Today, Florence talks about The Entrepreneur and Depression.
Depression is real
Depression is real. We have all had a fair share of it. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and we can start questioning why we started down this path. We can experience disappointments that might not even be business related – broken relationships, death of a loved one, family crisis, etc. – which affect us and our business by extension.
There are lots of speakers who try to motivate entrepreneurs to push boundaries and achieve great successes, but we forget that we are human first. We have feelings that cannot be discarded. And we need to be self-aware.
Depression is in levels
A lot of articles have been written about depression. Recently it has become standard to consider depression as a mental illness and not just a mood. Personally, I think depression is in levels. Some have it on a clinical level and must get medical attention or help. But truth is that depression is real and we are ill-equipped to deal with it in this part.
Living in Lagos and trying to cope with the style and pace of life can get one depressed. I ask sometimes if there is any value to the money one makes in Lagos if there is no health to enjoy it.
If possible, please live close to where you work. Some think that living on Mainland Lagos and working on the Island is cheap. But this may not be true. What is the point of waking by 4 am to get to work and getting back by 11 pm. In the end, one spends about 6 hours daily in traffic. This is enough to cause depression.
Guide your thoughts
Just observing life, watching events occur, can cause depression too. It can also come from doubts. Our thoughts are powerful and we need to guide what we think about. Our thoughts affect our body and mind, so we should always make an effort to think positively. When we worry if we will ever make it in life, worrying that we are not getting any younger, etc. (we can get weighed down).
Sometimes, we cannot help thinking these. Even I do. But I know that I am not alone in this thought-process. For startups and new entrepreneurs, for whom the road ahead is still pretty much vague, being beset with doubts and fears, it is almost normal. Things we see on social media can get us depressed.
While I’m sure we all know to ignore the doubts, feed our faith and starve our fears, depression can be an energy vampire. There is still more than enough reasons to be depressed.
Why I wrote this
In 2015, I asked Seun Odukoya (one of our first terrific writers on redahlia.com) to write an article about the entrepreneur and depression. That article is what I went back to after reading a book (about dealing with life challenges, anxiety, stress, addiction and depression) that was given to me in church. I have read so much on and experienced depression that I felt the need to discuss this topic. It usually requires medical and psychological interventions, but I believe that self-help strategies provide significant benefits to the individual.
Here are some tips offered in the book:
1) Count on a friend or confidant
Find someone who appreciates and understands you; someone you trust and can talk natural to. Meditating on the problem by yourself is the worst step one can take.
2) Keep yourself busy
Go out in the fresh air. Practice a sport or physical activity that will keep your mind busy and unoccupied with thoughts that reinforce depression.
3) Eliminate alcohol completely
Some resort to drowning out their sadness in substances like alcohol. This may relieve the symptoms for a few hours but the destruction it causes to your physical and mental health is serious.
4) Maintain a healthy diet
Eat vegetables, fruits and legumes. It might be difficult at first to eat in this manner but you will grow accustomed to it.
5) Protect yourself from insomnia.
Don’t take drugs for sleep. Just keep getting physical exercises and light evening meals. Avoid thoughts that cause worry. Make yourself comfortable on a sofa and read a book or listen to the radio till you can sleep.
6) Think about good things
There are things to be thankful for. Concentrate on the things that bring you satisfaction and know that all periods of adversity will come to an end. We should always revisit the reasons for our gratitude.
7) Assume a hopeful attitude
Hope is a human necessity. When we have hope for the future, life will be more meaningful. Without it, doubts and fears and anxiety will emerge. Those who have hope for the future and a relationship with God are powerfully protected against depression.
How do we keep our energy levels up while navigating the road of success in entrepreneurship?
Identify the onset signs of depression
Try to identify when you are getting angry and agitated. Take steps like calling a loved one, stepping out for a walk.
Identify the triggers
The triggers might be a particular sorrowful music, a conversation with a particular person or memories tied to an unpleasant event. Knowing what is responsible for your mood changes puts you in more control of things. If a conversation with someone is heading to dangerous grounds, you can stop or steer it in another direction. It is important to avoid friends whose thoughts are always negative; who are angry with the world.
With depression, the desire to stay isolated is very strong. You would want to shun all human contact and interaction. Conversations will feel like energy sappers. This might be depression. The thing to do is to snap out of it as soon as possible. Stop that music, go for a walk. Do whatever you need to do to regain your equilibrium.
Being observant leads to awareness. Awareness leads to more control. Most times, we accept things as they are instead of taking ownership and doing what we need to do to change things. I personally don’t read the news because every day the stories are bad. This way, I keep my sanity. I avoid talking to negative people. There is enough worry already in running a business.
Being happy is hard work. Being unhappy is very easy. It is easy to be depressed also. Self-pity does it easily. Staying above all the problems you have will lead to a happy life.
Try using worrying as a positive tool. Being worried about the validity of your dreams can be used as a motivation. It can make you see clearer than you have in a while. It can put things in perspective and be a boost.J
This text is derived from the live video of 30-04-2018 broadcast from Wary Pen at ReDahlia Workspaces, 43B Emina Crescent, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja. We are happy to give you a FREE tour of the facility anytime. Please call or walk in.
If you run a successful business and want us to feature you on our platform, then send us an email on email@example.com or give us a call on 08188122223.
Let’s create visibility for your brand and put your business on the world map. Contact us today to make your brand the preferred choice for our audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders.