Nicky Bentley’s Story
Nicky is the founder of Crown Connective, the UKs first ever Vendor List Company that helps business owners connect with the suppliers that they need to grow. The solopreneur and mum from Berkshire, and launched the business after being inspired by a massive trend she noticed in the US for vendor lists.
What’s your experience of burnout?
I developed chronic stress and anxiety from a toxic relationship. It started to affect my sleep at first, I didn’t really think too much of it but then when I realised I couldn’t fall asleep until after 3/4am each day for months I knew something wasn’t right. It started to impact my work life, social life and family life.
Were there any warning signs before you burned out?
I then started to experience physical stress, really bad chest pains etc and itchy skin. It then progressed further to stress-related tinnitus, digestive issues, pain in stomach, heartburn and the sensation of something being stuck in my throat.
How did you recover?
I sought professional medical help, I went to Ears Nose & Throat specialist (ENT) to seek help with my tinnitus. They were able to diagnose me with ‘stress-related tinnitus’ and taught me coping mechanisms. ENT also taught me ways I can minimise my stress, try to live in the moment, don’t overthink and give myself breaks. Counselling helped me identify my triggers, coping mechanisms and understand that I can’t change the past or dwell on how I would have done things differently but learn to live in the here and now. I’ve also started meditation and breathing work.
If you had to go back to that time what, if anything, would you do differently?
Even though the situation was traumatic, I wouldn’t do anything differently. The toxic relationship that I was in taught me so many lessons that I will not repeat again in my life. If I hadn’t gone through those experiences with my ex-partner, all that I have achieved, the mother that I am today and the mindset I have regarding ‘healthy relationships’ wouldn’t be possible without the stressful past experiences.
Why do you think that so many people burn out?
We are trying to do too many tasks at once. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to over achieve, when we just need to achieve. We need to realise we are one person and we can only do so much, it’s ok if we don’t complete everything. Try to create attainable daily tasks, listing the important things first. Whatever isn’t done, there is always tomorrow. When we start to feel tired, stressed or anxious please stop ignoring the signs and know that it is ok to step away from things in order to recover your mental health.
Any tips to manage stress and overwhelm?
Yes, walk away from all things, people and places that cause you stress, worry, upset and overwhelmed. I have learned that it is ok to say no and it’s ok to block people who do not bring peace to your life. Nothing is by force in life, if something brings you the physical or mental feeling of feeling overwhelmed, stressed or worry; walk away because life is too short.
Final words of wisdom…
No one is going to love you or care about you more than you. So you need to start to put yourself first and not ignore the feelings you feel.