According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.” This is an important statistic and shows that mental illness is a pervasive issue in our society. Add that to the stress of running a business, and it’s no wonder that many business owners have this quiet struggle.

After I had my children in 2014, I experienced severe postpartum depression and lack of energy. My business suffered, and I suffered, but it took a long time for me to admit it and get help. Since then, I’ve been an advocate for people who run businesses and experience mental health issues. After all, it’s not like self-employed people can take paid time off to go see a doctor. It’s a struggle balancing everything, getting the help you need, and keeping your business afloat all at the same time.

After I wrote about my struggle with depression, I received emails from a number of different readers thanking me for being honest. Many of them were self employed and had experienced similar bouts of depression that made it difficult for them to work.

Here is some advice if you are one of the many entrepreneurs who is quietly struggling with mental health issues.

Get a Full Physical

You should get a full physical once a year complete with blood work and a lengthy meeting with your primary care doctor. This is the time to speak with them about what’s going on in your life. When I got blood work, I found out I had a major B12 deficiency which can contribute to lethargy. Once I started taking B12 every day, I started to feel much, much better.

Find Your Tribe

Every entrepreneur should be a part of a mastermind group that meets regularly to talk about their businesses and hopes for the future. Your mastermind group will help to uplift you when you’re down and encourage you when you have new ideas. It’s important to speak with your mastermind group when you’re trying to overcome boredom or exhaustion with your work. They are the people who can remind you why you do what you do.

Take Time Off

It’s hard to take time off when you run your own business. After all, if you don’t work, who will? However, sometimes taking time off is exactly what you need to feel refreshed and refocused. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Just a weekend getaway, visiting a few cultural sites, or even taking the time to see a movie can be the perfect way to unwind and relax enough to feel excited to get back to work the next day.

Ultimately, if you’re experiencing mental health issues like anxiety or depression, especially when it comes to your business, please get the help you need sooner rather than later. You’ll feel so much better once you speak to a physician and your tribe, who can help you take the valuable steps you need to get back on the right track.


Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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