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Best of #LL 2019: Mental Health, Wellness & Burnout

From burning out in glamorous New York to bowing out of a sure thing to prioritise wellbeing, our 2019 Leading Ladies shine a light on their mental health challenges and approaches to self care.

Auburn Giants Founder Amna Karra Hassan on taking care of yourself so you can take care of others.

The other part is self preservation; I can’t make a difference if I’m burnt out, traumatised or totally dejected. If you’re going to be empowered to support others, you need to set boundaries for yourself and know where to draw a line in the sand.

Capi CEO Emma Evans on her self care routine. 

I think that I’ve become very good at self care. I’m very organised. My life from now until September has been planned in terms of acupuncture, massages, facials and physio. I just know how I operate. I start the day with yoga and meditation and walking my dog. If I don’t do that, I’m crazy. Nowadays I have the willpower to say ‘I’m working from home because I have to get this done and it’s important and I need space’. I have an office but it’s just different. I’ve learnt the hard way from crashing and burning. When I was in my early twenties I don’t think I knew how to handle stress at all and I just took the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was 24/7 – either working too much or thinking too much. Not being able to switch off. Now I’ve learnt how to say no and to take care of myself in order to take care of the business and everybody else. 

Matcha Maiden Co-Founder Sarah Holloway on experiencing burnout as an entrepreneur.

Burnout has been huge – we’re still so far from looking after ourselves how we’d like to. We’re perpetually tired. There’s no incentive to stop because we love our work, I don’t want to stop, we’re working on exciting projects. That’s been very difficult.

Humming Puppy Co-Founder Jackie Alexander on the mental strain that comes with expanding internationally.

internationally.In New York I was really burnt out, from opening a business on the opposite side of the world, and living in New York, it’s intense. When I came home my initial interactions for a long period were ‘how was New York, it must’ve been amazing?’. I wanted to say New York was fucking hard. I wasn’t having cocktails every night or going to shows, I was trying to keep my head above water. Afterwards I needed to take time out to decompress.

Net-a-Porter Co-Founder Megan Quinn on prioritising wellness over profit. 

Though I could have made a hell of a lot more money if I’d stayed, I’ve always chosen to protect my well-being and my children. It’s so much more important. Unfortunately I lost quite a bit of equity on my way out. People often ask me if regret my decision, but I have never lost any sleep over it. I’ve got my girls and we’ve made a beautiful life for ourselves. I was the first major shareholder to sell my shares in 2010. I thought enough! and I decided to draw a line.  I love quotes, but at the moment my favourite is an anecdote from Joseph Heller (the author of Catch-22). He was at a dinner party and a banker he was talking with pointed out another guest and said ‘see that guy over there? He’s made more money in the last 18 months than you have with all of your novels, how do you feel about that?’ Heller replied ‘I have something he’ll never have.’ and the banker asked ‘what is that?’ Heller said ‘I have enough.’


Want more? Read our #LL Best of 2019 blog on inspiration and drive.