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  • Writer's pictureBehind Her Brand

Building Through Anxiety: One Woman’s Journey 

Updated: Jun 4

Written By: Shannon Martin

Most people struggle daily with managing anxiety. It becomes more difficult if you own and operate a business. Anxiety almost stopped me from pursuing my dreams. I was hesitant to continue my business after a major panic attack, so I decided to take a break from everything entrepreneurial and settled into being a stay-at-home wife and mother. Even though I was content at home, I wanted to make something special. Not only for myself, but for others as well. I was talking to God and asking myself, "What am I afraid of?" I was terrified of having another mental breakdown and failing to fulfill my promise to my customers. I was concerned about achieving success and wondered if I was capable of performing simple tasks. Would it be possible for me to get out of bed? Would I be able to plan clearly? Would I have the motivation or energy to pack and ship boxes?

I was convinced that I lacked the necessary qualities for success. I always read about successful people and the characteristics that contributed to their success and didn’t possess the majority of the qualities that experts believed were needed. I didn't rise at 4:30 a.m. to exercise or work before the sun came up for instance.

On most restless days, I can’t fall asleep until 4:30 a.m.! How would that fit into the equation of success? It made me choose between quitting and creating my path toward success, and I chose the latter! Here is the 5 -step method I created for myself to reduce anxiety while in business:

1. Insomnia/sleep apnea! I have a peculiar sleep pattern that I've learned to accept. I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to become a day person. Sleep apnea and insomnia are two of my challenges. After a restful night's sleep and feeling refreshed, I can plan and prepare at least one month's worth of tasks. After planning, I schedule my responsibilities.

2. Mental fog! I have difficulty focusing. Therefore, I plan the month a week at a time. This lessens the sense of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. When I'm agitated, I frequently pause or stop entirely. I find that breaking up my work into manageable pieces helps me to process it better.

3. Overthinking! My mind is a never-ending hamster wheel. To remain focused and clear, I routinely empty my thoughts by taking  3 mini-breaks or meditation breaks during the day. These brief pauses keep me grounded. During my breaks, I either journal or meditate/pray. These methods have helped me to regain my focus so that I can complete the rest of my day.

4. Get Moving! My body suffered since I was inactive for eight years while experiencing anxiety and depression. Aches, pains, and muscle spasms are things I am prone to. To manage my business, I need to be able to move around. I joined my local gym and took movement and stretching classes such as Zumba and Yoga. Driving to the gym forces me to step outside of my comfort zone and become more active!

5. Ask for Help! I used to be afraid to ask for help but was determined to connect with amazing people who have helped to accelerate my learning and professional development. I never dreamed it was feasible because of the costs involved but I created a budget for myself based on the areas I needed to improve. I now have a mentor, business coaches, and I intend to hire an intern this Fall. What amazes me, is how simple an ask can be, and how willing people are to help you pursue your dreams.

These few measures above help me stay focused. They aren't drastic and they did not happen overnight, but I decided to tackle my dream one day at a time. Trying too many new things at once may result in another mental or physical breakdown. Your mind, body, and spirit are still healing, and one stressful day can set you back When a day becomes too difficult, it's okay to take some time away, pivot, regroup, and continue. Examine your emotional state as frequently as you do your business and keep an eye on how to manage your day-to-day life. Be mindful of burnout. Consider slowing down If you notice symptoms of chronic fatigue, mood swings, or digestive issues. Incorporate short breaks into your daily routine and keep a journal. You are on a lifelong healing journey, be kind to yourself and remember to take life one day at a time.

Shannon Martin

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