I Broke the Rules to Save My Mental Health: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Daily
Yes. I have been on a month-long hiatus. I broke all of the entrepreneurial rules in the handbook . Even when social media judged, I disappeared from my business. In case no one else has noticed, our world has literally taken a nosedive into the unknown and most of us brace for impact daily. I am no different. Did my actions cut down my engagement numbers? Yep. Did my sales slow down? Absolutely. Will this cause me to have to work triple times as hard just to get back to where I was a month ago? No doubt about it. However, the reality is I had to for my mental health. When the effects of the pandemic started, I had a real “I am supermom and I can do it all” moment on steroids. I went from being a working entrepreneur, single mom of 2 in addition to NOW being a full time teacher, short order cook, therapist, personal trainer and everything else that I know I am forgetting to list (just like many of you). Within days, my pillars of strength were cracking. I didn’t have time for a lot and the time I did have my emotional capacity was reaching its maximum.
I am all too familiar with the red flags that signal anxiety and depression. Two years ago, I was clinically diagnosed with both in addition to PTSD. The amount of positive work and progress that I have made in the last two years couldn’t afford to be compromised just to keep up with rules and other's expectations. I gracefully and voluntarily bowed out of my own race because everything that was depending on me was depending on my mental ability to be present, clear and strong. So, I did exactly what I said I was never going to do again in my business. I became inconsistent. If you have ever run a business, you know that inconsistency will break whatever traction you think you are gaining. However, the tangled mental web that can come with creating and running a business/brand can’t afford to be led by someone who can’t work towards maintaining positive mental health.
If you pay close enough attention during trying times (such as these), you will find small blessings that often add up to big ones. For me, these blessings are all based in gratitude. I am able to recognize my triggers and act accordingly. The pandemic has created a land of opportunity for me to explore my own thoughts and speak them aloud. I’ve been able to be a student in my craft in the forms of workshops and webinars alike. Keeping my kids healthy and safe is not only my responsibility, but it is my grateful reality despite what is going on. The opportunity to be a kid again while playing childlike games with my kids has been the highlight of my heart. These moments will never be recreated again in this exact moment or time. So, yes. I broke the rules.
The beautiful thing about it all is that I don’t feel any less worthy or capable of having and growing my brand and business. This is the “aha” moment that shows the progress of my ability to read my own emotional meter. Furthermore, this allows me to be candid and be a sounding board or example for other moms whose loads are heavy. I am genuinely interested and take stake in the next mom’s mental awareness. It is not easy to grin and bear it, but knowing you don’t have to can provide the ease that is necessary. Just because you slow down doesn’t mean that you have to stop. It simply means that you slowed down. It's absolutely possible to keep going at a slower pace. The last month has allowed me to be okay with that. Asking myself these 4 questions daily has played a part in keeping my mental in check and helped me arrive at being okay:
- How do I really feel today? The ability to answer this question honestly will make the biggest difference in your mental maintenance success. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself the truth. For me, the response to this question is given to an audience of two--me and my Creator. There is no judgement. Please know that you don’t always have to be “okay”. Being frustrated, angry, confused, sad or even mad are all valid emotions that you shouldn’t feel ashamed to feel. Once you know how you feel, you can work towards correcting or enhancing those feelings.
- Do I really have to do this/that today? For real, do you? As women and moms, we have a tendency to place overwhelming expectations on ourselves. No one necessarily makes us. We are in the middle of a pandemic, you have permission to evaluate and reevaluate what needs to be done in your own world.
- If it didn’t happen today, would I be okay? I’m willing to bet you will be okay regardless. I would bet this because we are resilient beings and that is our superpower. Own it! At times we just think that our cape has to fly at level 100 when it will serve just as effectively on level 10.
- Did I make it through the day? If you read this question, the answer is automatically yes. Celebrate that victory and get ready to be just as awesome on the next day.
Grant yourself the grace that you give others. A lot is going on and there is so much to unpack with this situation. At some point, it will all level out and when it does your magic will be needed. Stay the course.