3 strategies for dealing with dark days

 

We’ve all had them.

Those days where nothing seems to work out. When just getting out of bed feels like a titanic struggle against gravity and you literally have to drag yourself back into battle. Running on some strange sort of autopilot.

It could be the long hours you’re working lately. Or financial pressures. Perhaps family or personal issues adding to the weight. Sometimes, it’s all of these all at once.

How do you stay focused on running your business, making good decisions and being positive and happy with your customers, staff and loved ones? Especially when all you want to do is crawl under the doona and hide from the world or grab the surfboard, mountain bike or fishing rod and disappear for a day?

Here are 3 simple strategies to help you deal with, and prepare for, those dark days…

  1. Let your plans and action lists save you

    When everything gets too much and just remembering where the car keys are seems taxing, one of the best tools at your disposal is a to do list or an action plan. It might sound counter intuitive when your task list is so often the source of your stress! Having a pre-written list of simple-but-important tasks can actually save you high level thinking time and allow you to simply ‘dive in’. With a few smallish wins under your belt, it’s amazing how quickly your mindset can improve and create a knock-on effect of more positive thoughts and actions.

  2. Put yourself on light duties

    If the thought of tackling anything from your task list fills you with dread and sends you spiralling even further downwards, perhaps it’s time to put yourself onto ‘light duties’. Just like a labourer who’s hurt their back, perhaps with your head feeling bruised you could cancel some less critical appointments, push out a few jobs and create a little space for you to switch to survival mode. Only deal with (truly) urgent tasks and try and push as much onto staff or even sub contractors as you can. Take some time out for a morning coffee or a lunch away from the phone and accept the fact that it’ll all still be there tomorrow so you might as well give yourself some relief today.

  3. Accept defeat as progress

    Finally, if you’re really weighed down and feel like you’re at tipping point, it could be time to accept defeat. Not long term but just today. Allowing yourself to fail is an important skill in business and in life and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Try and cancel your appointments for the day (or get somebody else to), farm your work out to subcontractors or put it off til tomorrow or next week and just disappear. Grab the surfboard, the dog or the mountain bike and get away from the usual whirlpool of responsibilities. Again, it’ll all be there tomorrow or next week and in the grand scheme of things, one day off won’t kill you. In fact, soldiering on and putting on a brave face is more likely to cause you, and your business, serious long term damage.

Perhaps most importantly is that you heed the warning signs from your dark day. Learning to listen to your body and your mind and alter your pace to suit will keep you more productive and positive for longer periods of time. Pushing too hard for too long is, as you know, a surefire way to burnout and serious stress related disease.

So, do yourself and favour and embrace your dark days as an opportunity to take some time out, learn some coping strategies and above all, ask those around you for help.