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How to beat the February blues!

Wednesday marked 16 years since my friend’s sister ended her life due to depression.

A family friend has been in the hospital with post-partum depression for the last three weeks.

Yesterday I spoke to a client who has feelings of depression and anxiety.

I’m writing about this today because February in Canada can be such a dark, cold and challenging month for so many people. I’m writing about this because I want you to realize that if you are feeling down or depressed, please know that you are not alone. Know that whether we are friends or strangers, you have an open invitation to call me or respond to this email and reach out. I will carve out time for you to chat, to listen and be here for you.

In chatting with my client yesterday, we talked about mindset a lot. We talked about her thoughts. I won’t share her specific thoughts with you because they are personal and confidential. However, I will share some thoughts that many of my clients have that cause them to feel self-doubt, anxiety and even depression at times.

Here are a few of the common ones that I hear:

  • I am not as good as my colleague for this reason…
  • I feel insecure in front of one of my colleagues for this reason…
  • I feel afraid to voice my opinion because I might look foolish or stupid or…
  • I worry that I am a terrible leader
  • I worry that I said the wrong thing and people are going to judge me
  • I am worried that I am not smart enough or capable enough for this promotion or new role
  • I am not worthy of this role, this team…this…

This list is by no means exhaustive. I hope that, by sharing it, you won’t feel alone. Perhaps you’ll realize that you are not the only one with an overactive mind!

Now I get to share the good news with you!

The good news is that…

… your thoughts don’t define you
…your thoughts are not reality
…your thoughts can be changed

Here are a few suggestions in order to help you to shift your negative thinking.

  1. Start noticing your thoughts. When you notice one that chips away at your self-esteem or makes you feel anxious, picture this thought as a cloud passing through the sky. Like clouds, thoughts are impermanent. They come into our experience and they can be whisked away with ease.
  2. Don’t judge your thoughts. So many people beat themselves up for having negative thoughts. Rather, observe the thought, take a deep breath and visualize it dissipating like a cloud in the sky.
  3. Remind yourself that “all is well” and that you are fully capable of being a great leader, a great person and a competent employee in your current role.

Will these suggestions be easy to implement?  Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Either way, give it a try. Keep at it. Don’t give up.

If you’d like to read more on this topic try a few of my favorite books:

  • Mindset the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  • A New Earth or The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Be well. Plan a few fun activities for the rest of February.  Sure enough,  in another four weeks, the birds will be back chirping cheery songs and signs of spring will be abundantly abloom. Just the thought of that makes me smile.  🙂

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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