Having a mental illness f*cking blows. Sometimes I can function like a “normal” human being, and sometimes I’m a sobbing mess buried under a tent of blankets, tissues, and my cat. I have chronic depression, Pre-Menstrual Dystrophic Disorder, PTSD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know a lot of other entrepreneurs with mental illness, and it’s important to talk about this.
I’ve shown up at meetings not having showered for a week. I’ve had mornings, where I’m suicidal yet by the afternoon, am overjoyed at the abundance of love within my entrepreneurial communities. Sometimes, I have crippling anxiety before a phone call and I have to talk myself through the situation so I don’t just cancel the appointment:
It’s just a phone call.
She probably won’t even know you’re nervous.
Maybe she’s nervous too.
Either way, it’s okay.
I’m going to breathe.
And get on this phone call
And do the damn thing.
I do know what it’s like to have to cancel meetings because I can’t stop crying. I also know what it’s like to say “f*ck it” to following up with clients because I can’t stop staring at the ceiling. I write them a quick reschedule email and tell myself that I’m a crappy human. It’s ridiculously difficult to run a business when mental illness flares up.
Mental illness impacts every aspect of my business. If I’m depressed, I sleep too much. I’ve slept through appointments on more than one occasion. When I have racing thoughts, it’s hard for me to focus on the tasks I need to complete. When I’m going through mood swings, I have to limit my workload for the sake of my sanity.
Just because some entrepreneurs live pretty AMAZING lives doesn’t mean their mental illness isn’t there. Part of my personal mission is to start changing the conversation we have about mental illness. I want to be LOUD and PROUD about it. Because yes, it sucks, but by being loud and proud and having an arsenal of coping tools, I get to help the next chick struggling.
Here are some concrete, actionable ways that you can take care of yourself and cope with your mental illness when you have a business to run.
1. Make a Break in Your Schedule
The cool thing about being an entrepreneur is that for the most part, I make my own schedule. I have set up my mornings to be exclusively devoted to “me” time and personal development. I work for two hours, take a 30-minute break, then work for another two hours. At that point, I’m usually done for the day unless I have evening calls. This is my *ideal* schedule. I make sure there’s plenty of flexibility in case I want to catch a yoga class or feel called to do some chakra work.
2. Take Mental Health Days
Mental health issues easily throw a wrench in my carefully created schedule. A client or article could trigger me. I could simply be super depressed that day. Sometimes I don’t work when I scheduled myself to work. That’s okay.
Making my mental health a priority is my main focus because I’M THE BUSINESS. If I don’t take care of me, I’m not taking care of my business. Period. If I really can’t pull it together for a call, you bet your ass I’m going to reschedule. Not because I’m selfish, but because mental health is real. It needs to be talked about. If I had IBD and was experiencing a flare-up, there would be no qualms about rescheduling; people would understand. It is 100% perfectly acceptable for you to tell anyone at any time, “I’m sorry, but I’m struggling with my mental health. Let’s reschedule for ___”
3. Take Time for Self Care
Even when I have a lot on my plate, I make my self care a priority. The first half of my day is dedicated to personal development. I get my coffee, meditate at my altar, journal, practice yoga, eat breakfast, read a personal development book, etc. Please don’t think all of that happens every morning; I’m not that put together! I do try to eat breakfast and either meditate, journal, OR practice yoga daily AND read for at least 30 minutes from a personal development book.
4. Find a Community
There are tons of entrepreneurial women with mental illness. Whether you’re looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, or you need a pep talk before this next call, or you just need to talk to someone because you feel like shutting the whole damn thing down, putting a
support system into place is the very best tool I can recommend to you. Create friendships with people whom you know you can trust and talk to. Having these people around when sh*t hits the fan makes all the difference.
5. Sometimes Time is NOT a Luxury
It’s quite possible that you simply might not have TIME to do anything I just said! When I started my business, I still worked in corporate America and my business was a side hustle. If that’s the case, or there are any other time constraints, there are still other ways to take care of yourself. Listening to music and audiobooks while driving to work was my escape under these conditions.
I would take long bathroom breaks at work and play games on my phone. I would go for drives on my lunch breaks in order to detach from the environment and recharge. There are other small things you can do, too. I’ve had times when I was up late working on my side business and overslept and didn’t have time to shower. Dry shampoo and a feminine wipe go a long way towards making you feel human again.
Small steps to take care of yourself add up. There are always tricks and hacks you can use to squeeze in more time to feed your soul. Feeding your soul is vital when you’re an entrepreneur in order to avoid burnout, repelling money, attracting negativity, etc. and to shift into creating divine content, co-creating your future with the Universe, and so forth.
What little things can you do for your self care? How can you both show up in business AND show up for your mental health? Next time you’re spiraling out, or merely not functioning, use the tools above to cope with your mental illness.
And remember, you are NEVER alone.
Victoria Crossman is a magic and mindset mentor who teaches women-identifying and non-binary people how to heal and cope using crystals, tarot, essential oils, herbs, meditation, journaling, and more. She primarily works with people who have an intense desire to heal holistically and improve their spiritual
within feminism and is a public speaker, author, musician, and artist.
Facebook Biz Page: https://www.facebook.com/victoriacrossmandoesmagic