Health + wellbeing

Depression: Coping with life’s down times

- January 27, 2007 2 MIN READ

Feeling low is a natural part of life. But if you have problems coping with life’s down times, or are experiencing ‘bad’ emotions on an ongoing basis, it may indicate a problem like depression.

I was inspired to write this story when, listening to the radio recently, I heard a report on depression. A fact that startled me was that more Australians die from suicide each year than from road fatalities.

A lot of articles on Flying Solo are positive, upbeat and all about achievement. However, the depression report  got me thinking about all the people out there who are working hard to fulfill their dreams of running their small businesses, but struggling from time to time and not always coming out on top.

It has become more common for people to openly admit they suffer from depression or some other mental illness. There have been plenty of high profile cases, and some that have sadly ended in suicide. The real flip side is that the profile of depression is being raised and people feel more confident to seek attention and hopefully go on to lead a fulfilling life.

So the question is how does this impact us soloists?

By definition, soloists spend most of their time working alone. Running a business can be both a lot of hard work and stressful. We can be under a lot of pressures like making financial targets, meeting deadlines…or simply the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve.

And sometimes things can go wrong! Whether it is missing out on a big job, a tax audit, expenses swallowing up revenue, not enough customers, personal issues or simply just a bad patch.

Want more articles like this? Check out the health and wellbeing section.

Being sad or down is a normal reaction to negative situations in our lives and we normally bounce back in hours or days. Depression tends to be a more persistent condition when someone cannot just simply ‘snap out’ of feeling that way.

Depression is a complex issue, but the simple message I want to convey is that there is business support, through websites like Flying Solo, small business groups, business networks, support from family and friends, where the downward spiral can be stopped early. Don’t be afraid to get out there and network, try new things and share ideas.

Feeling down, noticing things repeatedly going bad and retreating into negative lifestyle habits are possible indicators of depression.

But don’t be embarrassed or afraid, get out there and get help. A good place to start can be a group like, LifeLine.

Here are some specific tips:

  1. Don’t be scared to admit that your business isn’t going well. There is most likely a solution and sometimes hitting a bad patch is the dawning of something new.
  2. Remember to take time out. Even if your business is struggling, new ideas can blossom while you are resting or having fun.
  3. There is support out there. We are soloists, but that doesn’t mean we are alone.
  4. Try a business mentor or life coach to help get your business and/or life on track.
  5. Give counseling a go. It is a fantastic way to work through issues of all types.
  6. Remember that being depressed isn’t a sign of weakness.
  7. Aim for a healthy and varied diet and make sure that you eat regularly.
  8. Try and get plenty of regular exercise. Exercise helps to raise your metabolism and releases all sorts of “feel good” hormones.
  9. Make sure you get plenty of quality sleep and develop a regular sleeping pattern.
  10. Talk to someone. Ask for help.

Useful websites

For more resources on the subject of small business mental health and to learn how many leading bodies and organisations are rallying to add their weight to this important topic, visit our information page on small business mental health.