As a business coach, I’m passionate about business. But business isn’t just buildings, asset, profit statements and sales … it’s often about people. After decades of working with businesses and business owners, I know that a healthy business has a healthy team and a healthy business owner. Good health is physical, emotional and mental.
After more than a year now of COVID, and lockdowns (feels like a lockup sometimes), masks, the uncertainly of vaccines, fear of business failure, job security… well, it’s no wonder we have moments of ‘blah’, ‘blue’ or ‘meh’ – basically that feeling of being a little ‘flat’. I read an exceptional article about this feeling of languishing (aka suffering, flagging, ailing) and I wanted to share some thoughts with you (plus the link to this article is at the bottom).
This Feeling of Languishing
You’re not alone!
Firstly, if you’re feeling this sense of languishing, or blue or blah (whatever word you want to use) you’re not alone! So many people, all over the world are feeling this. You’re not ‘abnormal’ or in my humble opinion, you should not distress yourself about these thoughts. Recognise them, and take some positive action to help your own mental health.
Be kind to yourself
When I’m coaching some business owners, they are the toughest critic of themselves. They are tough on themselves, push themselves super hard and are their own hardest opponent. A little self-love and kindness to self will go a long way. If you didn’t get those 59 tasks done today; that’s ok. Actually, manage your ‘to do list’ so it’s no more than a small number of items. Better to get all done and feel that sense of achievement than to overstuff your list and feel a failure. A sense of accomplishment is a powerful heart lifter.
Look after yourself physically
When we eat well, exercise, get good sleep, we naturally feel better. When we exercise, even if it’s a little hard to get started, we always feel better afterwards. A good diet, eating well will not only nourish your body and give you the fuel to complete your day, but a healthy diet will most often mean you’re not carrying excess weight. Going outside for some sunshine and fresh air clears the mind and lifts the spirit.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
I remember hearing the stats on businesses at the beginning of Covid; groceries and alcohol consumption were up (as of course the purchase of dunny paper) … many other things were down. Hitting the bottle (or other substances) might give you that short term ‘high’ or ‘good’ feeling but it’s not the solution. It affects your performance at work, family, health and ongoing wellbeing. Recognising a dependency early and seeking help early will make ‘kicking’ it so much easier.
Hugs and pats do help!
Remember that a hug might be a pat of your fur baby. Dogs and cats are not just great companions, but patting them helps us feel better through the release of endorphins. And a bonus, they receive that same good feeling too – so it’s a win-win for you both.
Get a good routine
Make part of your daily routine something pleasant. For some it may be a jog, walking the dog, for others a cycle, or perhaps an early morning meditation. I know everyone is different and it’s about finding your ‘jam’ and then developing those good habits and routines. Think about something you like doing, which can be done daily and put it into your schedule. Consider reading something positive, educational or motivational – even just a daily affirmation (Louise Hay has some excellent books that contain a tonne of them).
Have a project, activity or something to look forward to
Nothing beats having something to look forward to. Your activity or project (or plan) can be anything as long as it’s something you will look forward to and is relaxing. Remember relaxing doesn’t have to mean sitting still, it can be physical. It might be a veggie garden, regular camping trips, taking a class, a drive to the beach, taking up pottery classes, joining a Tai Chi group, painting, knitting, joining the gym or starting a book club. The point is that it doesn’t give you stress, you enjoy it and you will look forward to it. If taking a class is more ‘work’ for you and a chore, then don’t make that your ‘activity’ for this purpose – choose something you really consider ‘fun’.
Have a ‘green day’
When I’m working with busy business owners, especially when times have been a bit harder and they are working longer hours to catch up, or to recover lost income, I find they are often working 7 days a week without a break. This is not a good strategy long term as I’ve often seen this lead to being burnt out. When I’m talking to business owners, I remind them that business is a marathon and not a sprint; you’re in it for the long haul, so take a break regularly. I call this a green day when you unplug, don’t work, don’t check emails, even don’t get into Facebook or LinkedIn as that is often work for some. Taking a break will recharge you and help you become more productive during the rest of the week.
Surround yourself in the positive
This might mean hanging out with positive friends, or it might be as simple as playing upbeat music, lighting a scented candle, or having a bright painting on the wall. Perhaps as simple as wearing a bright colour, rather than black (especially in winter). Clearing your desk and having a tidy up may well give you that positive feeling. A plant on your desk or a colourful screen saver on the computer are all simple and easy things to action. It’s about consciously making the decision to do the positive.
Let me reiterate this, I am a Business Coach and Mental Health First Aider, I am not a psychologist or doctor. Three things I’d like to mention:
1. Read this article on languishing if you’d like to know more.
2. Check out the link to my website if you want to reach out for help … if you’re feeling is stronger than a pale version of ‘blue’ or you are concerned you’re feeling worse, then seek help. My list includes counsellors and psychologists – plus there is Beyond Blue and Lifeline as well as some excellent websites in this list.
3. Don’t forget your GP. They are a great avenue to have an initial discussion about how you’re feeling. Remember many people are feeling the strain, though if you’ve been feeling it for a while, then it might be best to not ignore it. Help yourself by reaching out.