You might find it funny that a freelance writer is talking about depression and anxiety. In my years of experience as a blogger, business owner, and freelance writer, I’ve realized how much our state of mind and emotional health affects all parts of our lives, including our professional lives.
As someone who went through serious bouts of depression and anxiety (and is still on medication for it today), I understand this all too well. This is not only a professional issue for me but a personal one too. I’ve learned over the years this affects more people than we usually realize.
When you’re in the middle of a low time and you don’t feel like working, let alone taking care of kids, making dinner, running errands, or even leaving the house, you need more than a positive mindset to break free from anxiety or depression. It takes more than a quick snap of your fingers to change your attitude.
I picture the example of needing to turn your vehicle around in the highway while you’re driving 70 - 80 miles per hour. There’s no possible way you can stop the vehicle immediately. You need to do the following:
- Choose to turn the vehicle around
- Slow down and find an exit where you can turn around
- Take the exit and then begin driving in a new direction
These are the steps you need to take when you find yourself fighting a losing battle with your mind. Let’s apply them to pushing through when we feel like we are unable to.
Make a Choice
This is a crucial step. When you’re in the middle of a low point, you will never feel like turning around. It has to be a conscious choice. Honestly, this is probably the hardest step. Remember that you’re not making one decision. You’re making a series of decisions that will lead to a more peaceful, less chaotic state of mind.
Slow Down & Turn Around
It’s much easier to slow down and turn around when you have something outside of yourself to help you do that. Sometimes you need to simply distract yourself long enough to be able to make that slow turn in the other direction.
Below is a list of action items that have worked for me. You may find something else that works for you, too.
Take a short break:
- Go for a quick walk
- Read a book
- Play a game with your child
- Write down a short list of anything at all you are grateful for
- Keep this list close by so you can refer to it at anytime
- Practice this with your family and significant other as well
Take a long break:
- Take part of the day off and try again later
- Get out of the house - run errands, grab a coffee, go out for lunch
- Meet a friend for coffee or call a friend for a short conversation
- Work out of a local coffee shop
- Go to the library
- Move from your office desk to your dining room table
Read, read, read:
- Pick up a favorite book and read a few chapters
- Read something inspirational like the Bible, a book of poems, or a biography about your favorite leader or entrepreneur
- Peruse your favorite blog and read some of its latest articles
The point is to take a break and give your mind a rest. You need to focus on something else that will help your mind and body calm down, so you are ready to begin again.
I am so thankful that we always have a chance to begin again. I absolutely love this quote:
“Failure plus failure plus failure equals success. You only fail if you quit.”
It’s the truth. If you choose to not begin again then you have failed. If you choose to pick yourself up and start over, you have yet another chance for success.
Depression and anxiety can seriously interrupt your life, and they both have a habit of popping up when we least expect them. Being prepared for one of these interruptions will not only give you the tools you need to fight through them but also give you hope and confidence to keep trying as often as you need.