Advice from Mental Health Practitioners: How to Handle Depression as a Business Owner

Depression is a serious mental illness and it can have severe consequences if left untreated. For business owners, acknowledging and handling depression is of the utmost importance in order to ensure the success of their business. Depression can lead to decreased productivity, poor decision-making, strained relationships with employees, customers, and vendors, as well as a loss of motivation and creativity. Business owners who are depressed are also at greater risk for financial difficulties. 

To better understand how to handle depression as a business owner, we asked mental health practitioners around the nation to answer a single question: 

What are three things you’d tell a business owner who’s dealing with depression?

Make Self-Care Priority One
“1. No matter how busy you become running your business, don’t allow it to run you. Self-care has to be your number-one priority if you want to sustain while thriving personally.

2. Set healthy personal and professional boundaries with yourself, your clients, and others in your life.

3. If it doesn’t make you happy and contribute to your physical, emotional, or financial health, don’t waste energy on it.”
Christina Davis, Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist at Aloha Massage & Bodyworks

It’s Okay
“1. All parts of you, all of your emotions, feelings, and thoughts are welcome. I am giving you permission—it’s okay if you are angry, heartbroken, or scared.

2. I can see the being that is longing for something to be very different in your life, in the way that you experience yourself everyday. I see that the being who is longing is the being that has the power.

3. You can interrupt me. I am giving you permission to interrupt me mid-sentence or mid-silence as I search for a word or thought, because I want you to be more connected to what you are feeling, thinking, and noticing than to what I may be telling you. I encourage you to share what surfaces in you mind as I am speaking, because the power to shift your life, to change a long time pattern of experience, comes through the power of your own feelings and thoughts. I can help you get closer to yourself, to those feelings and thoughts.”
Eliot Nemzer, Certified Hypnotherapist

Be Honest With Yourself
“1. Find someone to help you explore your depression. What is this depression about? Is it seasonal? Biologic? Is there a trigger that set it off? Is there something in your life it is trying to draw your attention to that needs adjustment?

2. Determine what you need. A listening ear? medication? Some kind of self care or support? Exercise or social connections? Meaningful activities? Psychotherapy? Bodywork?

3. Ask yourself if you really ready to feel better. How much do you want to feel better? For each desire you have to move forward, you may have an opposing choice keeping you stuck where you are.”
Joya DCruz, MA, LMFT

Give Yourself Compassion
“1. Forgive your younger self, believe in your current self, and create your future self—these are good concepts to live by as an entrepreneur.

2. Stop ‘shoulding on yourself’, beating yourself up for what you believe you should have done. We are our own worst critics. It’s okay to have grace, compassion, and understanding for yourself as you accept the season you are in (depression) and take the steps to improve. Watch out for comparisons and social media. There will always be someone better and someone less than. Avoid social media and notice how your mood changes.

3. Believing in your current self is not always easy. Start with daily affirmations and small achievable goals that you can accomplish. Creating your future self is about being open minded and not shutting down creative ideas. Dare to dream because hope is your healing mechanism.”
Tiffany Atalla, LMFT, Best Solutions Therapy

Ask For Help
“Depression can show up as a lack of energy, a loss of focus, or a loss of interest in your business. When you don’t feel excited or energized about your business or life, lethargy sets in. Steps to deal with these feelings can include the following:

1. Self-Compassion. We live in a society that wants to deny or dismiss these uncomfortable feelings, so most people feel unsupported when they feel down, or they’re told to “just get over it” and move on. Self-compassion means we acknowledge, respect, and accept our feelings, and give ourselves permission to explore strategies to effectively and respectfully deal with them.

2. What is My Desired Outcome? This question must be asked and answered in any situation. An effective answer must meet two criteria: it must be what you want, and it must be something over which you have control.

3. Reach out for Help, Guidance, and/or Support. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, we all need a village to be successful in our lives.”
Loren M. Gelberg-Goff, LCSW

Talk To Your Doctor
“1. Determine if there is a logical reason for the depression, such as the death of a loved one along with a business downturn. In those circumstances, be patient with yourself because time has to do its healing. This is normally not clinical depression but reasonable depression.

2. If you can’t seem to see light at the end of the tunnel, see your Primary Care Physician. Get their eyes on your situation and follow through with their recommendations.

Moderate exercise and mindfulness on a daily basis can often help, especially if this happens seasonally. Solicit a walking buddy, someone you can talk to about what is going on.

3. Add God to this double cord to make it a threefold cord. Getting in touch with God through prayer and having meaningful discussions with him in private is more helpful than many think. Between midnight and dawn is a peaceful time to spend in communion with God.”
Jacqueline Fowler, Holistic Mental Health Coach

Want to share your answer with us? We’d love to hear from you, too. Please message us with your answer to this question:

What are three things you’d tell a business owner who’s dealing with depression?

Contact us today with your answer to this question!

Advice from Mental Health Practitioners: How to Handle Depression as a Business Owner

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