By Dawnell Kelly
Do you ever feel anxious when things are going well? You may feel like you’re forgetting something even after everything is finished or you keep looking ahead for the next thing to worry about.
It’s common for women entrepreneurs to always strive for more—sometimes neglecting personal self care along the way.
While this drive pushes us further than most, if left unchecked it can significantly impact our mental health.
So let me ask you a few more questions to make sure we’re on the same page.
Do you have a system in place to start and end your workday—or do you dive right in?
Do you feel accomplished at the end of the week-to the point where you’re able to enjoy your personal time and practice self care without thinking about your business?
If not, you may be suffering from background anxiety.
Unlike being anxious or stressed about something specific, background anxiety is more sinister because we build up a tolerance to it.
We don’t notice it until something little goes wrong and we feel this close to snapping.
On paper that one little thing is no big deal, but all that pent up stress is weighing us down.
Background anxiety can take a toll on your mental health, to say the least.
Most women have trouble celebrating their WINS or successes for more than a few minutes.
They immediately jump to, “Okay, but what’s next?”
This is background anxiety. You can never quite relax, never stop thinking—even when you’ve left your desk for the day.
While there are a lot of mindfulness practices you can use to reduce stress, I want to share something so simple you can do it today.
First, when you accomplish something you’ve been working toward, tell your supportive network immediately.
You can start right now and let them know you’ll be doing this moving forward so they can hold you accountable. You’ll also encourage them to do the same in the process.
Then, not only will they celebrate with you, they’ll stop you from brushing your accomplishments to the side-almost forcing you to be proud of yourself in the process.
Leaning on a supportive network in a time of celebration may be a novel concept, but it works all the same.
Next, create a start/stop work ritual for yourself. For example, when you sit down to work for the day, light a candle, put on some ambient music and turn off your notifications. This puts your brain in “work mode”.
You can take it a step further and use the Pomodoro method. Once you have your list of tasks for the week, set a timer for 25 minutes.
Only work on the first task with no distractions. When the timer is up, take 5 minutes where you can check for messages, grab more coffee or take a moment to step outside.
Then—you guessed it—do this again repeatedly until all your tasks are done.
Now, let’s say you need to do something else. Maybe you have messages that pop up and need to be addressed. Then set the timer for 25 minutes to address your messages.
Once you’re done, come back to the task at hand. Since you prioritized your most pressing tasks, you wont get distracted down the rabbit hole of social media or something similar.
Sounds simple, right?
That’s because it is simple. Over time, you will train your brain to be more productive and focused.
When you’re done for the day, complete the “stop” part of your ritual. Turn off the music, blow out your candle and switch to “personal mode”.
If our smart phones can do it, so can we.
Practicing your work ritual and using the Pomodoro method is easy and makes a huge difference in your mindset, productivity and mental health almost immediately.
At the end of the entrepreneurial day our mental health is everything. Sure, we can hustle until we burn out, regroup and repeat, but there's a better way.
Structuring your life with more personal and professional boundaries actually makes you more productive. This leads to getting more done—and of a higher quality, in less time.
Not only that, but you’re able to truly relax when you’re in “personal mode” because you know you produced your best work that day and you’ve used up all your professional energy in the best way possible.
Now take a moment and celebrate that you took the time to read this article.
Now take another moment and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far. There is plenty of time to reach your goals, but right now this moment is for you.