This past year has been life-changing for me and it all started from the bottom of a hole. Over the past year it has become a lot easier for me to talk about it, but I was in a really dangerous state of mind at the beginning of Summer 2017. Getting out of bed was an achievement for me. I was depressed, but unlike other times I've felt depressed, this point in my life really scared me. I didn't want to live anymore.
Luckily, I had the courage to seek out counseling for my mental state. Something that I assumed would only be temporary for a few sessions to get me back to "normal". I think as a society we sort of perceive counseling in a poor light. As if you might've failed at something. At least I know that's how I sometimes thought of it. Whether your marriage is failing or you are unable to cope with certain realities, seeking help feels like a last resort and that makes me sort of sad. After a year and a half of seeing a licensed therapist at least once a week, I can now vouch for its powers.
Life is hard and there's no manual for how to be happy (although a lot of self-help books try). What I learned this year and what I've continued to learn every day is how to be patient. How to observe and how to balance my life to maintain a healthy stability. And that's something that I think is often overlooked, but might be the single most important key to success.
A lot of entrepreneurs think they need to work non-stop until they've made it. They need to work longer and harder than their competition. And for some this can be a successful route, but often times it comes with a cost. I prefer to think of careers as a marathon rather than a sprint. Yes, being an entrepreneur requires a lot of sacrifices and hard work, but it should be done with balance.
Something that maintains my mental stability every month is my balance. There are seven dimensions of wellness:
- Social - having and maintaining positive relationships with family, friends and colleagues
- Emotional - coping with the emotions of life. Understanding you'll get upset, angry, sad or stressed but being able to acknowledge and process those feelings in healthy manner
- Spiritual - the ability to develop congruency between values and actions and to realize a common purpose that binds creation together
- Environmental - recognizing our responsibility for the quality of air, land and water that surround us.
- Occupational - finding a purpose in the work that you do
- Intellectual - opening yourself up to learning and understanding of new ideas
- Physical - ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle by working out, eating right and limiting destructive intakes like tobacco, drugs and alcohol.
This is something that I learned last year in my time of need. At first, I thought it was a load of garbage, but when you sit and think about each one and write down what you can do in your daily life that will fulfill each one of those dimensions, you'd be surprised by how much better you feel.
I have my routines every week. Writing this newsletter gives me occupational purpose. Making my videos allows me to connect with an audience that teaches me new ideas and allows me to educate myself to be a better me. Working out 3-5 days a week and eating healthier gives me more energy and allows me to be more productive.
Whenever I do too much of one category I start to slip mentally and I become less productive. If I engage too much in a social life, or I work too much or I start eating unhealthy, I can really notice a difference in my weeks. Some people think they just need to focus on getting work done, but what they don't realize is how much more productive they can be if they kept a well balanced healthy lifestyle.
If I binge on work, I'll get a lot done for a two week span, but then I notice I fall into a place of stress and then I have mental blocks that prevent me from getting any work done. It's not a steady pace and if I maintained a healthy routine and balance, I would actually be more productive if I just worked normal hours.
So, if you want to be successful, make time for fun. Make time for relaxation and social experiences. Watch what you eat and make sure you live actively. This is something I'm continuing to learn and I felt it was important to share with you this week in case you might be experiencing struggles yourself and didn't know what to do with them.
Life is a journey and you must work every day at it. For me that involves weekly counseling and a bootcamp instructor. So, run the marathon, not the sprint. And take care of your mental health, it's more important than most people think.
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