I think given that one in four people suffer from some type of depression or anxiety disorder we can’t look over the fact that this will come into play within business for a lot of us, and therefore it is important to learn some skills to navigate through the times where the struggle is feeling real.
Within revealing and uncensored detail I have shared and documented my journey with mental health mostly in my Facebook group Remarkable Business Mums which is a community of almost 15,000 like-minded business women so talking about mental health comes fairly easily to me. The way I see it is our brains need serotonin just the same way our bones need calcium so what shame is there in that? I love talking about the things others are too scared to, because it is in those moments of vulnerability that real soul connections are formed and they are what I live for.
Along with soul connections another one of my values is thriving instead of just surviving in business and life. It irks me when I feel stagnant, when I am not creating, when I am not achieving and I have a wild inner drive to be pushing the best out of myself at all times.
This can also be a double edged sword. It leads to incredible highs like helping hundreds of women start an online business, growing a beautiful and rewarding community #businessjumpfamily, growing my platforms to a collective 40,000 people, being featured on Sky News and other media but the desire to achieve is also a peril for burnout which can come particularly quickly when we layer mum and life stressors on top.
If we are not mindful, that burnout can slide into deep-seated negative beliefs in our subconscious minds; e.g. that we are not talented enough to succeed or attractive enough to post on Instagram or not worthy enough of accepting money for our service or product which then goes on to shape the energy of our intentions and there for the energy and shape of your business.
Wendy Gilroy a professional counsellor and therapist who runs Mind Momentum agrees and says ‘our brains naturally have a “negativity bias” which means we will always notice the ‘bad’ much more than we notice the ‘good’. And, if you’re depressed, it’s that much harder for your mind to notice, remember or anticipate the positive things in your life – whether in your relationships, or your business. We benefit greatly from making a conscious effort to become more positive – through our thoughts or beliefs, our communication, and our actions. Our thoughts have a direct impact on our moods and emotions, which will then have an impact on our behaviour. This is why mindset is so critical in achieving successful outcomes with your business. Sometimes our thoughts are so automatic (or unconscious), that we don’t actually know what they are… we just know that we feel crappy, and then we’re seeing crappy results because of the way we’ve gone about doing things.
So depression is a thing. We can’t always avoid it and it isn’t about that. I believe it is about learning how to flow within the current of life instead of holding ourselves back. Here are some things I do to flow when I am particularly mentally, physically and spiritually depleted.
Diet and Gut Health
I know, I know. We have all been saturated with diets, food advice and eating healthy forever and when we are tired and the kids are being jerks it is the last thing that we feel like focusing on. I don’t need to tell you that our body needs fuel, it is common knowledge. But yet it is one of the simplest things we can do to lift our energy levels a little to help us out of the fog. Gut health is not just a trend and whilst research is still in its infancy it is yet, very, very exciting to hear about the gut to depression/anxiety links and just how significantly our gut impacts pretty much every corner of our health and wellbeing which of course is based all around the food we are eating.
Since switching to a clean diet and cutting out junk, I have felt a massive shift and it isn’t hard, just stuff that we already know we need to be eating. Eggs, avocado, salmon, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits, green tea and stacks of water. I am also off anything with gluten, dairy or sugar. I am also doing a small fast and have a gap in eating from around 4pm to 8am.
This is one of the best things you can do that will rise the bar for you in every other area of your life.
Minimise Making Decisions
Decision fatigue in business is a real thing and can exacerbate burnout.
We’re just tired. Or burnt out. We don’t care anymore. Just give us whatever.
It makes sense that the brain power required to make stacks of decisions throughout the day when we are already feeling depleted is going to drain us even more, right? Worse still it can lead to poor decisions and affect the quality of our projects.
There is a reason why former president Obama wore only blue or grey suits for his entire 8-year stint in the oval office. Steve Jobs was famous for his turtleneck and blue jeans uniform – the idea behind their limited wardrobe was simple: With so many important decisions throughout the day, why start with deciding what to wear and they are saving the mental energy for the more important things. If only Trump tried it.
Within my business when I am feeling burned out I will be mindful of trying to limit all the decisions I need to make within a day, right through from choosing the same thing I wore yesterday to the same lunch to the same…. well everything. I was also intentional about building a team around me who are proactive and don’t need to be micromanaged, they also know I expect them to come to me with a solution as opposed to a problem after my favourite question was ‘what do you think?’
Scale Down Your Workload
Along with minimising my decisions to conserve energy, I will also scale down my load within business and life. I will take whatever I can off my plate to allow me to have more breathing space and within my business I have short cuts set up everywhere. I use templates for emails and customise as needed, I have all my most-used internal docs setup with shortcuts, I have my shopping list setup on the Woolworths app so I can order home delivery easily and I have automatic direct debits. I also say No to a lot of things that are non-essential, like invitations to go on podcasts and guest blogs and I don’t reply to every single non-essential email or PM.
I believe it is important to build a business around your life, not a life around your business. This isn’t some internet scam or get-rich-quick thing, it is just working smart. Within my business I can scale right down to just a few core tasks that need to get completed per week which takes perhaps 5-10 hours of my time or I can scale up to 100 hours if I wanted to add additional projects to increase the revenue and momentum. The rest of my business runs without me via my team and automations. This is approx 60% – 70% of the weight I have off my shoulders. It does mean though, I am the driver, that 5-10 hours is solely revenue producing tasks and the income that is generated relies solely on me. It is the only thing I haven’t handed over to someone else (yet).
Path of Least Resistance
Similar to the above options but different. The path of the least resistance is all about looking for the easiest way to get to where you want to go. For example, I’ve written this blog over days bit by bit. Usually I can nail out a blog really quickly however as I am a bit burned out now I am not in flow state. It has been coming in snippets and lasting about 2-30 minutes so whenever the inspiration for what I want to say in this blog hits me, I stop what I am doing and write it. The only other option is to force myself to write it from a state of feeling burned out and that would make it so much more harder to articulate and effectively communicate what I want to say.
The path of the least resistance is also really the core of our CTP Method as well, which is what we use to help members of the Business Jump Family into their new business. It is all about leveraging off your strengths, working within your zone of genius and using any background expertise or skills to create around and this means what you’re doing comes so much more naturally and doesn’t feel like you are pushing dirt up a hill.
Repurpose Your Content
Easier said than done for more established businesses rather than new businesses, however content marketing is the absolute key to running a successful business which of course requires….. content creation. From Facebook page posts to blogs to email newsletters to Instagram posts to Pinterest pins there can be a lot to create and it can feel draining and overwhelming trying to think of engaging, quality, content. My hack? Besides outsourcing it to someone else, is to repurpose your content.
Every now and again I will do a search through my group and pull out old posts that did well and repost them. I can pretty much promise you that no-one is going to remember a post you did from 3 years ago, further more a lot of the time for whatever reason our audience is transient and the same people that saw it last time aren’t going to be the same people that saw it this time. I have also been known to pull out an old blog post and update it and send it out into the big bad online world again. If I write some type of advice to a client sometimes I will rejig it a little and make it a post or if I am training a team member I will use it in a masterclass.