10 fempreneurs reveal their journey out of burnout and depression

Our life is full of surprises, and, unfortunately, some of them may add more stress into your life. When these seemingly insignificant events pile up, the results can be both burnout and depression. Even when the journey out of deep stress, burnout, and depression feels sometimes impossible, it is possible to leave them behind when you use various stress management tools. 

burnout

To show you that it is possible to beat stress, burnout, and depression, I contacted 10 fempreneurs who have been there, and after an amazing journey now have more joyful and happy lives. 

I asked three questions from them:

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

They were kind and shared their journey out of burnout and depression, and the stress management tools they use to maintain a positive mindset when their life is stressful.


Here are their amazing stories: 

In case you would like to avoid the excessive scrolling, you can jump to a specific fempreneur’s story by clicking her name.

From grief to new profession

Andrea A. Moore, Intuitive Grief Coach


1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

In 2010, I met grief. My only sister lost her battle to breast cancer. I did not understand grief or loss at all, but what I did know is that my sister is gone. I went into survival mode and suppressed my pain because that day, I lost my parents too. I was angry at God. Angry at the doctors. Angry at my sister for leaving me. And then boom! Depression hit, yet I smiled and hid the pain. Before I knew it, I lost my home, business, and sanity. I couldn’t take it anymore.

A year later, my mother-in-law died. That was when we had to make a decision and move away. It was time for me to grieve, and it was  the best decision I made. After we moved, I started a new business and worked like crazy. Before I knew it, I started to have frequent panic attacks, and that was when I realized it was time to hire help and actually grieve and rest.


2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

Once I had my panic attack, I realized 5 things:

  1. Being mentally healthy includes leaving toxic relationships
  2. Being spiritually healthy means listening to God and your inner voice.  Neither will steer you wrong
  3. It’s important to reach out and get help
  4. Taking  breaks and detoxing from social media gives you the space to process
  5. Understanding that every no is not personal, but it’s setting you up for your yes

In my grief recovery journey, I began to read a lot, and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson helped to put life into perspective. I also meditated, journaled, explored color therapy, and took walks.


3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

The first thing that I do is take 30 minutes in the morning for my peace time and 30 minutes at night for reflection time.

I also do activities throughout the day to support my mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing: I meditate, walk, speak with positivity, worry about what I think over what others think, follow the creator, and listen to my intuition. 

When stress arises, I stop my current task, grab some tea, and release, either by voice or writing.

It's either being controlled or having control 

Jamie Nichole, Success Coach

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I first started having severe anxiety/panic attacks when I was 20 and a freshman in college, shortly after the death of my grandfather. My grandfather was like a dad to me. We spoke almost every day, even when I was in college, and losing him was the first significant loss that I had ever experienced. After he passed away, my perfect bubble had burst, and I felt like I had lost control of the life I had planned. I started experiencing severe panic attacks and anxiety to the point that I couldn't eat. I was afraid to be alone or leave my house. I also lost 30 pounds in a month. 

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

One day, I decided that I no longer wanted to depend on medication. Although it was helpful, I didn't like the way it made me feel and felt like it was just masking the symptoms because, even though I didn't feel anxious of have panic attacks, I was still afraid to do the normal things that I used to enjoy doing. I spoke with my doctor and weaned off the medications.

I started focusing on being mindful of my triggers. When I knew I was going to be encountering something that would be a trigger, I would start practicing positive self-talk and controlling my breathing ahead of time. I would remind myself of the feelings that I may experience, so I would be prepared to handle them and I wouldn't panic.

Once I was able to get my panic attacks under control, I started pushing myself to do things  I was avoiding due to my anxiety, like go out alone and drive long distances. I prepared myself the same way. I knew I was going to be anxious and I knew my brain was going to try to try to tell me that I'm in a fight-or-flight situation, so it was my responsibility to control it and tell it otherwise. My faith also helped me a lot. I said a lot of prayers, and my faith of knowing that, although I am not in control, my God is and that His plan is the best plan and I can lean on Him when I am anxious and afraid.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I have been medication-free for 11 years. Since anxiety is not something that goes away, I still have times when it creeps up and  tries to slow me down. Fortunately, I am now able to recognize it, identify it, and push through it with positive self-talk and prayer. Another trigger for me is change. Last fall, we moved into a new home and that triggered a panic attack. Before that moment, I hadn't had a panic attack in almost 10 years. I was able to stop it before it paralyzed me, and I was able to go about my day like normal. It's all about controlling your mind/body and realizing that although it's powerful, you are even MORE powerful and you're in control!

When inspiration helps 

Angela Hall, techy Virtual Assistant

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I was a single mom to my daughter, who is now 25 and a single mom of 3. When my daughter was 12, I had gotten to a point where I was miserable in my life. I never wanted to go anywhere or be around other people. I just went to work and come home, barely functioning in my household tasks. I was depressed. I had a good job working at a federal prison. I made good money and had great benefits. In spite of all of that, I hated my job and hated my life.

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

I used inspirational quotes that I wrote on note cards, and I put them on my fridge, my mirror, and the dash of my car so I would see them all the time. One of my favorite quotes is: "I will be happy, content, and satisfied where I'm at on the way to where I am going," by Joyce Meyer. Having the quote cards helped remind me that it was up to me to find my happiness, and I didn't have to 'remember' because they were everywhere I looked.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I still use notes. It makes it easier to remember where I've been and how far I have come. It's evidence that things always get better.

Nobody is safe, not even a coach

Tanya MFK, Certified Business Consultant & Life Strategy Coach

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I burned out few months ago. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I lost all interest and desire to finish projects I was passionate about and ended up physically sick for 7 days. I began to doubt and question my business path and if I should walk away.

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

When I first realized I had hit burnout, I postponed everything on my calendar that wasn’t urgent or client required. I called my coach to set up an appointment and blocked out chunks of thinking time for my next week. My coach brought the point to my attention that ignoring myself and my family to bring my business to a place of success was the very thing that was now threatening to bring my business to failure. I even contemplated walking away.

The truth is our health is our business wealth. Self-care is a business decision, and despite knowing and having all the tools, I lost sight of that. Even with my great “a-ha” moment, the experience culminated in a full-blown sick week for 7 whole days. I had not been sick in 3 years, but my body had enough waiting for me to give it recovery.

So, after that tough week, I took a full week off, and I postponed all my projects and appointments to mentally recover. I reassessed my goals, uncovered my “why,” and defined who I want to be, the life I want to live, and wrote out my real plan. I put my daily plan and tracking back in place to have accountability for my goals. Slowly but surely, I was back on track, feeling good, and whole and happy about my life and my business.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I have declared a new set of non-negotiables. I MUST do my morning routines. That is the foundation of my physical and mental health, and I learned the hard way what happens when I skip that. Every morning I wake up two hours before my family to take care of me. Not to do work, but to meditate, journal, exercise, visualize, or engage in something I love (in my case learning a new language). This is my priority, and everything else I need to do must fit around this goal. Without this, I am no good for anyone else. It’s easy to underestimate or overestimate how well you’ve been doing, so I have created a special tracking calendar to stay accountable with how well I am sticking to the routines that are best for me.

In addition to that, I have a strong evening routine, that officially closes out my workday to put a mental end to my work and disconnect, so I can be fully present with my family. I do a practice that shifts my perspective of the day, and makes my next day’s goals clear.

By creating a strong foundation, my well of resilience is full to gracefully handle and bounce back from any stress life sends my way. It’s not about avoiding it; it’s about how we handle and process it.

Changing the lifestyle to survive

Caryl Mix, Speaker and Accountability Coach

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I had stress and burnout several times throughout my adult life.  I have been an entrepreneur for over 21 years and am a mother of three children.  Both of these roles can be stressful. When my stress and burnout was at its worst, I lost sight of who I was, what I needed, and my physical and mental health, all because I was doing all things for everyone except myself. My body was so physically depleted that  I almost needed a full blood transfusion because I was suffering with anemia.

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

After receiving 26 iron infusions to regain my health, I began to see that I needed to take time to take care of me first….physically and emotionally. It influenced my life tremendously as I began to realize that if I didn’t reconnect to my life, passion, and interests, then I couldn’t fully serve my family or clients or myself.  It also had me change my lifestyle and scope of work.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I make self-care a priority. I’ve created interests that are just for me. exercise, take space for myself to rest my mind and body, and use thought work to shift my thinking.

The need of feeling accomplished

Vena Kalukiewicz, Personal Fitness Trainer

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I had my first baby in July 2012. I was branch director of a financial company, and I was planning to go back to work just after maternity leave. While I was pregnant, my husband got a job offer for a job in California. A big thing we decided to do was move out of Poland. Suddenly, I was alone for 10 hours with a two-month-old baby without friends or family. From a businesswoman to stay-at-home mom. It was hard. My son was very demanding. He cried the moment I needed to put him down, and I was exhausted. 

In 2013, I give birth to my second son. Life was great. I had time to work out and have a hobby. The boys were amazing, and I was happy. I've always wanted to have 3 kids close together, and it was important to me to stay fit and keep off baby weight between pregnancies.

After a difficult and high-risk pregnancy, my last baby, a daughter, arrived in 2016. Everything was hard. I had postpartum and preeclampsia, and I couldn't recover as quickly as before. I couldn't lose the pregnancy weight, and I cried because I didn't feel like a good mother. I was always tired, but I thought it was normal when you have small kids. On top of it, I was eating less and working out more, but instead of losing the baby weight, I was putting more pounds.

In the summer of 2017, I got my first panic attack. I couldn't take the kids to the store and buy food for them. I realized that everything I felt wasn’t not normal at all. I went to my primary care doctor and described all the symptoms I’ve been experiencing. He caught that I had migraines and dizziness too often, as well as  a condition called galactorrhea (which is an abnormal milky discharge unrelated to milk produced by breastfeeding). After a series of tests, it turned out that I had a pituitary gland tumor. It was benign, but it caused many health problems, like difficulty with weight management and chronic migraines. 

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

I started a journal to understand my deep, true WHY (why am I sad, way I want to treat myself with chocolate). For the first couple of months, these notes didn't make any sense for me, but then I started to see a pattern. I understood that food didn’t make me happy and that the moment I was  finished eating, I felt that I had failed. But until I let myself be a mess and stop punishing myself for not being perfect, I couldn't start the process of healing. A big part of healing was finding my way to stay active and find the best eating style that helped me with hormone imbalance.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I've learned that to feel good, I need to set up 3 goals for each day. Motherhood is repetitive: wiping noses, cooking, laundry, more cooking, putting kids to sleep... I need to feel that I've accomplished something, and my small list  gives me this. I’ve accepted that I will have good and bad days.

I’ve learned that it's okay to eat chocolate, but to eat mindfully. I’ve learned it's okay to yell at the kids when I’m nervous, and I'm still a good mother. At the end of the day, I like to think about why this day was good. 

Socialising can be the key

Ashley DeLuca, Author, Speaker

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

My husband lost his job, and I was given the responsibility of all the finances. I had to let go 75% of my team, which meant an increased workload, but it came with more stress because I was having to juggle my business, our child, two dogs, AND house. I felt so unhappy and hated every minute of my life. It was so hard to try to stay on top of my workload (personal and business), and I was just over it. All I wanted was to lay in bed and sleep...but I knew I had to power through the tears to keep afloat. 

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

It has been a long process. Two things that have helped the most has been journaling and friends. My friends kept me afloat, gave me accountability, and reminded me of the Ashley I wanted to become. Journaling was a great way to get my feelings out and being able to see where I was really struggling to get to the root of the problem.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I keep in contact with my friends often and really focus on journaling when I feel stressed. It is always about taking it one step at a time and really focusing on what matters most right now. It's a constant struggle, but I can only do one thing at a time. 

Importance of taking care of yourself

Paulien Pierik, Business Coach for Online Entrepreneurs

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

A few years ago, I lost my business and my life savings because of that. At the same time, my son got hospitalised six times in one year. I felt super stressed and depressed. When we decided to quit the business, I thought I’d take two weeks off. Those two weeks became nine months because I soon found out I felt totally burnt out. I had been under stress for many years before, but I had been able to “stay on my feet.” This time, I wasn’t able to work, and managing my family was tough. Making dinner felt like running a marathon. I just sat on the couch and watched Netflix for a few months in a row.

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

I started to work out and pay close attention to my health, exercise, and mindfulness. I went outside every day. I really thought about what I wanted to do with my life and decided to change careers because what I was doing was putting too much stress on me. I did not use a specific tool but more of an overall approach of looking at what stressed me out, learning to take more rest, and taking better care of myself.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

This is really hard for me, to be honest. I lost a lot of weight when I was at home, and I got really fit. But then I started a new business, and I gained a lot of it back and fell into the old trap of not working out. What I have changed is that I take more breaks during the day, I go out for walks, I connect with my body and feelings , I work in my garden when I feel stressed, and I journal. 

When the job is wrong for you

Melissa Ricker, Funnel and Business Strategist

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I left my 6-figure job to be home with my babies (I was working 12-hour+ days, and someone else was raising my kids). I struggled for two years to make money online. Finally (after 17 different biz ideas), I hired a high-ticket coach and developed my own high-ticket program. It sold out. I was hitting my income goals, but it was LIFE-CONSUMING. I suffered major burnout from the private coaching and considered going back to the corporate job. I was working more than I had been in my full-time job.

The entire reason I had left my corporate career was to spend more time with my babies. I loved my clients, but I dreaded the amount of work I had to put in to make them successful. I was getting hung up in their successes so much that I was even doing some of the work for them. I was always on my phone. I found myself turning on the TV for my kids so that I could answer emails. 

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

I finally decided to switch up my entire business model. It was super scary giving up my clients and the entire business I had built that finally worked—plus, all of the investment into the biz coach—but I finally decided that the cost was too high. I switched to a multiple-income stream business model that incorporated a lot more automation and a business model where I served many instead of 1:1.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

It’s still hard sometimes. But I know that I need to get up and get away from my computer several times a day when my stress levels increase. And I just put my phone away now after work hours are over. Boundaries are key, as well as being self-aware enough to recognize the symptoms of burnout stress and get in front of them. It takes a lot of willpower. 

Driven by the need to be the best

Carol Miltersteiner, Writer & Founder

 

1. Please tell us about your deep stress, depression, and/or burnout.

I had my first burnout between 2014-2015, and the second in 2018.
I was a managing part of the operation in a digital marketing company in Brazil that was growing rapidly at the time, and I was throwing myself entirely into work. 

I was overworking, taking a lot more responsibility than humanly possible—traveling constantly to engage with prospects, customers, and team members—and I had less and less time to rest, decompress, or to even think about what I was doing and why I was doing it. 

I had a sequence of infections, anxiety, panic attacks, and a chronic chest pain that took months for me to realise because I was so disconnected from my body.

These burnouts changed absolutely everything in my life, and I learned a lot of lessons from them that I still apply in my life and business. They led me to learn a lot about myself (why I do what I do, my values, and my needs), and I respect my boundaries a lot more. I’m more comfortable being myself with all the complexity that involves. 

 

2. How did you get out of deep stress, burnout, and depression?

I have a sense that both depression and burnout are things that, once they happen to you, you'll be in a state of either recovery or prevention for pretty much the rest of your life. For me, this work involves therapy, writing, music (I have playlists for every possible mood!), and self-awareness. Knowing when I can keep going, when I need to stop, and making sure I'm getting enough sleep are important. Building relationships with people I really trust and that respect my boundaries. Seeing others as community and not competition (specially with work!). Engaging in walking, some yoga and mindfulness meditation. Understanding and loving who I am, remaining connected to my values are daily practices.

Also, because of my personal and family history with mental illness, I need to take medication for anxiety and depression and I have a psychiatrist responsible for managing that.

 

3. How do you maintain your positive mindset these days when your life is stressful?

I think it's all a matter of balancing things. I don't believe in static, impeccable balance, but I believe in dynamic, imperfect balancing. Today, I chose to sit inside by myself, write a bit, watch a movie, and read.  I also try to keep a steady routine in terms of waking up and sleeping around the same time, and organising my schedule makes me feel safe and in control. Music also gives me energy in a way that nothing else can. 


Thank you for reaching the end of these amazing stories. I'm so grateful to these ten fempreneurs, who shared their personal success stories. 

I really hope you'll find inspiration to come from your stress, depression, or burnout. This round-up blog post has listed several easy stress management tools you could use. 

Check out the Resource Library for FREE printout!

best resource library for FEmpreneurs

To gain access to the free library subscribe to our newsletter to get your password and receive regular updates and tips about stress management.

And if you need even more you can book a free discovery call with me!


​Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

Other articles on this subject:

Posted in Stress Management and tagged , , , , .