Authenticity Saves Lives

Young woman in stress

In my last article, I spoke of the great power that each of us has to change the world through nonprofit service work.

Today I’m shifting gears a bit and talking about our ability to cope as women and entrepreneurs and being authentic and brave enough to speak up when we need help.

Last week, Facebook announced a massive addition to their platform that assists in suicide prevention.  As quoted by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer (and my hero), Suicide rates in America are at the highest levels in almost 30 years. Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death for young people and rates are also rising among women and middle-aged adults. Today we’re offering more resources to try to prevent suicide. People come to Facebook to connect with friends and family – and we want to make sure we do all we can to connect people in distress with those who can help them… As a society, we should strengthen the safety net for those who are most at risk: investing more in mental health care and support. As individuals, we can be alert for the signs in ourselves and in others and act immediately. Together, we can be there for people in distress.”

I am pleased to see the progress being made to help those who are struggling to work through mental health battles. I have my own set of mental health struggles, which I wrote about last yearto offer an authentic voice of support for those who might fear speaking up about their own imperfections.  

However, my story is one that stems from personal pressure and health struggles in my early adult years. Sadly, we are seeing an ever-increased suicide rate among entrepreneurs because of the immense stress and isolation that comes with business ownership, crazy amounts of pressure, and just plain inability to focus on health and wellness.  

What are you doing to ensure that you are taking care of yourself, for reals, as the girl boss with needs of her own? Here are a few tips:

Delegate

Lots of people think that working in your pajamas and setting your own schedule is the glamorous life, but it also means that you do it all, every hour, of every day.  We can only deal with so many issues in a day before we go completely crazy.  

Focus on your strengths, the high-priority items. Learn to delegate the other stuff so you can go to Disneyland with your family and not spend the entire vacation on your phone or laptop. The best business owners know when they can’t take on any more and hand it over to someone who can do it better and more efficiently.  

The best budget dollars you’ll ever spend are those that allow you to take a vacation or attend your children’s Christmas program, while your business keeps moving and thriving.  

Unplug Regularly & Consistently

I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at unplugging from technology.  

However, it is so important for our mental health and well-being. Our brains get overstimulated with the beeping, tweeting, emailing, and texting. Before we know it we are unclear on whether it’s Tuesday or Sunday and if the crock pot full of dinner is actually cooking or rotting.

Have you been there? I have — and I’m single! Add more humans and responsibilities to that equation and it can get dicey fast.  

Unplug and be still.

Your authenticity is in practice when you use your words to tell your staff and contacts that you are unplugging and then follow through.  Don’t play the “I’m ignoring you” games that are common among teens and silly college girls; be honest and set those boundaries.  

Exercise & Meditate

Again, I feel like this article is quickly turning into a true confessions piece, but if my imperfection helps you recognize yours, then I’ll roll with it.

When it comes to exercise and meditation, I know it works because I’ve experienced it, but it is on my list of “when I have time.” It might also be on the “If only they had this class at the local gym” list, but I’ll never openly admit to that in print.  

Either way, we have to make time for movement. Endorphins feed our brains with positivity, and we need that as female entrepreneurs. As I’ve said before, I live and die by Outlook and if you do too, make the gym an important appointment TODAY!  

Set a recurring event to spend at least 10 minutes a day to walk away from your desk and move.  Sweat out that stress, rock out to your favorite jams, and forget about the budget that doesn’t balance or the project proposal that can’t seem to come together. It will still be there after your break, but you will be happier and calmer when you deal with it.  

Schedule Regular Girls’ Nights Out and Don’t Talk About Work

Women need women for connection and chat time.

Do your hair, put on that red lipstick, the sexy dress that is gathering dust in the corner, and get crazy!  Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more about all the stuff you think you’re too stressed to talk about during the work day and have fun! Grab an Uber and don’t even worry about driving! You work hard and you need those times to bust out your chick moves and have a cheat-on-your-diet eat (and drink) night.  

Maybe a girls’ night out doesn’t work with your schedule. Schedule a brunch and pedicure excursion. Treat yourself to the relaxation and happiness that comes with being with your best gal pals while conveniently not talking about work.  

In a great article published in Forbes Magazine, Amy Morin said, Emotional difficulties aren’t a sign of weakness. It’s just a fact that the entrepreneurial lifestyle often lends itself to reduced resilience against mental health issues. Take a proactive approach to preventing emotional problems when you can, and if you’re already noticing the psychological toll of business ownership – seek professional help before it gets worse”  This is sound advice and I hope that with my tips, along with other resources you have, that you can conquer your imperfections and struggles as a girl boss.  

The moral of the story:

Girl power is only as powerful as the girl who has it, and if you’re in a rut of no return, pause, take a moment to breathe, and let the work sit while you nurture the one who matters the most: yourself.   

Until next time, my lovelies!

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