as it may be necessary in the beginning or in some cases, it is not sustainable in the long run. Even an entrepreneur like Ariana Huffington said that publicly.
#4 Eat smart and take time for yourself
A good diet is the best medicine and can have a positive effect on your mood and your mental state. You are what you eat. Eat healthily, sensibly, and cut out sugar.
Take time out. A weekend, a week, even two months off if you need. You are not your work. Having a break is often the best way to solve problems.
#5 Have a ritual
Organize your day from the day before with as a base, get up early (maximum around 5am), drink a glass of water, meditate, exercise, and walk at least 30 minutes and, if possible, in nature. If you live in a city, find a park, and if it is small, find a quiet place where you can meditate.
Journaling can also be part of your ritual. No need to write a novel. Just one page a day. If possible, by hand. It will serve as a reference of how you got through this, and help you put things in perspective.
As mentioned above, meditation must be part of your daily ritual.
Its benefits are countless, and it is not necessary to list them here. One of them is that it reduces anxiety. Simply, meditation, preferably in the morning, will allow you to have a more concentrated mind and to better react, with calm, to the aggressions which can occur during your day. Meditation will especially allow you to prevent bad thoughts from invading your mind, as you will be concentrated on the now and on your schedule.
#7 Look beyond yourself
If you only focus on yourself, it’s easy to fall into depression. An effective remedy is to turn the tables and focus on others. Look around you! You will always find someone who is worse off than you are. Or maybe someone who has gone through the same things and still beat the odds by doing much better than most people. Falling is not failure. Failure is staying where you have fallen (Socrates). In other words, failure is in your head. If you realize that there is no such thing as failure, only the result, you will have made a huge step forward.
#8 Chose to be happy.
Yes, according to positive psychology, happiness is a choice not a consequence of success. People who are grateful and have an open mind are more likely to be happy in their lives. Just go to bed listing three things or events that made you happy during the day (the smile of a child, a sunset, a friend who helped you) and make it a habit and you will see your life transformed. Your list will quickly grow to the point where you will realize that you are very lucky and have nothing to complain about.
#9 Don’t take it too seriously and have fun.
Entrepreneurship only makes sense if it enriches you personally. If it fulfils you. And if it’s fun. If it’s an ordeal, what’s the point? life is short. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study found that entrepreneurs who define their lives around their work are more likely to experience a burnout.
For me, this is a last resort and should not be neglected. We are all aware of the disadvantages of rushing to a drug at the first sign of resistance. However, entrepreneurs should never give up on help when they need it. This is especially true for those who have struggled with depression before and for long periods of time. It may be as simple as talking to a professional or as simple as medication for physiological problems you have struggled with all your life.