From time to time we all fall in a “funk” — when we feel plagued by a lack of focus and feel down for reasons we can’t put our finger on.
Sound familiar? Blame the solopreneur blues.
While the solopreneur blues is not a condition in the scientific sense, every entrepreneur, freelancer, or creator is familiar with the feeling of loneliness that accompanies blazing your own trail.
Sometimes it seems the toughest part about going solo isn’t the technical knowledge needed to build a company or find customers. Rather, the most difficult part is the battle within — it’s precisely this thought: “I am alone in this.”
While you’re deeply committed and invested in your business, your friends and family may not understand what it is that you actually do all day or why. Not to mention you may spend the majority of your day physically alone without any input from a team or peers.
How can you lift yourself out of this pattern and start feeling brighter every day?
Here are a few practical tips for combating the solopreneur blues:
- Do a perspective check.
Overwhelming and stressful situations tend to trigger negative feelings and make us see situations more pessimistically. Take a second to reflect and separate yourself from the business challenges you’re facing. Ask yourself: Are you really alone? Are you overlooking your biggest cheerleaders?
Take stock of the people in your life you turn to when times are hard. Recall instances when they’ve shown you support. A better attitude often begins with gratitude and a fresh perspective.
- Limit time on social media.
Have you ever scanned your Facebook feed and felt bad about your perceived lack of accomplishment? Social media allows people to present a glossy, filtered view of their lives and greatly skews what success looks like.
You may be comparing your progress to an inaccurate picture of other people’s achievements and unnecessarily eroding your self-esteem and motivation. Comparison is the thief of joy. If you find yourself in this trap, it’s time for a social media detox. Start small by unfollowing one to three people daily who are sapping your energy.
- Embrace your social instincts.
Humans are social creatures. Even if you’re an introvert, we all crave and need social interaction. Connecting with others is beneficial for your mind and body, just like healthy diet and exercise. If you’re working from home or known to be glued to your chair for eight-plus hours a day, make it a goal to get outside for a minimum of 10 minutes daily. This could be running an errand in the middle of the day, meeting up with someone for a drink, or working from a café.
Networking events are a great way to surround yourself with interesting people, but if big groups aren’t your thing, try gathering a small mastermind group together once a month. You also eat lunch and dinner every day (hopefully), so why not turn meals into an opportunity to connect with someone (rather than zoning out and watching TV)?
Remember, there’s a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Being alone isn’t always a bad thing. Some people cherish their alone time as a way to recharge and get their best thinking done. However, if your feelings of loneliness are persistent and worsening, the best thing you can do is speak up and reach out for help.