We asked Sea Magik founder, Kate, to tell us her story of how she managed, and dealt with her anxiety.
"With Mental Health Awareness Week upon us, I believe it is important to be able to share my own mental health and wellness journey and the (inevitable) highs and lows of balancing the pressure of being a woman in business and having a happy family life...all whilst attempting to maintain good mental and emotional health!
It's been a rocky road.
My first intense bout of anxiety was when I was in my late 30s.
I had been working hard to build our Sea Magik family business and hit the dreaded point of complete burnout.
I knew it was coming as I had been anxious for many months...and on and off for many years prior.
I'd neglected my own self-care in favour of long hours and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to 'succeed'.
This approach was a complete contradiction to my values of being kind, mindful and putting my health first - I was good at advocating this for others, but when it came to myself, at that point in my life self-care was very low on my agenda.
As I had anticipated, this led to what I describe as a 'melt down' - alongside the constant feeling of dread, I experienced heart palpitations, butterflies in my tummy, blurred visions, pins and needles and a whole host of other symptoms.
But the worst part was my negative self-talk, blaming myself for everything; over-working, under-working, not living by my values...the list went on. Ultimately, I felt that I was not good enough at anything.
I did eventually go and see my GP, who prescribed me some medication for anxiety. I took this for a few weeks but decided that it wasn't right for me (although I know medication has been life-changing for close friends, so am I not at all anti seeking medication for mental health issues).
This rock bottom is what kick-started my self-care journey and I've never looked back.
I still struggle with an occasionally mean inner critic, but I'm much better at combatting this, with kindness and positivity, acts of self-care, that help me to feel happy and calm most of the time now.
I’m still prone to stress and occasionally feeling overwhelmed. But, for now, my regular self-care routine is helping me avoid full-on burnout. That is life-changing for me, and I’m truly grateful that I am no longer suffering.
Anxiety is a very personal journey, but the things that helped me most were:
- Yoga. My ultimate go to for physical and emotional strength. I fell in love with it, and I’m now a trained yoga teacher. But even going out for a walk and getting some fresh air really helps too.
- Reading self-development and spiritual books. See my list below.
- Positive self-talk. I’m easier on myself now (although there is still ongoing work needed here!)
- Therapy. I discovered I really needed someone neutral to talk things through with and found great solace in talking to a therapist. You can get great therapy for free on the NHS and virtual sessions on websites such as Better Health.
- Boundaries. I learnt I needed to say no more and put boundaries in so I didn't take on more than I could cope with. This is the same for work, family life and friendships.
I hope that by sharing some of my story, you may also feel able to share yours too.
If you think you're suffering with anxiety, I encourage you to speak to someone you trust, maybe your GP or even a therapist.
I do believe in the adage 'a problem shared is a problem halved' - maybe not initially, but in the end, being open and true to yourself pays off.
Kate's Book List
Anxiety: Panicking about Panic - Joshua Fletcher. This book helped me understand anxiety and made me feel less crazy!
The Surrender Experiment - Michael Singer. Helped me with acceptance and letting go of control.
Radical Acceptance - Tara Brach. Helped me combat negative self-talk.