How to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Business When Life Sucks

Why do we need to know how to thrive in business when things aren’t going our way? Well, let’s be real – sometimes, life sucks. And it’s hard at times like this to carry on as though everything is normal so it’s useful to have an arsenal of useful tips and resources at your disposal to help you through those tough, trying times.

In brief: some practical things you can do to help you thrive when you’re in the grips of negative emotions

  • Journalling
  • Meditation
  • Aromatherapy
  • Talking therapy
  • Use binaural beats or easy listening music
  • Set up routines & systems to automate parts of your business
  • Recycle content
  • Keep a short to-do list of simple tasks
  • Send voice notes if you’re not up to making phone calls
  • Practice self care
how to thrive when life sucks

How to Thrive, Not Just Survive; the Nitty Gritty

We’ve both been going through some negative life issues during the past few months, like many people. For Nikki, life-changing issues in her personal life have caused extreme trauma, stress, and depression. In Gill’s case, ongoing health issues have been the source of difficulties. But while the root causes of our issues are completely different, we’ve both encountered similar problems with regards to working on our business.

Mental trauma and distress can leave us unable to function normally, leading to cognitive impairment. Signs of this can include trouble concentrating, inability to complete tasks, forgetfulness, inability to follow instructions, lack of judgement, and difficulty in problem solving and making decisions. (This is by no means a complete list and will vary from person to person.)

Prescribed drugs for mental health or pain relief can, and often do, cause brain fog. This can impede us in many ways but particularly our concentration, motivation, and just general ‘lack of mojo’ or depression.

How to Thrive in These Circumstances: Some Practical Steps we Can Take


One of the first things we both try to do is journalling – but it only actually works for one of us! Obviously this is a mindset issue, but if you’re unable to concentrate then no amount of effort or telling yourself to try harder is going to work.

If you’re able to journal about your issues and problems, that’s great, it will certainly help to promote some clarity. But if you’re not, never beat yourself up about it or consider it a failing, because it’s not. It’s simply a function you’re not able to perform right now and it’s pointless trying to force it.


This is another thing we both try to do, and again, it’s easier for one of us than the other. Trying hard to meditate just doesn’t work and can make you feel worse. If you’d like the positive, uplifting effects without doing the meditation, put your favourite easy listening music on and quietly enjoy that instead. You may find yourself transported to a nicer place, even if it’s for a short while.


It’s well known that aromatherapy can help with mental clarity, calming the mind, uplifting the mood, etc. If you have access to essential oils then do give them a try as they always help us. And we’re pleased to say it’s one remedy that works for us both. We have several articles on the site about different oils (you’ll find some here), plus don’t forget about our free beginner’s guide to essential oils. But if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know, please do get in touch.

Talking Therapy

This takes many forms, from simply chatting to a friend to speaking to a professional in the field. If you’re in the UK, you can access a Talking Therapy counsellor via the NHS, or you can find a therapist privately. If you’re looking privately, try to find a counsellor through personal recommendation as that can be advantageous in helping you build trust. This is essential in helping you to open up more.

Talking Therapies include things like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), guided self-help, counselling, IPT (interpersonal therapy), EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), mindfulness-based therapy, and much more. We are not medical experts so would advise speaking to your health provider in the first instance, or asking friends with experience.

You can also use a service like Better Health, which is completely online. You’re matched with a therapist and can easily change to a different if you feel they’re just not the right person for you.

Using Binaural Beats: Brainwave Training for Anxiety and/or Depression

Listening to binaural beats* can induce changes that you’re initially unaware of, but trust us, they are there. They’re real and they’re happening! Sometimes these changes are subtle and slow to materialise. At other times, you’ll notice a difference in your mood almost immediately. Gill used binaural beats prior to a big medical procedure last year and is certain it helped with her recovery. (Her surgeon was particularly impressed with the speed of certain health improvements, which he said were much quicker than normal.) Coincidence or not, that didn’t matter, because the result was still positive.

What are binaural beats? Basically, it’s an “auditory phenomenon” that occurs when listening to two different sound frequencies at the same time. It’s been shown this can alter brain activity, improve sleep, relieve anxiety, and help with a number of other issues. Results will vary from individual to individual. We’re in no way experts in this field so please do your own research. Click here to read an article about using brainwave guidance therapy to elevate mood and help normalise dysfunctional mental states such as anxiety.

Regardless of whether you believe in such things, we’d highly recommend giving binaural beats a try. You have nothing to lose but an awful lot to gain, if it works.

*Important: if you have a history of cardiovascular issues, please speak to your doctor/practitioner prior to using binaural beats therapy.

Practical Ways & How to Thrive On a Daily Basis

Having daily morning routines can help because you can carry out tasks without much thought. If you’re able, set up as many systems and automations as you can to make your life easier.

These systems are the lifeblood of your business, especially when you’re feeling unable to cope. Doing them robot-fashion will help you carry on working without becoming too involved or having to concentrate. For example:

  • If you need to post on social media but that’s the last thing on your mind right now, use a service like Planoly to schedule your posts in advance.
  • Recycle content on your website by tweaking and altering earlier blog posts to provide fresh new content. This can be done in just a few minutes and can be positive for SEO purposes, too.
  • Keep a very short to-do list of simple tasks, preferably no more than 3 items. These can be as simple as dealing with the first 10 emails in your inbox, or shredding a handful of papers. Keeping it simple whilst still achieving something can help you deal with any guilt you may be feeling over your lack of productivity.
  • If you need to make a phone call but really don’t want to use the phone, try sending a short voice message instead. Even if it’s to say you’re unable to speak to the person today but you haven’t forgotten that you promised x, y or z, and will get back to them soon, the recipient will appreciate you at least making an effort.
  • Keep a list of the easiest tasks you need to do in your business on a daily basis, so that you have something to refer to when you’re not feeling up to your normal routine.

Practice Self Care

It goes without saying that all forms of self care can promote positive feelings, and they don’t have to be time consuming. Here are a few ideas, but we’re sure you’ll be able to come up with more of your own. They don’t have to cost much in time or money (many are free).

  • a bath or shower that’s slightly longer than usual, using your favourite products
  • a short massage (if you’re able)
  • a walk in nature
  • sitting in any outdoor space for 10 minutes
  • going to bed early, or getting up early and going outside to listen to the birds
  • listening to music
  • taking an exercise class
  • simply chatting with a friend over coffee

Finally …

Thanks for reading. We hope you’ve found this article on how to thrive when times are hard both enlightening and useful. Please let us know what else we could try, and what works for you, as we’d love to hear from you.

how to thrive when life sucks


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