Did you know that female entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety than their male counterparts? This is because they have more responsibilities in the household with children and typically have less support systems in place to help them out. This is an important point to keep in mind when considering both mental health, as well as the work-life balance of savvy business owners.
I reached out to some of the most amazing women I know and asked them for their best mental health tips. These ladies have found a way to successfully balance their business and emotional well-being throughout the years.
“Thanks, I’m fixed now.”
This is something an online friend of mine says with a biting edge whenever someone gives him any rote mental health advice. You know the drill. “Look on the bright side. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Take a walk, it will refresh your mind.”
It’s not that the advice is bad. For the person who’s been struggling with depression and anxiety most of their life, it’s all been heard before.
Here’s the tip I have to share with you, if you know anyone dealing with mental health concerns… don’t give advice.
Instead, give them your acceptance.
Try being with them in the midst of it all without trying to fix anything.
You could say, “I’m sorry, this really sucks.”
By not showing up with your fixer hat on, you’re letting them relax and be with you without feeling you expect something to happen or improve ‘just like that’.
Content Creators who share their lives with the world open themselves up to reactions and yes, they get a lot of advice. Content Creators who deal with mental health issues have to choose between trying to hide it all or being vulnerable to share their experiences.
If you know a Creator who is brave about sharing their ups and downs with others – let go of your need to fix them. Be there with them, accepting them as they are.
And yes, if the relationship allows, ask them how you can be a better companion. You may get surprising answers that lead to a lightening of the load for both of you.
Kelly McCausey is a blogger, podcaster and business coach focused on content marketing and community building. She knows you want to publish content you’re proud of for a community you love. Connect with Kelly over at Love People, Make Money.
When I started my own business, not once did I think about mental health. It didn’t seem to be a part of the equation. Spoiler alert: it is.
The risk of burnout is high. Working hard to make your dream come true might not seem as exhausting as it really is. The adrenaline of meeting and surpassing goals can keep you going even when you’re running on fumes.
The good news is that you can take note and learn to protect yourself from stress and burnout. It’s so worth it! Here are a few tips I hope help you in your entrepreneurship journey:
- Set boundaries. Not only with others but yourself. When you’re a business owner, it’s too tempting to work 24/7. Remember that you are only human and that rest is part of your health.
- Create a schedule. This seems obvious, but many entrepreneurs think that they don’t need it. Keeping track of your time, seeing how you allocate it, and figuring out whether everything on your to do list is feasible will allow you to make better choices.
- Understand that the failure of a project isn’t a personal failure. There are many reasons why ideas, products and plans sometimes flop. Find the lesson, identify what to do better next time and move on. Don’t allow this unsuccessful venture to lead you into negative self-talk.
- Seek help. There’s nothing wrong about asking for a lifesaver if you feel you can’t swim anymore. If you drown while pretending you can still stay afloat, you can’t help anybody! It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to recognize you need help. It might involve hiring a bookkeeper, therapist, assistant or salesperson. Whatever it is, figuring out what that lifesaver looks like for you. In my case, it’s a mix. For me, outsourcing grocery shopping and accounting freed so much time and energy, that they are worth every penny.
- When you’re exhausted, it’s time for a vacation or a break. It’s not time to quit. Allow yourself some space to recharge. Walk away for a few hours, days or even a couple of weeks before deciding to give up on your business. A board member at my previous company gave me this advice and it has stuck with me for years.
Over a decade ago, my therapist kept trying to write me a prescription. I declined because I felt like taking medication meant I was crazy. A few years wiser and braver, I saw my primary care doctor about my anxiety and medication. It had finally gotten to the point to where I just couldn’t handle it anymore; “it” being everything that affected my ability to function each day. While being on anxiety medication helped to calm me down and re-focus, after a while, I could tell that something was still off. I remember joking with people that I might have adult ADHD because I couldn’t focus and wasn’t being productive; y’all, my Squirrel Syndrome was real! I talked to my therapist husband, telling him what I was feeling and that I wanted to be tested and put on more effective medication.
My hard-earned advice: don’t be afraid of a diagnosis. It is not who you are but can be a valuable tool in teaching you how you navigate the world. It can be hard to do your job/build a business when you don’t have the energy or mental bandwidth to show up consistently. You can be at risk for being labeled – or labeling yourself – as someone who is not good enough or doesn’t have what it takes to succeed. That’s not true! You may not be attuned to your true mental health needs. Don’t be afraid to discover what you really need when it comes to your mental health.
Katherine Shorter is a Certified Pastoral Care Counselor and co-owns Inside Out Counseling & Coaching with her husband. She is also the owner of Yoked, a marriage lifestyle site teaching couples that “marriage is an action word!”
The Voices In Your Head Are NOT You! Hear Me Out! I know they have been with you for so long you just don’t believe me. The mind chatter keeps you twisting yourself into a pretzel to be ‘whatever’ and prove you are ‘whatever’ (change the “whatever” with your voices’ particular convo) is not you. It doesn’t even belong to you!
You picked up others’ thoughts all day long now. But that’s not the worst of it…now you believe the voices speak the truth about you who you are!
The voices others spoke to and about you wounded you deeply. These wounds created limiting beliefs that now create thoughts and actions that prove the voices are accurate!
Now you have a vicious cycle set up, what do you do?
- Start by asking, What if…the voices in my head are not me? They are simply a reflection of others and my own practiced beliefs.
- Begin to become aware of what your mind is saying. This can be painful at first but as you stand outside your mind and witness what is being said you are learning to be present to but separate from your mind chatter.
- Use a specific journaling practice to record the voices so you can get them out of your head to be even more aware of them. Not to blame others, to quiet the noise.
As you loosen the grip of the voices in your head you can turn them from enemies to trusted allies. I know I did…and you can too!
Rozlyn Warren, CHT, ESLC, Energy Alignment Strategist and Founder of Sacred Life Mastery guides spiritually aware visionaries & entrepreneurs in the art of choosing clarity, confidence and joy so you can create success with ease & grace! Get Your Free D.A.N.C.E. Journal™ Kit and turn the voices in your head into trusted allies!
Brandi Jeter Riley
A few years ago, I had the great fortune to sit in a room with some of the biggest decision makers from top companies in the world. There were top female executives from Target, Walmart, Amazon, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Hallmark and more in the house. As they shared their stories in small group conversations and larger keynotes, there was one common theme: Women are taking charge of their health, even if it affects their business.
Some of them shared how, even if they had to take a break from their careers for family or health reasons, they were able to come back as if they hadn’t missed a step because they didn’t entertain any other options.
I can’t lie. That’s much easier said than done. It’s hard to cancel obligations or to reschedule meetings with folks. Signing off, checking out, is not easy in this internet age.
But many times, it’s necessary. And it can be the difference between life and death.
Work will be there when you get back.
You know what? I want you to take an inventory today of all of the things that you’ve accomplished in your professional life. It could be something as small as signing up one email subscriber to as big as starting a successful business. Keep the list going. Put it in a notebook and update it every single day. Start celebrating tiny victories and giving yourself credit for the work that you are doing, and that you have done.
Then, when things feel really difficult, you can take a look at that list and breathe easy knowing that when you’re ready, your business will be there waiting for you.
Brandi Jeter Riley started her blog, Mama Knows It All, in 2010 when she was a new mom who, surprisingly did NOT know it all. Brandi is content creator and coach, and the founder of the award-winning community Courage To Earn. She lives in Oakland, California with a preschooler, middle schooler, and husband. Find her on Instagram at @BrandiJeter or connect on LinkedIn.