Entrepreneurs Don’t Get Depression!

Entrepreneurs Don’t Get Depression!

Entrepreneurs don’t get depression … right?

Sadly, depression- and the suicide that can sometimes follow- are not much talked about in articles that pertain to business owners. As of late, escaping the news of Robin Williams’ death is nearly impossible. From Facebook to most major news outlets, his story and tragic end seems to be everywhere. It seems rather silly to think that entrepreneurs don’t also suffer from depression. This seems especially true given entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs are no stranger to rejection, failure, and harsh criticism. Jessica Bruder does an outstanding job of talking about the‘downside of being up’ in her Inc piece, the Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, so I won’t get in to that here.

Clinical depression is a very serious medical condition. There is not really any way to ‘snap’ out of it by yourself. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and this post is not about to get into that, either. For a great overview of anxiety v. depression, read this inspiring piece by my friend Megan for a better understanding. If you believe you might have depression, the first thing to do is immediately seek medical help.

As an employer, you should also try to watch for signs of depression or sadness in your employees. Keep in mind that as Megan points out, people who are depressed often become masters of hiding their personal struggle.  This said, demonstrating understanding and empathy never goes out of style (and honestly, how hard is it to simply ask someone who you might be concerned about if they are doing alright?).

Getting away from clinical depression, here are some strategies for coping with when you might have “one of those days” or otherwise need a quick pick-me-up. I am just pulling off my own personal experiences on what helps me through tough times.

  • Get Physical: many studies have shown that exercise is a powerful combatant for depression. This also does not have to be going all CrossFit on your bad self either. Sometimes a power walk around the office- or outside to the nearest coffee shop- can help get your short-term mood back on track. Several owners in the Cedar Falls area regularly go workout together at 6 am every day. This serves a dual purpose- building those relationships with fellow business owners, as well as staying fit.
  • Find the Funnies: Sometimes you just need to be entertained with a brain break. Of course I’m biased, but I turn to my Stuff to Make You Smile* Pinterest board whenever I need a quick laugh. The Humor section on Pinterest is not too shabby as well.
    *Disclosure: some of the images I collect on my humor board may not be safe for work.
  • ​Reward Yourself: I set high goals, then when they are accomplished, reward myself! This can include going for a very fancy cup of coffee; switching work tasks to things I most enjoy; eating some of my favorite candy (which I keep on my desk— and yes to the side thought you just had— I literally do Pavlov myself).
  • Remember Good Times: Sometimes work can be overwhelming. Most people keep pictures on their desk for décor; I keep photos just behind my monitors and study them when I am feeling down. Seeing the pictures of friends and family remind me of the great times and great people who I’ve had the opportunity to be with. This always lifts my spirits.
  • Get Inspired: Using YouTube, I’ve created a playlist of meaningful videos to me that include humor, inspiration, and acts of goodness. Whenever I get upset or down, I flip on over to my playlist and watch videos like this free hugs dude. These videos get me every time!

Your turn: what do you do to lift your spirits at work (our outside of work)?

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