Today I'm Taking a Mental Health Day...
If you're human, you know that the stress of being an adult can simply feel like too much to handle at times. And that's how I felt this morning. It's also how I felt at 2am while going over numerous "to do's" and checklists in my mind as I tried falling back to sleep. So when 9am rolled around and my girlfriend and I were sitting on the couch eating breakfast, I mumbled the words "I don't think I'm going to work today." It's Monday.
Now, Olivia is always so supportive of me and knows I've been feeling it lately. So naturally she said something along the lines of 'okay, I think that's a good idea.' And that was that. Now tell me why I couldn't help but start to tear up. And if I'm being honest with myself, I think it's because I haven't truly rested in a long time. Even when I have days off, I feel guilty for not being productive, or I end up checking work on my phone, or I'm brainstorming new ideas to build the business. The stress feels never ending. And that's exhausting.
Now I can't help but wonder, how did I let it get to this point? And by it, I'm referring to my mental health. I'm self employed. Shouldn't I be able to take rest whenever I need it? Or at least schedule it in? I mean, that would be the most logical solution right? So why haven't I slowed down? Why don't we slow down?
I know there are scientific and economic reasons for why. But what's important right now, is that I focus on the feeling. And the word that comes to mind is urgency. Gosh, everything just feels so urgent these days. The need for me to grow this company feels urgent and relentless and a major priority. And as much as I worry about staying stagnant, what if I'm missing the important stuff? The stuff that the present is filled with.
The term 'burnout' has been thrown around a lot since the pandemic began. And the crazy thing is, is that when people spoke about it happening to them, I believed them. But I couldn't seem to acknowledge that it was possibly happening to me too.
I road a real high last year. Sales were booming, I won a pitch competition, I hired staff, launched a new product, and I completed the 9 month Rhyze program through Innovation Guelph. I hadn't quite felt the effects of inflation yet, I was thrilled to be working at public events again, and I could truly see my vision of Spoon In coming to light. It was thrilling and motivating, and the adrenaline had me working at this high speed without even realizing it. So where does that leave me now?
I love my job. I love this business and the community we've built. I love it so much that I never want to let it go. And maybe that's why I'm sharing all of this with you. You all see me working everyday, 99% of the time it's with a big smile on my face. So perhaps by being just a bit more vulnerable with you all, I can allow myself to be human too. To acknowledge that I'm stressed and tired just like I'm sure some of you are.
And if you need to find resolve at the end of this post, like I often do, just know that I'm feeling my way through it. And I'm grateful to have a place to share. It's too easy (and so difficult) to keep everything inside. As the face of a business I often feel like I have to show only the good parts. But that's not realistic, is it? In April I was able to attend the 'Building a Successful Diverse Business' program at the Tuck Executive School of Business. And while I was there, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting in on a leadership lecture taught by Dr. Ella L.J. Bell Smith. I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up during this lecture. Because Dr. Bell Smith embraced our human. She allowed me to acknowledge what makes being a first generation entrepreneur so difficult. How this incredibly unique and rewarding experience can be simultaneously isolating. And it took being in a room filled with 50 other students experiencing similar struggles, for me to realize that sometimes I have to slow down enough to feel these feelings.
This month is Mental Health Awareness month. We have to learn how to give ourselves and others grace, because you never know when someone really needs it. Thank you for giving me this space to share my own experiences; it has been therapeutic to say the least.
I'm going to list some mental health resources here if anyone wishes to explore:
Canadian Mental Health Association: https://cmhaww.ca
Halton Hills Mental Health Resources: Here
Mental Health Podcasts: Here
Mental Health IG Account: Here