My name is Kimberly O’Shaughnessy. I don’t really consider myself an entrepreneur, however, for the last five years, I’ve been self-employed, traveling as an international house and pet sitter. I rent out my two properties, and that allows me to travel.
Six months of the year, I am abroad, looking after different expats’ pets and homes while they travel. It’s taken me to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Italy, Panama, and Ecuador. I come back [to Ottawa] for six months of the year, and I have lots of clients here.
Since COVID, though, I came back to Canada on a repatriation flight from Panama. I decided that if I could find full-time work, it would be a good way for me to pass the time. Right now I’m working as a fund development specialist for Immigrant Women’s Services of Ottawa, as well as maintaining my rental properties.
I’ve never had issues with mental health. I do feel like I experience a little bit of anxiety-like many people do. Traveling kind of puts that into perspective when you see how other people live in different countries. [You see] how good we do have it in Canada.
Mental health to me means staying healthy in all aspects of my life.
On the spiritual side, I do some meditation, I do yoga. On the physical side, I do a fair amount of exercise. I love walking in the summer[and] hiking. In the winter, I enjoy kayaking and skiing both cross country and downhill. Snowshoeing, too.
The way I’m able to keep healthy and sane is really by doing lots of physical activity, which I really enjoy doing. To care for my mental health and wellness today, I reach out to my friends to keep in touch with them around the world.
Because of COVID, It’s important for me to stay in touch. I also do a nice brisk walk in the morning that gets my body moving and puts me in a good, A good place. I’ve also started to see a naturopath and trying to get some of my sleep issues under control because I know how much sleep is important but it’s always been a bit of a struggle for me. If I do wake up in the morning, and I’m feeling a little groggy, I just allow myself to stay in bed.
I try to be really good to myself and treat myself just as if I was treating a really good friend. If I need an extra half an hour in bed, I’m happy to give that to myself.
The main mental wellness tip I have found useful [is] staying in the moment.
Oftentimes my mind can wander which causes a lot of anxiety. So I always just bring myself to the present moment. It could be looking out the window at the trees it could be looking out over the water and realizing in this moment I’m safe I’m secure. I’m happy I’m well fed, I’m physically exercised.
Coming back to the main moment of what I’m experiencing right now is very helpful.
It’s a good tip that has helped keep me sane as well through COVID.
If there was just one thing I could share about mental wellness for women entrepreneurs, it would be making sure to reach out to friends when you’re having difficulties and being able to air those with friends. If you do have the financial means it’s always really good to see somebody who is specialized in helping with different problems.
I think that there’s nothing wrong with doing that, because as women, we have so many hats that we wear, and being able to bounce ideas and share your concerns with other people is really important.