Every single creative entrepreneur has grappled with some experience with anxiety; it’s the inevitable byproduct of living a path that is a) uncertain and b) unpredictable. Entrepreneurship is vulnerable, and when you add artistic craft and creativity on top of that, it can be uncomfortable putting yourself out there and riding the waves of entrepreneurship. Practicing self care when anxiety hits is essential.
Add on top of that the potential of having pre-existing anxiety or depression on top of that, like myself, who’s dealt with chronic anxiety for over 20 years. I say this to encourage you – that you can run a business on your own terms that honour your needs, that feels good, and that is still abundant.
Here are 5 ways you can practice self-care when anxiety hits in life + business.
Take the time to really allow yourself to pay attention to your breath. The power of breathwork is truly outstanding, and it can heal the preliminary anxiety incredibly well.
One of the simplest breathing techniques is to do box breathing if intentional breathwork is new to you. Imagine a box in your mind, beginning at the bottom left corner and inhale as you imagine travelling up the left side of the box. When you reach the corner, hold your breath as you image yourself travelling along the top edge of the box. When you approach the top right corner, exhale until you reach the box’s bottom right corner. Hold your breath as you approach the starting point of the box again. Repeat at least 3 times.
If you’re more advanced and want to try your hand at deeper breathwork techniques, you can try Kundalini techniques, including the Breath of Fire.
Here are a few of my favourite breathwork videos:
When we’re caught in a spiral of thoughts, it can be overwhelming to know even where to begin. It’s hard to really get to the point of meditation to even work through them when you’re a business owner, and there are many real and necessary tasks in your mind. That’s why I say take a nice big blank sheet of paper and freely write out everything currently on your mind.
After you do so, begin to circle or highlight the tasks that go together naturally—for example, household tasks, social media marketing tasks, or client work. From here, schedule out a few time blocks throughout your week ahead to tackle each group one-by-one.
This allows you to make the plan you need to, get what’s in your mind out onto paper so that you can truly begin to unwind and heal through the feelings of anxiety.
Being able to quiet your mind and know that you are being cared for is one of the ultimate acts of surrender and one of the simplest pathways through anxiety. Surrender doesn’t come easy to the entrepreneurial spirit! But as a creative entrepreneur, there come times when you’ll need to simply hold your hands up and recognize you’ve done everything you can in this particular situation. It’s now time to surrender the rest to the universe.
There is no doubt that surrender is difficult, but it’s a practice – with repetition comes ease. It’s also a continual process of surrendering time and again.
Meditation is one of the clearest pathways there, and it allows you to get closer to the guidance within you and greater guidance beyond you than you can even imagine.
My favourite meditation resources:
This is powerful – and the beautiful part is that the more you turn to gratitude, the more intuitive you will become with this. Whenever you catch yourself spiralling into self-doubt, anxiety, competition or stress, begin listing all the things you’re grateful for in your life (ideally right on pen and paper). Think of EVERYTHING. Not just the monumental things. Not just the obvious things. The specific and little things too. The little celebrations, the little moments.
Every day I thank the universe for the blessings in my life, and there are always the core things I think of right away: my amazing partner, family, clients, business. But every day, I dig deeper and think of the little things. The grocery clerk who went out of their way to help me in the store. The special baked good that I made for myself as a treat. The little things.
I made this a diligent practice, and I can tell you that every single day I think of more things that I’m grateful for. The same will be true for you. There are so many blessings when we just open our awareness up to them.
Getting into your creative zone of genius, or just allowing your inner child to play, is one of the most healing ways to work through anxiety.
I know and speak about this from experience. I created this free booklet of Mindful Creative colouring pages straight from my heart to yours. I drew them by hand, through periods where I myself needed to work through anxiety or stress. They’re now ready and available for you to colour and create with them as you’d like to!
Be sure to share your creations with me and tag me on Instagram @laurenosselton_creative
As a multi-passionate creative who’s lived + thrived through 20+ years of chronic anxiety, I love to help fellow creatives identify the magic already within them. I can help you with feelings of comparison, imposter syndrome, scarcity, shame, and other blocks that are standing between you and thriving in your creative business. I’m here to show you that there’s no one way of doing things… just your way.