5 Ways To Keep Anxiety In Check When Running Your Business From Home
More and more we are choosing to follow our calling to create the unique and flexible career paths we dream of having in order to share our skills and gifts with the world. Not only does this allow us to share more fully but in a way that feels authentic to us as creative people. As women this flexibility also allows us to take control of our lives, build businesses around our families and other commitments without having to put our own lives on hold. Freedom. We are doing this in different ways, from travelling around the world with our work to freelancing or quitting our 9-5 jobs to follow our passion projects full time working from home.
Benefits include but are not limited to
1. Working around your schedule and sleep patterns as little or as often you like - If you are an early bird you may start at 5 am and sign off after lunch if you so please. Or in time to collect your kids from school! If you are a night own then fitting your work around your sleep patterns isn't an issue. If you want to meet a friend for coffee at 11 am on a Tuesday who'd going to stop you?!
2. Being able to connect with the clients and people you want to work with on your terms in your authentic voice. Being your own boss means you get to do you 24/7 and that is what draws your audience to your inspiring offers, products and services. You build the brand you want to share around you and should be unapologetic about it.
3. Creative control - shaping the career you dream of like a vision board manifested right in front of you. "What you choose to focus on becomes your reality" Jen Sincero. And you do not have to check it out with anyone before your make those magical decisions. It's all open for you to decide! If you have a plan or a new project you are itching to get stuck into there is literally nothing or noone holding you back.
Whilst this all this has huge benefits to the way we work and connect with our clients and the world, like everything positive there often comes an equal and opposite force that balances out the good - which is of course only natural. So why is it that as the self-employed solopreneur world expands and goes from strength to strength do we are feeling increased levels of pressure and anxiety? And why are we still hesitant to share our experiences of mental health issues? For fear of looking weak or like a failure? Or perhaps sometimes like in my experience we don't recognise it until it has us flat out on the floor straining for breath.
Anxiety = Fear, worry, feeling of unease/panic about the unknown. Manifesting mentally and physically. Anxiety is future based and describes feeling for things that have not yet happened.
Well guess what! I have said it before and I will say it again, being your own boss in control of your destiny is hands down the best way to work I know BUT it brings grey areas and periods of unknown and anxiety along with it. This is totally normal and without these periods of low ebb we wouldn't recognise our growth or success. And guess what else sharing our fears and failures, that authenticity is the magic glue that makes your business shine like no one else's.
I have had the unique experience of never taking a "proper job" instead opting to follow my inspiration straight out of uni, to freelance, to put myself out into the world and see what opportunities came to meet me. Choosing at times to work part time to supplement my income and run free with projects, ideas and events I knew I had to share with the world. This has lead to a career path encompassing high and lows, amazing opportunities and connections! I have talked about my experience of anxiety before. A few years back during a huge period of change in my business and career (moving from Super+Super to Women Who Create UK in fact) I noticed a really strange feeling begin to creep up on me very slowly. As I made huge exciting changes and felt invincible and open to new and creative possibilities, my brain went from sharp to fuzzy and my chest got tighter and tighter. This all happened in what seemed like the space of two days. And I woke up after only a few hours of restless sleep thinking I was having an asthma attack. Fast forward to a doctors appointment and a diagnosis of anxiety induced hypoventilation - the one where you don't breath enough as opposed to breathing too fast - I was shocked. Asthma attach I could understand having suffered from asthma since I was a kid... but anxiety attack? Me? No way! And this wasn't the last...
So, although these periods of anxiety are just part of the package that many of us female entrepreneurs have signed up for and a sign of our modern times - there are many ways we can keep them in check and at least recognise when the balance is out in order to work smarter and look after our own physical and mental health for long-term wellbeing. Here are some ways I have learnt to keep my anxiety in check that I hope will benefit you.
1. Know your triggers / See the signs - This might be the last thing you feel like doing during times of low mood or high anxiety, but making a note in a journal of anything you recognise that may have happened in the lead up to your anxiety, is a great way to figure out what to avoid or how to prepare when you have are in brighter periods. For instance, does spending time with certain people or attending a particular event send you in a tailspin? Can you identify why that might be? Break it down and evaluate what parts you can see. What about this situation are you able to keep and what id best to avoid?
2. Check in with peers and friends regularly - Working from home alone can be lonely and isolated. You can get stuck in your head and during times of anxiety blow small things out of proportion with no one to check in with. FOMO, simple misunderstandings of things read online and our own projections can lead to unnecessary freakouts. Schedule regular or monthly coffee dates with a business besty or friend out of the house. Connect with peers over skype and check in with where you are both at. If you have a local community group or meet up make sure you book a ticket and connect with like-minded people who get what you do and why.
3. Love your Inner Boss Yep self-care and some regular business structure will help in short and long-term.
4. A burst of energetic activity! For me, anxiety leads to holding my breath which is that cause and effect. So I have learnt that the best way to regain control of my breath and my body when physical symptoms appear is to get moving! I turn on some music and dance, get my hula hoop out and get my heart pumping! Other exercises such as a fast walk around the blog, a jog or swim all help get that heart pumping and break the cycle!
5. Cutting out the big C - Caffeine. Since I cut it out I have not only noticed lower levels of palpitations I also have much more clarity and smoother energy levels on a daily basis! Most good coffee shops do excellent decaf coffee so there is no compromise needed there. After much taste testing, I can also vouch for Clipper Decaf Tea as a superb alternative to regular English breakfast Teas... Make sure you leave it to brew for 3 minutes and its delicious!
If in doubt unplug - Comparison particularly online is a huge cause of anxiety today. And though I am not advocating ignoring things and they will go away - I definitely believe in removing highly stressful stimuli from your social media feeds if you know its having a negative effect.
As with all of the things getting to know and deal with your own anxiety is different to everyone and extremely personal! But once you have spent some time sussing it out you will be able to arm yourself with tools to manage it more easily when the time arises and hopefully communicate with others about your personal experiences! The more open we are about mental health issues the the better things will be for all!
As always I'd love to hear from you! If you have any tips or experiences to share drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively if you are looking to turn your passion project into a career? Or have big dreams for your small business but no idea where to start I am booking free 30-minute clarity calls with new mentoring clients now! Get some advice on your next steps.