In celebration of World Mental Health Day, we honour one of our valued friends and members of the 42 Acres Shoreditch coworking community, Helen Morris, as she shares her personal journey towards reclaiming her mental health – both in the workplace, and her life as whole.
Words by Helen Morris:
Three years ago I hit rock bottom with my mental health. A long struggle with anxiety, panic attacks and depression culminated in a major depressive episode and I was signed off work as marketing manager for a global data company.
Little did I know at the time that it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Whilst my job at the time was great on paper – stable, financially abundant and surrounded by kind people, I had an increasingly niggling feeling that I wasn’t in the right place.
Not long after I had started, I learnt the transformative practice of Vedic meditation and began a yoga teacher training course on the side. Soon I was spending all of my spare time going to wellness workshops, absorbing business podcasts and reading any spiritual, personal development, lifestyle design or small business book I could get my hands on.
Learning to meditate opened up my creativity and I spent time pondering what I would do if I didn’t work in corporate marketing. I looked at my skills (marketing), my interests (wellness and entrepreneurship) and my purpose (to help people trying to make the world a better place promote their businesses) and one day it dropped into my consciousness – ‘start a marketing agency for small wellness businesses’.
As I lay in bed recovering from my illness, I felt as if I had a second chance at life. Did I want to spend it doing work that didn’t fulfil me? Or did I want to live on-purpose, doing work I love, in a vibrant industry, for businesses I wholeheartedly believed in and have the flexibility to prioritise my health?
As I returned to work I set about preparing for the big leap. One afternoon I could feel a panic attack coming on; I told my very understanding boss who suggested I leave the office and go to a yoga class, knowing how soothing I found it. I did just that and at the end of the class I felt compelled to speak to the teacher. I asked her if she’d always been a yoga teacher. ‘No’, she replied, ‘I used to work in marketing but I kept having panic attacks so I left.’ That was the sign I needed! I handed my notice in the following day and became freelance a month later.
Eighteen months after that I set up Samsara Communications, a specialist marketing agency for wellness small businesses. It has grown beyond anything I could have imagined and I work with meditation and yoga studios, corporate wellness concierges, life coaches, hypnotherapists, vegan cafes and more. Shortly after I joined 42 Acres and immediately felt at home here as a coworker. It has nurtured me as I’ve grown the business and expanded into a series of sold out ‘How To Build Your Wellness Business’ events, mentoring and a soon-to-be launched handbook.
Now, I can see that the anxiety and depression were nudging me to step into my higher purpose, and whilst it was an incredibly challenging period of my life, it equipped me with the strength, resilience and resolve I need to start my dream business. I wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am, today without it.
Follow Samsara Communications on Instagram to learn more about Helen’s support for wellness businesses: https://www.instagram.com/samsaracommunications/