Got the holiday blues? Me too. Lots of people experience a droopy mood this time of year. When you work a regular job, it’s not easy, but it’s usually at least possible to muddle through by going through the motions.
As a badass entrepreneur, the holiday blues can take on a whole different kind of significance though. No matter how much you feel like isolating yourself, you can’t afford to hide away from the world, call in sick, or binge watch Netflix until New Years.
So, what can you do?
First order of business: Be realistic. If your depression is more than just a dismal feeling that comes and goes, if you really need help, get some. On the other hand, if you feel confident that you are suffering through a lousy mood that will eventually lift once you flip that switch in your brain, there are a few things you can do to move the process along.
1. Separate business issues from personal issues.
Whether you are concerned about hitting your sales numbers, worried about getting orders packaged and shipped on time, anxious about spinning your marketing wheels, or just suffering from standard holiday stressors, like finding the perfect gift for Great Aunt Mabel, it helps to pinpoint what is making you feel especially low.
Identify the problem. If you are struggling with a business-related challenge, dig-in during work time, do your best, and then let it go when you are at home with the family. If it’s personal, it can be harder to set aside, but focus on what makes you feel truly fulfilled. Separation gives your brain a break from the stress and does wonders for your overall mood.
Be careful though, if you can’t put your finger on something in particular that’s bringing you down, it doesn’t mean your feelings are invalid. It’s quite possible to feel unfulfilled or overwhelmed inside, while everything in your business and life appears to be going well.
2. Learn how to be aware of the warning signs.
Figuring out what is bugging you can also help you examine your emotions more constructively. The first step to being able to rationally evaluate and tame your emotions is being aware of the circumstances that affect you. Everyone responds to life experiences in different ways, so learn your own patterns and deflect negativity whenever possible.
Also, keep in mind that if you can learn to identify your triggers for depression, you may also be able to prevent yourself from spiraling into a days-long depressive episode. For example, you and your spouse likely argue about some of the same things. So adjusting your behavior can keep one or both of you from escalating to a 10 on the anger scale.
3. Set goals and focus on them.
It can seem like goal setting is the recommended cure for everything that ails your business. That makes sense since whatever isn’t going quite right can probably be traced back to a failure to meet some goal. Still, the power of setting goals can be exaggerated.
Can setting goals really help you beat the holiday blues? It can if you go further than simply setting goals. You have to immerse yourself in your goals. Don’t just say you have goals. Throw yourself into them like you have thrown yourself into nothing else. Everything that is not about getting you closer to your goals, takes a back seat. Remember that little wins will help you feel better, so breakdown those big goals and start celebrating the little wins.
4. Don’t think of depression as a character flaw.
One of the biggest differences between highly successful people and people who have to grit their teeth just to get through each day, is that successful people have thicker than average skins. This doesn’t mean that successful people never feel depressed or that they have some kind of positivity force field protecting them.
But it does mean that they view the blues as something that afflicts everyone from time to time, like a cold, rather than as a personal failing. How does this help? Whatever the cause of your depression, it is easier to recover if you consider it to be a malady, in other words, something that can be cured, instead of a deep defect.
5. Make your health a priority.
Finally, one of the best ways to beat the blues is to take care of yourself. It is difficult to feel mentally healthy when your physical health is suffering. And the great thing about prioritizing your physical health is that it’s relatively easy to get started.
Even something as simple as taking a 20-minute walk can do wonders to lift your mood. The slightest increase in blood flow, getting out and enjoying fresh air and nature can stimulate your mind in amazing ways. This will also increase productivity and creativity, so make some time for a mental break everyday.
Personally, beating the holiday blues is a matter of finding my holiday spirit. There’s some perfect number of Christmas tunes or holiday movies or twinkly lights that flip that switch in my brain. I’m not there yet. But it’s Giving Tuesday and another thing that helps me feel brighter is brightening someone else’s day. So give if you can.
What is your favorite way to beat the holiday blues?
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