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I'm Joelle, an international Wedding + Boudoir Photographer based in Bloomington, IN. I'm also an educator and podcaster!

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Education, Podcast

October 1, 2018

06: Befriending Your Anxiety

This just might be the most important episode I ever record for this podcast, because it is so very relatable to so many people. I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re listening to this podcast, you’ve experienced some form of anxiety before. I myself experience mild anxiety semi-regularly, and although it’s not always the case, a lot of times it can stem from being a business owner.

Statistics show that:

 

There are so many people who deal with anxiety, and it’s become very prevalent in entrepreneurs. According to Forbes, here are 7 Reasons why Entrepreneurs Are Particularly Vulnerable to Mental Health Challenges:

1. Stress (and lack of self-care to manage said stress)

 

2. Uncertainty.

  • Trying to book enough clients to reach your financial goals
  • Fighting the feeling of “measuring up”
  • Feeling like you have to prove to others that you are in fact, legit
  • Just to name a few

 

3. Social isolation

  • We have the tendency to feel like we have to do all of this on our own. Whether that’s because we don’t trust others to do the job well, or we’re afraid we won’t find support in others if we open up. We have developed a mentality where we can rely on ourselves and only ourselves. That’s gotta change!

 

4. (More) shame perpetuated through “impression management”

  • the idea that for optics we have to come across as “having it all together” and not show weakness.

 

5. Barriers to mental health resources

  • Lack of insurance, or insurance that doesn’t cover therapy

 

6. Predisposition to mental health challenges

 

7. Identity and self-worth become fused with our company

 

The extra hours put in as an entrepreneur are widely glorified. There’s a belief that the more you work, the better your business must be doing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most small-business owners work up to 50 hours a week — at least 16 hours more than the national average.

We are working our butts off trying to prove ourselves and as a result, we’re lacking balance.

Does any of that sound familiar?

 

As creatives we go through all kinds of highs and lows. There’s an entrepreneurial graph that you’ve probably seen before where at one point in the day you’re super motivated and excited about what you’re working on, and the next you’re completely unsure about yourself. And it just goes up and down. I’m sure a lot of you can relate with that, just like I can!

3 things I always remind myself of when I find myself in a slump.

  1. Am I putting out the work that I’m hoping to book more of?

If I’m hoping to book more weddings, am I showing quality wedding photos? Sometimes I’ll editing a recent wedding and I’ll need to remind myself that once I finish editing that gallery it will bring in more traffic. People know people; and if you do well, & treat others well, you’ll be treated well in turn.

  1. Am I still doing this because I love it? Or have I developed an alternative motivation?

If my eagerness has dwindled and shifted towards wanting to earn more money, then usually I’m not having as much fun. Which usually turns into booking less work. You see where this is going. When that happens, I think of what I’d really like to photograph and then make plans for it to happen. Sometimes you need to create a shoot for fun, or ask a friend to model for you. Find a way to let go of the worries and remember why you started in the first place, and it will make a difference.

  1. Have I asked God to take care of it yet?

This should really be the first question, but it can be easy to save it for last. It’s easy to forget that He can help our businesses grow too. We inevitably think we’re in control, but it’s okay to ask for help. And God’s always been someone I can count on.

A few things I’ve learned to help my anxiety:

20-minute rule

Practice Self-Care

  • Do your makeup & dress up!
  • Get your hair done or your nails done
  • Go work out (9round)
  • Write it out

 

Have a God-date

 

Shift Your Perspective

 

Educate Yourself

Every business owner has good and bad days. Don’t let the pretty feeds fool you. Whatever stage you’re at in your business, I know that you’re destined for great things. Just keep working on one thing at a time + trusting God along the way.

Liv Mercer, Professional Mental Health Counselor from Indiana University

  • Do you have anxiety? How do you deal with it?
  • When we think about the stigmas surrounding mental health, what does that look like and how can we approach it?
  • How to communicate our needs with other people – using 5 love languages
  • Can we talk about the proper language to use when talking about mental health?

 

Kaitlynn Quist asks:

“What are some ways to feel successful in each step and how can one stop comparing themselves to others’ successes?”

 

Anonymous:

How often should I take time for myself? When does it become too “selfish?”

 

Anonymous:

How do I keep my commitments and grow my business when I am having a bad day or multiple bad days in a week? Bad day being a day I am crying or having panic attacks and/or even just feeling extremely introverted and unable to participate in normal daily interactions in a healthy way.

 

  • If someone has mental health concerns, what steps would you suggest to them in seeking support?
  • On the flip side, how can those who don’t struggle as much with mental health concerns be more aware of those who do?

 

Are there any books you would recommend?

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