Self Help

9 Female Founders On Mental Health & The Self-Care Tips That Work For Them

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Christina Winkelmann

Jen Gotch, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ban.do, Photo Credit: Christina Winkelmann

The world is still reeling from the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, in the same week in June. While these two beloved icons were living with depression and despair, we are left with questions about why they chose to end their lives.

While Spade and Bourdain were unique in their talents and superhuman skills, the struggles they dealt with are likely felt by people we encounter daily: the entrepreneurs who are hustling hard and faced with everything from imposter syndrome and isolation, to the high stakes of founder life.

Licensed psychologist, Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, founder of The Practice, a community of girls and women coming together to heal, gain clarity, and stand in their own power, helps shed light on the anxiety-inducing life that comes with being an entrepreneur: “Recognizing that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle rather than a job is an important part of understanding the pros and cons. One of the most exciting, yet often detrimental parts of being an entrepreneur, is the obsession that comes with putting all you’ve got into an idea of your own. That obsession can be isolating and harmful in multiple ways. Many entrepreneurs work alone much of the time. It’s hard to connect with others in a meaningful way when hyper-focused on a singular vision and purpose. Also, time is scarce for entrepreneurs, so self-care suffers. And then financial insecurity often increases stress levels.”

I spoke with nine female entrepreneurs who shared their personal experiences with mental health, and what helps them overcome (and manage) the struggles.

1- Jen Gotch, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Ban.do, and host of the Girlboss Radio Network podcast, “Jen Gotch Is OK… Sometimes”

“What steps have I not taken to feel better?  Medication, meditation, talk therapy, EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), research, supplements, psychiatry, food therapy, exercise, diet, CBD, acupuncture, Reiki healing, remaining optimistic, becoming more self-aware, being kind to myself, building emotional intelligence. And I’m open to finding new ways to feel better every hour of every day.  It’s a big priority in my life.”

What do you want others to know?

“That it is okay to not feel okay! That it happens to everyone and on top of it all, business is so hard! Let yourself have bad days (and good days, obviously), and if the bad days get really bad and the good days are few and far between, ask for help.”

2- Belma McCaffrey, founder of the career platform, WorkBigger

“After I had my son, I went through burnout and probably suffered from postpartum issues. Since then, I actively started to focus on improving my mental health every day, by managing negative self talk (writing down when I’m comparing myself to others, for example). This allows me to name the emotion and get it down on paper. Opening up to friends also makes me feel better.”

What do you want others to know?

“My experience informed the WorkBigger mission, because without inner peace, doing work you love doesn’t get you very far.”

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