Tue, September 04 2012

The therapy post: What to do when you’re at a low

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

Trying to save the world is tough work.  You’re going to have low days, and you’re going to get cranky.  At least I do.  Plenty.

So what do you do when you’re at your most drained?

You give a little more. 

It sounds paradoxical, but that extra little generous bit sometimes fills you up - and recharges your batteries (to mix metaphors) - more than anything else can.  Heck, there’s a reason you were drawn to this line of work - because you draw energy from making something better. I’m no sage when it comes to coping with stress (as anyone who knows me can attest), but I will offer advice anyway, because this paradox does work for me.

When your colleague is driving you crazy, say something positive to him.

When your fundraising results are down, thank the donors you have.

When you’re feeling unsupported, ask the person who’s not helping how you can help her.

This may involve serious tongue-biting, slow counts to ten and other forms of self restraint, but it does have a positive outcome.

Seth Godin, one of the most generous people I know, calls this being generous when you’re hungry.  There’s something very wise in the idea that when you’re in need, you should dig deeper to give rather than grasping to take.  It has a way of working better - and feeling better.

What do you do when you’re low?  There can never be enough advice on this subject, so share yours!

  • Comment: (6)   


I agree with you completely on this.  Someone suggested this same thing to me during a job search.  When you are out there looking, help others who are looking.  It lifts your spirits and builds your network at the same time.  I really like your blog - thanks for doing it. Keep the great info coming.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/04  at  11:10 AM

Volunteer! Giving your time at a church, nursing home, senior center, foster home, library, soup kitchen, Meals on Wheels, animal shelter, the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Peace Corps etc. has often been the cure for the blues.  When you lift the spirit of another, your spirit also rises.

Posted by Tammy  on  09/04  at  12:59 PM

Very inspiring!  Thanks for sharing.  It is difficult to keep going sometimes, especially on those days we want to give up and do something else.

Posted by Sara Norton  on  09/04  at  05:49 PM

Simplify by focusing on the area of ‘influence’ and celebrate the magnificence if being alive and able to make a difference!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/04  at  06:07 PM

When I’m low I stop long enough to let myself know that I’m only doing what I’ve been entrusted to do by God, and there’s only so much I can do or have control over, the rest belongs to Him. Therefore whatever happens, He knows and allows, so I rest on that thought and focus on finding the positive outcomes, the success stories. Then I’m content and recharged again, maybe not in a “conquer all” mood, but at least I’m able to go on slowly, till the excitement comes back again….coz it will!!!

Posted by Mariaelena Anderson  on  09/05  at  07:15 AM

When I am extremely low I ask myself: what am I supposed to be doing? Why am I here? And then I get lots of ideas in my head and then I follow one.
I have found out that keeping busy and doing something I like to do makes me feel very good…I do like to help others and thinking about something that I want to achieve for the benefit of somebody works wonders for me. I find helping others is a good anti-dote for depression.

Posted by Santa Tattersall  on  09/05  at  12:28 PM

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