Running a business when you suffer with Anxiety

Everyday more and more people assess their mental health and as a nation we are all working to understand and improve it – we finally want to open up the conversation. So I pose the question to you; What do you do when you are running a business and you suffer with anxiety?

Running a business is stressful and risky but if you are some who suffers with anxiety IT CAN BE TEN TIMES WORSE. When I set up my business in 2011 I was taking a big risk, (Let me just say I am not completely risk adverse) but what I had not accounted for was the battle I would be facing running a business when I suffer with anxiety.

“Just stop worrying” – oh thank you, I had never thought of that!! You have just saved me – I’m cured”

When setting up a business it is not necessarily the financial investment or working for your self that is a main stressor. It’s the ‘What if I have an anxiety attack when I am with a client?” or “What if I am  worried about something and unable to think clearly and function efficiently – how will can I get my work done?”. When you suffer with anxiety it can sometimes be hard to get through day-to-day life – it can catch you off guard at any moment. (I am saying this from personal experience, please don’t get me wrong I am not aiming to generalise.) The difficulty is, even on those days when you just want to bury your head under the covers, don’t want to see the world – you still have to get yourself up and run a business.

What if this was 9-5?

With more and more people written off with stress in standard 9-5 jobs I wonder how many are not when they work for themselves.  In 2014 my doctors told me to take time off with stress. My response  “I’m sorry you want me to do what? How am I going to make money, move a business forward?”.

I had to make a lot of big changes. If you are someone who sufferes with anxiety you will know like me we can make a lot of physical changes but it doesn’t mean our mind follows. That is a really hard thing for others to understand.  I love the phrase “just stop worrying” – oh thank you, I had never thought of that!! You have just saved me – I’m cured.” NO it doesn’t just go away. However four years on and the stress…well it is no more – although the anxiety still likes to give me a good hug on a weekly basis!

Can I cure it?

The rational part of my brain knows that what I am worrying about in my day to day life hasn’t happened and may never happened.  I have 99 problems but really I only have one – anxiety – so to put it simply – I don’t know.

What I have learnt I can do with my anxiety is begin to  understand it. Take it as it’s own entity, a limb, accept that it’s going to be there and ask others to accept this too. It’s part of me, it’s not just something I can make better over night.

I remind myself that every thought that comes into my head is just that, just a thought – like the thought that I would be next Britney spears. It won’t (necessarily) come true

So everytime a thought pops into my head now I observe it, acknowledged it and let it go. I know that it will likely return but I remind myself that it is just a thought.

I acknowledge that I will have bad days when I can’t let them go as easily as I would like. On those days I have to take a big breath and tell myself that if it is going to be a part of me that I can’t get rid of and its going to be there forever then if anything bad does happen like I imagine. My business is my constant – my control and I can’t let it affect that. Likewise I can’t let it take over my life because that’s my life and my health and if anything is going to happen I have to be in the best frame of mind to deal with it.

So if you are a business owner, like me, and facing a similar battle do try to take my advice.

Some of my other tips.

  • Be kind to yourself – you can’t do everything and be everyone…
  • Exercise – exercise the heck out of anxiety.
  • I meditate everyday – I give myself 10 minutes to ground myself and remind myself to stay in the moment.
  • Keep positive – change every negative thought into a positive one.

I could talk about anxiety and your business until I am blue in the face but if you are someone who worries you need to start internally and find tools, baby steps that you can take.

And remind you that you are not on your own. I am here, worrying too.

But know it. Acknowledge it and build the business you love – in spite of all of those worries.

If you ever want to talk or need a listening ear drop me a message.

Laura x

I love to get to know business owners and discover how I can help them, whether it be through the blog or community. To book your Free 30 minute discovery call with me just click below.

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