If you’re like me, January has a way of being an absolute drag. The holiday cheer is over, somehow we are still in the midst of a pandemic that seems never ending, and the days are cold and dark, and the sun disappears at 4 pm.
Entrepreneurship is a lot like seasons of the year. Wonderful weeks with big wins transition into tougher months, where employees leave, donors or investors are difficult, and you feel yourself losing steam. Resilience in the tough times is one of the best skills you can build for yourself — especially if you’re an entrepreneur, where the highs are so much higher and the lows that much lower.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to get through January:
Take your morning from reactive to creative.
Recently I’ve tried not to touch my phone for the first 20 minutes of the day. On a really good day I listen to Vishen Lakhiani’s 6 Phase Meditation and envision the day that I want to have. I take my probiotics and some Vitamin D3, play my morning mix of favorite songs (J Dilla and Fatoumata Diawara are on repeat), walk my dog around the block and then I go into the day. My morning ritual is constantly changing — and some days there is none and I just go straight into the dumpster fire that is my email inbox. However, I’ve noticed my mood improving the days I consciously feel gratitude around me and then choose what kind of day I’m going to have.
Do a random act of kindness for someone who can’t repay you.
I’m all for being generous to your friends, family and loved ones, but there’s something so special for me about giving anonymously, or giving to people who don’t and will never know your name and can’t repay the favor. When I give a banana, a $5 bill or even just a smile to the man on the subway, it likely does more good for me than it does for him. It reminds me that we are all, on some level, connected. Starting my day with a small act of kindness makes me feel like even if the day was a total failure, at least I did something good for the world outside myself.
Move in a new way.
Get out of your head, and into your physical being. I’ve had a pilates and cardio routine for years, and sometimes my body and mind get used to the same movement and I notice myself going on autopilot for the workout. When you feel that happening, challenge yourself and switch it up. I’ve substituted barre classes and runs in the park for virtual Bhangra and hip hop dance classes. It’s intimidating moving your body in a different way than you’re used to — and maybe in a way you’re not even comfortable with (yet). Being the least experienced in class is definitely a humbling experience. Our ego forces us to stick to the things we’ve mastered and perfected, making us miss the joy of the new. My dad is one of the happiest people I know and at 70 he became an EMT and taught himself how to fish.
You’re never too old to start something new, in work, fitness or other areas of life.
Write it out.
There’s something cathartic about writing out your feelings. Taking a pen to paper almost forces the feelings to be external, just for a minute and lets you think about your experience at that moment from someone else’s point of view. If you find it difficult to write, like I do, set a timer on your phone and do it every morning for just 3 minutes. No less. I find that when I get started, it’s hard to stop. The hardest part was just to put that pen to paper and force myself to start.
I’m hopeful that one — or all of these techniques will help you weather these winter days. I’d also love to hear your tips for getting through January in the comments below