This article was first published at Antwerp Avenue.
Luckily for those who suffer with mental health issues, speaking up about our emotions and how we’re doing has become a lot more normalised over the past few years.
The sometimes toxic combination of social media addiction and extra work stress means that more and more people are suffering from anxiety – and for entrepreneurs who deal with uncertainty, stress, and high pressure on a daily basis, this can have particularly negative consequences. The good news is that you’re never alone. Anxiety is something that most people can relate to, at least to some degree, and also something that can be managed with some simple lifestyle tweaks.
1. Get professional help
It goes without saying that if you’re suffering from a serious mental issue that is harming your ability to do your work, you should seek professional help. Licensed therapists are trained to help you work through your problems, no matter how big or small you may think they are. And if therapy isn’t helping you solve the problem fast enough, you can always consider going down the medication route. Be proactive and schedule a visit with your doctor, who can advise you about the best treatment options for you.
2. Join a support group/ find your tribe
One of the best things about social media is that it provides us with a way of connecting with like-minded people online. Look for hashtags to do with mental health and anxiety, and follow accounts that post encouraging and supportive content. Realising you’re not alone in your experiences can already help you feel better, and it’s a great way to find out about real-life initiatives like meet-ups for people with anxiety.
If you prefer engaging in person, consider joining a support group in your local area. There isn’t one already? Think about starting your own! Reach out to friends and friends-of-friends and see if anyone is experiencing the same feelings as you, whether or not they’re a fellow entrepreneur. Invite a couple of people round for coffee and have a relaxed chat whilst sharing your experiences. You can discover new ways to keep your anxiety under control whilst building your tribe at the same time.
3. Know your triggers
Everyone is different, and something that’s a breeze for you might invoke terror in somebody else. If you suffer from anxiety, take note of when exactly it strikes. Is it Sunday evening, when the mountains of tasks for the week ahead looms over you? Or maybe it’s the end of the month, when your bills are coming up and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to make rent. Maybe there doesn’t seem to be a pattern, but you notice anxiety surfacing when you’re particularly run down. Knowing your triggers will help you know when to slow down and take it easier, making sure your anxiety doesn’t take over your life.
4. Prioritise yourself
Finally, remember that your health is the most important thing you have. It can be tempting to stay up all night finishing an article or sending off emails for your business, but at the end of the day, you’re on the fast road to burnout if you don’t learn how to unwind. Actively factor in time for whatever makes you feel relaxed and renewed. That could be a lavender scented bath or an evening watching trash TV once a week – or maybe a trip to a new exhibition you’ve been meaning to see. It doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure to prioritise time for it amongst your busy schedule.