A Surprising Stressor That Affects Women Entrepreneurs
After years of indecision, I was thrilled when I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life. In fact, I was so completely passionate about my newfound calling that I devoted every waking moment to it. I stayed in on the weekends to nurture my little business and slept less so I could write to the women I longed to help. I dreamed, blogged, created and adored every moment of it. I was in awe that something I loved doing could also be so helpful. It was a dream come true! But then my period decided to skip a cycle and I realized something was out of place.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my wellness coaching gig. But there's something we entrepreneurs all have in common, and it’s why hormonal disturbances are so rampant among us: We believe balance to be overrated.
We let ourselves become stressed, overwhelmed, and over-committed, all because this new kind of stress doesn’t feel so bad. It feels good to work on something that fuels us!
But when our periods become irregular, or even absent, our body is sending us a wake up call that something's out of balance. As women, the first thing to go haywire when things get stressful is our reproductive system. That's why it’s no coincidence that most of my clients are entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs we make three grave mistakes known to send our periods for hormonal turmoil. Take a look to see if these sound familiar.
1. We let our businesses become our priority.
I keep a list of my priorities in my planner. This is what it looks like: 1. God 2. Family 3. Business.
Yet when you actually look at how I spend my time? My business is by far the majority of my day. Even when I’m on a hike with my husband, I have to stop for a second so I can enter a new business idea into my phone. On paper, my priorities are spot-on. In reality, they're completely out of whack.
When you aren’t living the way you want to live, your adrenal glands take a hit and your cortisol levels skyrocket. Translation: Your inability to take a break from your business means your body needs to take a break from your reproductive system. Reproduction isn’t necessary to your survival, so too much stress (even if it’s the fun kind) means your body gets rid of any hormonal balance you had in favor of keeping you living.
2. We're impatient for what's to come.
I used to tell myself that it was ok to feel unbalanced for a short time. I was still working my day job, so obviously I was going to be short on time until I could make enough money to sustain my business and dedicate my life to it. There was no way out of that part. But I got super impatient. I worked even harder to make up for the fact that I wasn’t able to dedicate 40 hours per week to my craft.
On an emotional level, feeling that you aren’t where you want to be is a major roadblock when it comes to your hormonal health. As an entrepreneur, there's never going to be a final “I've arrived!” moment, which means you need to start taking care of yourself now.
I always recommend that my clients build 1-2 hours into every day devoted just to your own R&R (that means work-free). We need that space, and our bodies need it too. If your period is off kilter and you're an entrepreneur, it’s time to revisit how you handle your personal time.
3. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.
When I was writing my Ditch your Birth Control guide, I had women writing me weekly telling me about their horrible birth control experiences and how they wanted help getting off the hormones. Naturally, I felt more and more pressured to get my guide out to the masses as quickly as possible. They needed it!
I worked harder and put tighter deadlines on myself to get it done and out the door. The next thing I knew, my previously regulated period decided to skip a few cycles. Whose fault? My own. No one else told me to work harder. No one else berated me for missing my deadlines. I didn’t need to get my guide out in April, but I told myself I did. Readjusting my own mindset was crucial to getting my period back in line. I could take my time, get my guide out in May or June and save my hormones the hassle.
Heal your hormones.
Last weekend, I finally took my own words to heart. I sat down to my harp and learned to play some new music, then spent the rest of the afternoon weeding my yard in the sunshine. Playing music and gardening are two things I absolutely love to do, yet when I become completely immersed in my business, those two are the first to go (and a sure sign I’m headed for hormonal chaos).
The secret is to find balance with your business and personal life, and you’ll balance your hormones in the process. It’s kind of a package deal, after all. Heal your work life, heal your period! In the end, all that hormonal harmony will flow over to your business and you’ll feel happier, healthier, and more successful as a result!