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10 Ways to Overcome Depression As a Small Business Owner

Commercial pilots are humans, they struggle with depression. They’re often seen as super humans or heroes, just like many small business owners.

The challenge is that disclosing how pilots feel and what medications they could be taking, could affect their career. The Dallas Morning News writes, “Recently, the FAA published the task forces’ results to encourage pilots to get help with mental health issues. The committee recommended a pathway for disclosing mental health conditions, revising requirements for reporting mental health disorders, a closer look at screening protocols and more resources for pilots.”

So how does this tie into your business?

As entrepreneurs our family depends on us, often times we’re seen as heroes (or idiots) in our communities and families (thanks Shark Tank). Pilots have a “stigma” of being super humans, at times. Sometimes entrepreneurs are seen as the same.

However, entrepreneurial depression is a REAL thing. I spoke about this as SXSW some years ago. Carol Roth interviewed me about it.

The FAA’s recent ruling is another opportunity to remind you, don’t go alone. You’re human, life and business pressures are a real thing. Get help.

Surround yourself with others, a community, who can help you move forward. Seek out a trusted mentor, such as a Pastor or other leader who can give you good guidance. Seek help from a good therapist who can give you trained guidance in how to manage your depression.

I use AI to help give us more insight for this article.

Overcoming Depression: A Quick Guide for Small Business Owners

Depression can often feel like a relentless fog, clouding judgment and draining energy. For small business owners, the stakes are especially high. Your business not only supports you financially but also fulfills your passion. Here’s some tips for navigating through the tough times, embracing daily habits, and working effectively with professionals to manage depression.

Recognize the Signs Early

First, acknowledge the signs of depression. You might feel persistent sadness, lose interest in work or hobbies, or struggle with fatigue. Recognizing these early can help you take action before they severely impact your business and personal life.

Set a Structured Daily Routine

Establish a structured daily routine. Consistency can significantly counteract the chaos brought on by depression. Start with small, manageable tasks. Prioritize your activities so that you accomplish at least one key business task each day. This helps maintain momentum and gives you a sense of achievement.

Exercise Regularly

Incorporate physical activity into your routine. Exercise isn’t just good for your body; it’s a potent antidote to depression. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week. Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in your brain that act as natural stress relievers.

Eat Well and Sleep Enough

Nutrition and sleep play crucial roles in managing depression. Opt for a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, which can lead to energy crashes. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. If sleep eludes you, create a bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.

Limit Isolation

Connect with others. Isolation can exacerbate depression. Reach out to friends, family, or business colleagues regularly. Networking isn’t just for business growth; it can also provide emotional support.

Use Technology Wisely

Leverage technology to manage your workload. Apps that streamline scheduling, accounting, or customer management can reduce stress. However, be mindful of screen time, especially on social media, as it can sometimes make you feel worse.

Work with a Professional

Consider working with a therapist. Therapists are trained to help you develop strategies to manage depression effectively. They provide a safe space to explore your feelings and often offer new perspectives on old problems.

Try Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques can be particularly effective. They involve identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviors and replacing them with more constructive ones. Many therapists specialize in CBT, and there are also reputable online platforms that offer CBT-based programs.

Seek Flexibility in Your Business Operations

If possible, delegate tasks. You don’t have to manage every aspect of your business alone. Delegating can lighten your load and allow you to focus on your well-being. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, consider outsourcing certain tasks like bookkeeping or digital marketing.

Remember: You’re Not Alone

Finally, remember you’re not alone. Many business owners experience depression. Reaching out to community groups or online forums where other business owners share their experiences can be incredibly supportive.

Depression can be a formidable opponent, especially when you’re responsible for a business. However, by taking proactive steps and seeking professional help, you can manage your symptoms and maintain both your health and your business’s health.

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