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July 17th, 2019

Have you ever been in a funk? Like you’re not feeling as motivated as usual, don’t seem to be accomplishing quite as much as you normally do, or generally feel like you’re just off in some way? You might feel a bit blue, or even bordering on a temporary bout of depression. First and foremost, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of the best, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. As business owners, the stress level can sometimes seem a bit out of control. Or sometimes it’s a combination of business and family and life issues. Or maybe you can’t pinpoint what exactly is the cause, but you just woke up one day with these feelings, and you can’t quite shake it. Whatever it may be, it’s really hard to focus as a business owner on all that needs to be done when you just can’t seem to get yourself together. While it’s okay to give in a little to things like this now and then, to just feel what you feel, you can’t let it take over and take a toll on your life and business. Being a business owner is stressful, sometimes very lonely, and can undoubtedly wreak havoc on your mental and physical health if you’re not careful. So, here’s 6 ways to climb out of that funk before it starts digging its claws into you and your business…. 

#1: Get it all out 

When you’re dealing with this feeling of despondency, it can be easy to get stuck in a loop of thoughts, worries, and sadness, but you may be surprised with how much it helps to get everything out of your head. Simply writing or talking about what’s bothering you can help provide you with some peace of mind. Have you ever had a venting session, where you just dumped everything that was bothering you out onto a friend, a family member, or a counselor? For many, simply getting it all off the chest can help immensely. So you very well may want to talk to a professional to not only get everything out, but learn some ways to cope and move forward. If you’re not ready or comfortable with that, a trusted friend or family member who listens well can act as a sounding board for everything you’re dealing with. While I find that talking about it can help, I actually have found quite a bit of relief from writing things out as well. I start a brain dump, just writing out anything and everything that crosses my mind. It may be things that I need to do, goals I have, feelings I’m struggling with, frustrations, or anything else that pops in my head. The key is to not filter anything. Just let it all flow out. Then I can look back over it all and put some themes to it…like maybe it’s a lot of to-do’s and the overwhelm of all of that is what’s keeping me in that funk. Or maybe it’s frustrations over a certain situation that I know I’m going to have to deal with to move forward. Whatever those feelings and thoughts are, and however you need to get them out, just get them out. 

#2: Set goals 

Once you’ve put everything out in the open, whether through a conversation or writing it all down, it can be a lot easier to figure out what you need to do to combat this funk. Whether that’s dealing with the big problem, like overwhelm, a bad situation, or tough conversations to have, or the little things like returning some phone calls, finally catching up on emails, or putting out that ad you’ve been meaning to for weeks, start setting some goals. Having a purpose and a plan in place can keep you moving in the right direction. But don’t let this be an added stress. Let’s say you’ve been in this funk for a while, and you’ve gone days or even weeks without accomplishing much more than the bare basics in life or in your business. Setting a dozen or more goals of big accomplishments is probably only going to overwhelm you and add to your stress levels. Instead, focus on the little things, and only one or two at a time. Maybe today you set a goal of replying to 3 emails you’ve been avoiding instead of getting your inbox to zero. Or maybe, instead of trying to come up with the entire ad campaign you know you need, you simply schedule out 10 or 15 minutes to brainstorm the offer you want for your ad. Then tomorrow you can work on the copy. Then the next day the visuals. Setting those goals is so very important, but remember to do it wisely so as to not add to your already stressed state. 

#3: Stop waiting on motivation 

When we’re dealing with this sort of struggle, it can seem like we just can’t get motivated. But maybe tomorrow it’ll be different, right? But tomorrow isn’t. Neither is the next day. Or the next. Why do we expect motivation to suddenly strike us just because we want it to? You know what’s motivating? Not much of anything if we’re staying in that funk! While some of us may gleam inspiration from a nice quote, a book, a song, or whatever else, that’s not real motivation. We can’t expect to wake up one day and suddenly feel and do differently. We have to make it happen! As much as it’s not fun, and for some it may be downright difficult, you need to take the first steps. Go back to those small goals you set; even if it’s just making a single phone call, having that one thing off your plate will give you a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment will often motivate you to do one more small thing, and just continue going. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, plan on 20 minutes to do something productive. Once you see what you can accomplish in that short amount of time, it will only work to keep that internal motivation going. That may serve you to keep going that day or to do another 20 minute round the next day. Don’t be discouraged if it’s small steps. Each one is still a step in the right direction! But the only thing that’s going to motivate you to do differently is you doing differently. 

#4: Get out of your normal routine and space 

If you’re stuck in a dark office all day every day, get out and enjoy some sunshine. Instead of sticking around your normal space, go to a coffee shop or the park and crank out some of that admin work that needs to get done. If you don’t usually take a real lunch break, schedule one in and enjoy a little extra time away in the middle of the day, alone or with a friend. It can be easy to get in a routine and not know how to break it up, but even small changes to those daily habits, schedules, and environment can make all the difference in changing your mindset. 

#5: Check in with yourself 

As bodyworkers, I think we’re all aware of the importance of our physical and mental well-being. Sleep, exercise, and eating habits play a vital role in how we feel. So check in with yourself about these and more. Have you been getting enough sleep lately or do you find that you’re always tired? Is it possible to take a nap here and there or get an extra hour or two at night? This is part of that self-care we all know is important, so don’t keep pushing through when your body is telling you it needs a break! If your exercise routine has been thrown off, try kick starting it again, even in small ways. And trust me, I know how easy it is to eat junk food or make poor choices in the kitchen when I’m not feeling the best, but don’t go crazy. Your diet is a huge part of how you feel, so no matter how much easier it is to just grab whatever’s convenient, try your best to make smart choices. Beyond just sleep, exercise, and diet, take care of yourself! Get a massage, meet up with a friend, do whatever it is your body and mind need to feel good right now. It will only serve to help you climb out of this funk. 

#6: Find something to make you happy 

Last, but definitely not least, do something that makes you happy. Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphins…remember those? Those amazing little chemicals that make us feel good, right? Simply doing something that causes a release of any of these can have an avalanche effect and keep those happy feelings going. So find something that makes you happy. Exercise is a great way to do this, but so is any kind of physical activity. Whether it’s a trip to the gym, a hike, or playing tag with the kids, get moving! Another thing that releases that lovely quartet of happiness, is accomplishment. Checking an item off your to-do list or getting anything done in general is a great way to get that happy feeling going. So pick something, no matter how small, and feel that sense of accomplishment. 

No matter how much of a happy or easy-going person you are, no one is immune to these periods of negative feelings. And as a business owner, you’re even more likely to experience this now and again. What’s important is how you handle it. Try these 6 steps the next time you’re feeling in a funk and see how quickly you can climb your way out.  

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