The last few weeks, I’ve been struggling really badly from overwhelm. My inner critic on overdrive telling me all the stuff I really don’t want to hear, doing it’s best to sabotage my progress.
Things have been the good kind of busy with Rock Rose Digital, and progressing really well with my new mental health tech start up. I’ve been working on some incredible projects, receiving amazing feedback, hosting successful workshops, meeting gorgeous people. I’ve barely worked outside of my “normal” hours and done well at keeping time for myself. I’ve even squeezed in my first yoga session this year.
But, my little inner demons weren’t content with that. They were telling me I’d forgotten something, that the plates I was spinning were all going to come crashing down around me. Despite going through all my diary and emails, triple checking, they still weren’t convinced I was on-top of everything.
Once these doubts started, they soon spiralled into berating myself for loads of other areas of my life. Giving myself a hard time for not drinking enough water, taking a shortcut on dinner, the hoovering not being done, forgetting to text my Nan back. I was giving myself such a hard time for no reason whatsoever.
As well as all of these doubts, I’ve also had a tsunami of ideas for my business - projects I want to work on, content I want to create, events I want to host. But no idea how to approach them, where to start and when I’d have the time to any. Which, added with all of the doubts and fears above, plus the guilt of needing to take time off for a mini-operation, was toxic.
It got to a point, the inside of my head was so loud I could barely hear anything to try and make sense of it. It was white noise. Deafening white noise and something had to give.
What erupted was a pretty hideous Saturday afternoon 2 weeks ago. My anxiety was spiky, my brain working 100 miles an hour and my frantic ramblings going even faster. I sobbed in Sainsbury’s when I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted (ironically, one about mindfulness). It was a perfect storm of doubt, guilt and mental exhaustion, all-consuming and it completely floored me.
Why am I sharing all of this?
Social media can make us look at other people’s lives and businesses through heavily rose-tinted glasses. Deep down, we all know that things aren’t as peachy wonderful behind the scenes for the folk we follow. Everyone’s human - we all have our own insecurities, struggles, crappy clients, and sticky personal lives. Trouble is, we let our emotions get in the way of this logic and feed ourselves the lies that everyone else has got it all together and thriving in every annoyingly perfect way possible. And doesn’t that make you feel worse!
As much as possible, I keep this in mind, not wanting to add to the smoke and mirrors online. Whilst I take time and care to coif a strong & consistent brand identity on my main grid, it’s in other parts of my content I tend to get a little more vulnerable and honest; like my captions, instagram stories or in blogs like this. (Remember that time I did my instagram story challenge poorly, unwashed and in my boyfriend’s t-shirt? Sorry about that!)
It’s in being open about my own battles, I want to give permission to others to do the same. In the world of business, we’re likely to have similar experiences to the people in our network. Being open is not only liberating, but allows us to connect with others on a deeper level and actually help each other. It’s so much healthier, for ourselves and others, to accept and acknowledge whats’ going on, instead of burying it pretending everything’s OK.
It can seem really lonely sometimes in business, with these rose-tinted social media glasses only making things worse. Truth is, we’re all going through some sort of funk. Personal life and business is messy, unpredictable and some-times really hard. It’s definitely not linear, easy or over-night perfection. Embrace the messy.
And whilst I’m not saying to lay EVERYTHING bare on social for all to see (believe it or not, I’ve held some stuff back!), try and think which bits could be relevant to your audience, tie them in to reflect your brand values and use them to fuel a more personal connection with your followers. It all helps build that trust and loyalty needed to grow a strong community, and you never know how it could help someone else.
Does this all sound familiar and you’re feeling you need some help? Here’s my 5 step method for over-coming my overwhelm
Get it out: I find journalling to be the most helpful tool, or in this kind of scenario I call it a ‘brain-dump’. Getting all of those ideas I had out so I don’t forget them. Getting all my insecurities and doubts out to try and make sense of them. Turning down the volume on all of that white noise totally consuming my mind
Get quiet: Even if I can’t do it “properly”, I find a good guided meditation or some ambient music to just sit and be for a while. Yes the white noise has been turned down, but this helps it stay down and puts me in a better mindset for trying to progress.
Get outside: Nature and fresh air helps everything. So I go for a walk, or even sit in my garden with a brew for a bit of time. No phone. No music. Just me and my thoughts. It’s amazing how quickly things start to slot into place and you wonder what the whirlwind of destruction and doubt was for.
Get creative: Now I’m in a happier more calm place, I want to create something lovely. As I’m not artistic I tend to opt for cooking or baking and doing it as mindfully as possible. Making a big nutritious meal or bake some yummy goodness, feeding my body with something that’s going to make me happy.
Get inspired: My final step is to absorb something that’s going to give me the kick up the bum I need. Generally I turn to a book by another female entrepreneur, an audio book or a TedTalk. Taking in some form of content that’s going to lift me up and give me my super powers back.
And if you’re ever struggling, please reach out. My emails, DM’s and WhatsApp are always open.