Dealing with Depression and Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

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Let’s talk about feelings.

I know that entrepreneurs can feel that being emotional about their businesses feels like a no-win situation; you can’t get emotionally invested in your business because it’s business but you can’t be totally detached to something that you’ve worked so hard to build and release into the world.

Sometimes the emotions can crack through the “it’s just business” facade and infiltrate the darker regions of the mind. I’ve been susceptible to this, too, believe me! My first business caused such feelings of depression and apathy that it became hard for me to confront it. So I fell into a spiral that caused my eventual burnout and closing of the business.

While in the end that actually became one of the best decisions I made (because I get to talk to you now!). I know it’s not the path for everyone and I want to help you stay away from that cliff if you can help it. 

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

How can you stave off letting depression, anxiety, or apathy run your business into the ground (especially during these crazy times)? Here are some ways I’ve found to be helpful:

1. Talk it out

The biggest way to help yourself combat depression and anxiety is to release the power they have over you. The best solution I’ve found for this is to prevent myself from bottling these feelings up by talking about what’s in my head. Personally, I’ve found therapy to be an incredible investment in both my personal life and my business. But if that’s not an option for you then try to find alternative ways to release your feelings. Try journaling, use a creative hobby like art, talk with a friend or spouse. Or whatever other methods of release feel right for you. Don’t let your emotions stay hidden and fester.

2. Feel your feelings

Stay in touch with what’s happening inside your head and body. Many of us were taught to have a tough exterior and that depression was a “weakness” that could be pushed out of existence. We know that’s untrue, but it’s still a hurtful stigma that’s out in the world. Don’t ignore what’s happening when it comes to your emotional state and stress levels. Allow yourself to stay tuned to how you’re feeling and work through it instead of denying your feelings exist.

3. Let yourself avoid the issues in a productive way

I get severe anxiety when I would receive a question or comment from a customer to the point that I dreaded opening up my email. It didn’t matter if the question or comment was positive, or an innocent question. To me it was a trigger that would lead to an anxiety attack. Customer service is just part of the game of running a business, though. So I couldn’t eliminate it if I wanted to earn an income.

Instead, I decided to take myself out of the triggering situation and hire a customer service rep to handle comments for me. I removed any business-related app from my phone so that I wouldn’t get notifications. I’d let her deal with it, only contacting me when there was a question she couldn’t solve. I suggest you find ways to do the same (which is why I am a HUGE fan of eliminate, automate, delegate).

4. Take time for yourself

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

I hate Hustle Culture because of how it makes many of us feel guilty taking time for self-care. In today’s crazy climate, self-care is more important than ever when it comes to making sure we are able to keep ourselves afloat. Make it a priority to spend time doing things that have no direct monetary value behind them but instead are done for the sake of taking care of yourself. Meditate, get a massage, do a hobby, start exercising regularly, buy yourself something you’ve always wanted (and can afford). Let yourself be deserving of being rewarded and made a priority in your life.

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