How to Handle Depression as an Entrepreneur

posted by Chris Valentine

Becoming an entrepreneur can be a stressful process. The entire experience will have ups, downs, and in-betweens, and can feel like a roller-coaster of emotion. You’ll experience success, failure, people will let you down, and if you’re already suffering from depression, these small setbacks can seem like mountainous obstacles. Here are a few tips on handling existential depression as an entrepreneur, so you can still reach your dream without losing your mental health entirely.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Everything

A common mantra in the entrepreneurial circles is “you must sacrifice everything for the dream”. Ok, slow down there, guys. Everything? While this is a commonly used expression, and some people truly do sacrifice everything, we’re going to disagree with this one. Here’s why.

First of all, sacrificing everything includes family, friends, all manner of relationships, personal time, hobbies, and more. What good is your success if you don’t have any of those things? When you finally reach that coveted goal and your company is flourishing, will you be any happier knowing you have no-one to share it with? Likely not!

If you’re already battling depression, following the sacrifice everything method can leave you feeling even more isolated than depression alone perpetrates. Imagine feeling depressed on a daily basis; you’re already losing interest in things you enjoy, and this mantra comes along to tell you that everything you love needs to go for the sake of the company. Do you think that’s going to bring you happiness? More likely, you’ll be digger a deeper hole that’s only going to be twice as difficult to climb out of later.

Make Time for Your Mental Health

The sacrifice everything method argues that most, if not all of your free time should be spent planning, building, and growing the business. In all of that, where’s the time for your mental health? There’s no time for therapy, personal vacation days, etc. The fact is, without your mental health, you’ll only experience an empty form of success. A condition that robs the victim of the very joys of life is only made worse when there is no time at all to combat it!

Make time for your mental health. See a therapist, talk to your doctor, take mental health days. It’s ok to be depressed, but what’s not ok is to sacrifice your mental health in order to build a business. You won’t be able to properly run a company when you’re depressed, it’s that simple! Don’t you want to enjoy your success once you achieve it?

Take Time Off

Take time off from your business. There. We said it. Take. Time. Off. While it’s true that no one promised us tomorrow, we’ll just go ahead and operate on the assumption that your business will still be there when you get back. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and over-stressed, taking a day off will help you realign yourself and keep those depressive feelings at bay.

Burnout is a real condition that occurs when people work too hard for too long, and if you’re already dealing with depression, burnout becomes all the more detrimental to your overall health. The two can combine to create a dangerous duo, and you don’t want to battle one while dealing with the other. Make time for yourself!

Taking time off is good for the brain. You’ll be able to sit back and give your busy mind a much-needed rest. Take time to do something you enjoy. Take a hike. Play a video game. Take a long nap. You deserve it!

Don’t Forget Your Relationships

Relationships often fall by the wayside when you’re dealing with depression, and combined with the grind of entrepreneurship, the toll can be quite enormous. Sometimes, a relationship you’ve cherished for years can fall apart completely. That’s why it’s so important not to forget about the people in your life.

Dating someone with depression is hard enough as it is without introducing entrepreneurship into the mix, but you must make time to fulfill yourself in other areas of life. Again, if you have no one to share your success with, you’ll be sitting on top of a fortune alone; and you may find that happiness still eludes your grasp.

Be Sure the Business Brings You Happiness

Most of all, be sure that what you’re doing is something you love. You’re going to put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention time) into the business. If you’re only entering a certain industry for the promise of large profits, you may find that fulfillment you hoped to gain is difficult to come by. Do something you enjoy. Depression is a complex mental condition, but when you’re fulfilled in several areas of life, the symptoms of such a disorder can seem much less impactful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

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