Most of us have been there at some point….something has gone to DEFCON 4 in our personal life, but we still feel like we need to show up at work and continue to run and build our business like nothing is going wrong at all.
You might have suffered the loss of someone close to you, one of your kids might have fallen ill, your partner may have lost their job, your relationship may have broken down, you may have a customer that has taken you to court, or you may even have been at risk of losing your business….
The stress that any one of these situations can cause takes an enormous toll. The first thing to give way is your IQ – under stress your ability to think straight is lessened as both blood and oxygen are sent to a different part of the brain. The IQ points we need to thoughtfully consider decisions are depleted temporarily.
Then your sleep is affected. If you can get to sleep without your brain running around in circles of thought, you may wake multiple times per night, and then the brain and the little voices start again. Lack of sleep starts to impact on your mood, and before you know it you are losing the plot at the drop of a hat…those around you start to give you a wide birth.
Given you have such a pivotal role in your business, you are unable to take much, if any time off at all to deal with your personal issues, so you continue to try and soldier on at work.
You find it hard to focus, and have little patience for both your customer’s demands or your employee’s needs.
You might even make an uncharacteristic mistake that causes damage to customer’s vehicle, or worse, causes an accident.
You start to withdraw from those closest to you, the ones who would actually be able to offer you the most support. One or two of them have suggested you see your doctor as they fear you may have anxiety or depression. You think you might too, but you don’t really want to face that reality right now, so you don’t make the appointment.
In the past 15 years as a coach in one form or another, I have seen this situation play out many times over, and not just in the auto repair industry.
Everyone suffers one of the above mentioned personal issues at some point. Some handle it better than others, and some don’t handle it at all. The effects of how you handle it may last for years, which is why it is so important to ask for help, and help yourself, as soon as possible.
If you are being told by those close to you, or you suspect yourself that depression or anxiety may be at play, make that appointment with your doctor, and see a counsellor or therapist as soon as you can. Forget about whether or not it’s “cool” to talk about your problems, and just get the help you need. JFDI.
Beyond Blue reports that “on average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. Blokes make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll”.
Those figures are astounding, and very, very, sad.
And let’s not forget the ladies: your daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, and friends….. Around 1 in 5 women in Australia will experience depression and 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime.
Of course, not everyone suffering a life trauma will also suffer a form of mental illness. So what can you do to ensure you take care of yourself and heal, while ensuring that your business is maintained, and even grows?
Try any or all of these 5 to set on the path to recovery…
- 1. Talk it out. Talking with a trusted confidant can be both soothing and just the thing you need when you are in your darkest hour. Reach out to those you feel comfortable with, that you know can offer sound advice that is in your best interests. Be sure not to choose someone who will let you stay stuck in your story though. It’s ok to just pour your heart out and have someone listen, but don’t go repeating the same story over and over again to anyone who will listen. This will embed the story in your psyche, meaning it will take you longer to move forward
- 2. Practice self-care. When you experience one of life’s major down moments, don’t punish yourself with grueling discipline. Sleep more if that is what you feel like you need. As tempting as it may be, extra alcohol consumption and late nights won’t help your cause. They are only a temporary mood enhancer. Instead, eat good food, exercise gently, have a massage, and even consider implementing a daily routine like the Miracle Morning (www.miraclemorning.com)
- 3. See a counsellor or energy healer. You may think you don’t need counselling (I was one of those), but talking things through with a professional that knows their stuff (the first one I went to did not know her stuff!) is smart and helps you move forward. They help you dig into your deepest feelings and make sense of your current situation, and can help you with strategies to move forward. For those feeling a little braver, try a session with an energy healer. My healer of choice is a Kinesiologist, and she has helped me shift blocked energy and help me move forward
- 4. Get space. Sometimes the best thing is to take a short timeout and put distance between you and the situation that is causing you pain. Maybe you can take a couple of hours, or maybe it needs to be days or weeks. Often a bit of space can help you gain some much needed perspective, but please make sure that if you are going to take this option that you will let others know your whereabouts.
- 5. Create a leadership void in your business so that one of your team members can step up, relieving some of the pressure from you. One of the reasons you may feel like you still have to show up at work to keep the ship afloat is that you are not giving others in your team the opportunity to shine. Put systems and written procedures in place that will allow your team to become more self-sufficient, and eventually create the space for you to take time out. Even if you aren’t experiencing a life trauma, you should still be systemising your business, especially if you eventually want to sell, or even take a holiday.
Bad things, making life altering decisions, and making mistakes, happen to good people. You and your business can both survive and thrive in the long run, but you must ensure that you take care of yourself and address your issue in due course. Don’t hide, and don’t turn away from those who can provide you the support you need.
Be your best self at every opportunity…