When you think of anxiety, you may think of panicked breathing, an inability to complete tasks to a good standard or at all. In fact, high-functioning anxiety can look like the complete opposite. We wrote about the signs of high-functioning anxiety so that you can check symptoms here. So, how do those who are running their own businesses cope when they have a to-do list as long as their arm and feelings of anxiety bubbling under the surface? We spoke to three wellness entrepreneurs on how they cope with high-functioning anxiety for tips.


Nadine Joseph, Founder & CEO, Peak and Valley

Q: Have you ever experienced high-functioning anxiety?

If you were to crack open a Psych 101 textbook, you’d probably see my picture under “Type A Personality.” When I was young, it manifested as the ever present need to have the perfect balance of straight A’s and extracurriculars in school. I was a perfectionist and always dissatisfied with my performance. It all came to a head when after college, I found myself balancing two different neuroscience research projects; I was working 12+ hour days and at night was riddled with anxious thoughts. A year in I finally burned out, and realised that I needed to re-evaluate my expectations and care for myself.

Image: @peakandvalleyco

#1 Tip to cope with the negative characteristics of high-functioning anxiety: Create a self-care schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to taking care of yourself – and dealing with anxiety. I find it useful to schedule in times for self-care. Now, it’s as important as anything else on my to-do list. A few non-negotiables for me are getting daily exercise in the evenings, setting aside non-distracted time for meals, and taking a morning walk. If I check all three of these things off my list every day, then I know I’m on the right track.

Though, what really turned the page for my anxiety was adapting a more relaxed perspective on my life. Truly realising (and believing!) that life is about the journey and not any one end destination has caused me to slow down and smell the metaphorical roses. Besides, being an overachiever at the cost of your own mental health is never worth it. What’s the point of achieving X,Y and Z if you aren’t going to enjoy yourself when you get there?



Gemma Colao, Founder & Creative Director, OTO 

Q: Have you ever experienced high-functioning anxiety?

In short, yes I have. Although I suspect for many who have experienced it in this way, it can be something that sneaks up on you because when you have a hectic working life, you’re constantly preoccupied with other things. I don’t come across as an anxious person, but it is something I’ve always dealt with.

I think the root of my anxiety has always stemmed from overthinking, and trying too hard to be ‘the best’. I suffer from Dyslexia, and as a child I would attempt to overcompensate for this by excelling everywhere else. And so when I was working in the fashion industry, probably one of the craziest and most hectic sectors to work in! At times it was all a bit too much, and my sleep in particular would suffer.

Dealing with this and discovering how much CBD could help manage it is ultimately what led my husband, James, and I to starting OTO. I found CBD really helped with me sleep and to feel less overwhelmed in stressful situations.

Image: @oto_cbd

#1 Tip to cope with the negative characteristics of high-functioning anxiety: CBD roll-ons

I’m a big believer in finding the time to gather yourself and re-centre. Running a business is incredibly time-consuming; people are always demanding your time and looking to you for answers, and this can exacerbate my anxiety, but making time, even if it’s just a moment, to focus on myself goes a long way.

Sometimes it’s dancing and singing with my son Leo, and at other times it’s just taking a moment to breathe, letting all my thoughts pause to feel a stillness around me.

That’s one of the reasons I love our CBD roll-ons. They can be used anywhere and allow you to find your space even when you’re in a fast moving environment.

Practising self-care as a daily ritual is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give in dealing with anxiety. It’s obvious that anxiety is something that almost everyone suffers from at some point, and that’s why, rightly so, we’re seeing the explosion of the Wellness industry. Making time to look after yourself is so important, now more than ever. 


Michelle Larivee, Co-Founder & CEO, wthn

Q: Have you ever experienced high-functioning anxiety?

2020 has ushered in a new era of stress and anxiety, and finding ways to cope is essential. I’ve found that it’s important to experiment to find the wellness methods that work for you; and that it’s usually a combination of techniques. As a start-up founder with a newborn, my mind is constantly racing and I often wake up at night with thoughts swirling. I’ve found that it takes a combination of ways to really help me recover + recharge mindfully that is needed.

Image: @wthn


#1 Tip to cope with the negative characteristics of high-functioning anxiety: Acupressure mat

Most recently I’ve been loving my brand-new WTHN acupressure mat — I lay on it for 10-15 minutes every night before bed. Acupressure has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and calm the mind. I also take herbal supplements with adaptogens that provide focus + calm, as well as magnesium. My favourite is WTHN’s Run the World blend. While I’ve struggled for years trying to create a regular meditation routine, more recently, I’ve found that meditating in the middle of the night when I’m having a hard time going back to sleep is the perfect time and really helpful. Speaking of sleep, for those with high-functioning anxiety, rest is a non-negotiable. As someone with a long list of priorities and goals, I’ve also found that remembering to make sure I actually include and prioritise my own health and wellness is what it all comes down to.



***Disclaimer: Kossie content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Kossie.***
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