Prioritizing Mental Health as a Business Owner with Chrissy Ingram

Brand Intentionally with Friends Podcast
Season 1 - Episode 1

I met Chrissy Ingram, an amazing Social Media Marketing Manager and even more amazing human being, towards the end of 2022. We instantly connected based on our love of community building and helping people. Though we also bonded over helping each other discuss mental health issues.

Chrissy had this idea that we should do something for May, which is Mental Health Awareness month in the US, and while in the process of putting together this Brand Intentionally with Friends I thought that this would be the perfect way to kick it off!

In this Episode of Brand Intentionally with Friends:
  • Importance of flexibility in entrepreneurship and prioritizing mental health
  • Managing energy for social media work and finding your boundaries + balance
  • Empowerment through ADHD diagnosis and advocating for oneself
  • How having OCD and other mental illnesses is a superpower in the design industry
  • Dealing with grief and anxiety, self-care, and running a business during lockdown and beyond
  • The beauty of supportive partners and communities that are intentionally created
  • Coping with the winter blues and differences in mental health attitudes between the US, UK, and Australia

Our goal with this episode was to have a candid conversation describing our vulnerable experiences and how they both survived them to inspire other business owners and creatives to take care of themselves and speak up about what they need help with.

Check the episode below, join the conversation, and make sure you check the shownotes below for anything we mentioned including some great organizations and to follow Chrissy.

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Links & Shownotes
Connect with Chrissy Ingram
Relevant Things Mentioned in this Episode
Helpful Mental Health Organizations
  • Click to Expand Episode 1 Transcript

    Garett Southerton [00:00:00]:

    Welcome to the first episode of Brand intentionally with Friends. If you don’t know me yet, my name is Garett Southerton. I’m an intentional branding strategist and designer and I’ve been a creative professional for over 18 years now. This podcast is meant to help you think differently about running a business, cultivating communities and change, and even leveling up your personal life by being more intentional. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And to kick things off, I wanted to do a very special episode because I feel like we don’t talk enough about mental health as creators and business owners. So I collaborated with a special friend who, like me, has struggled a lot mentally. So sit back, dig deep, and get ready for this episode of Brand Intentionally with Friends. I’m so happy. Introducing my first guest, someone with 13 years sales and marketing experience. She hails all the way from Queensland, Australia. She runs the Fiery Red Punk Social. She is Chrissy Ingram.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:00:47]:

    Hey, Garett, thanks so much for having me on here today. As you know, mental health awareness is one topic that’s really close to my heart for many reasons. Obviously, as you’ve shared, I’ve had my own struggles this year with it and even just last year with facing grief unexpectedly, which sort of triggered further along, sort of rolled into this year Brand. It’s had an impact and it’s had an effect. So, yeah, I think it’s really great that we’re able to come together and share something and share a space where we can really sort of hone down and talk about mental health openly and as small business owners and do it in a space where there doesn’t need to be shame surrounding it.

    Garett Southerton [00:01:33]:

    No, of course not.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:01:34]:

    Thank you for having me.

    Garett Southerton [00:01:35]:

    Thank you. And thank you for pushing me to do this because it’s kind of been like one of those things like where you teeter you want to do it, but you kind of need that support to do it, right? You can’t just kind of do it by yourself because then everybody’s just like, okay, well, it’s just another hot topic somebody wants to talk about for clicks and likes rather than actually talking about it and talking about issues. And I feel like that’s totally something that is in our society. Everybody wants to talk about mental health until somebody wants to talk about mental health because then it’s like, no, never mind. Why don’t you just talk to a therapist and you’re kind of good, right?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:02:12]:

    Yeah, talk about it to tick a box kind of thing, but don’t actually discuss your own lived experience or things like that.

    Garett Southerton [00:02:20]:

    It just becomes the hot topic of the month. Kind of like everybody was on the metaverrified for a while and well, it May. So now let’s talk about that and only that and kind of not really care, but I’ll give you my top five tips to prevent mental health.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:02:37]:

    Yeah, absolutely.

    Garett Southerton [00:02:39]:

    I really just wanted to kind of kick it off with you. Now over the last few months, like, how it’s affected your business. How are you able to run your business?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:02:47]:

    Well, I’m happy to share and be really open about it. I actually closed my books to look after my mental health. One half of my business is I’m a social media manager, and the other half is taking one to one clients for marketing consultation or coaching on how to use Instagram for their business. But I decided to close the social media management side of it down because if you’re a small business owner and you run your own social media, you know what’s involved, and if you know what you’re doing properly, it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of energy, because it is a social space. You need to turn up into that space and be social for your business. And if you’ve got other pressures going on in the background and you don’t have that energy to give out, it makes it that much harder. So I decided to close that side down and set myself a little challenge of posting only twice a week and trying to keep a consistency in posting. That has been my biggest challenge because obviously with recent diagnosis, just found out that I’m ADHD. So that was triggered from the grief. So something passing in my father last year.

    Garett Southerton [00:04:03]:

    Sorry to hear that.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:04:03]:

    Yeah, thank you. And thank you for being a support in the background and the DMs through.

    Garett Southerton [00:04:07]:

    Of course, it’s a hard thing. Sometimes people just expect us to like, oh, well, okay, you’ll be good in a month or two, and you’ll get over it. Brand it’s like, no, you don’t just get over stuff. It sounds nice, but it doesn’t work that way, realistically. And like you said, it triggers a lot of other things.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:04:28]:


    Garett Southerton [00:04:28]:

    My first, the dog that was mine, she was like my dog. I got her, I had her, I raised her, and she suddenly passed. And it happened right before COVID started and wow. Kind of like that mixed with COVID The whole world’s on lockdown. You can’t do anything. It kind of like I went ghost for two years off of social media completely. I was out of social media. My business ran on autopilot, whatever, but I was just out of it. So I completely understand what you’re you know what I mean? People just don’t understand how bad certain griefs and certain things that happen to us trigger everything else. I was so anxious, and I didn’t want to post because, okay, then people are going to expect me to keep it up. People are going to expect me to keep going with it and keep helping them. And I don’t want to take on new clients. I had my stuff figured out. I didn’t want to grow. I just wanted to relax. I mean, I think kind of happened at the best timing with COVID because of that reasoning. And something I really love that you said though, was that you put the pause purposely on your business so you can focus on yourself. And I think that’s amazing because so many times people are like, oh, just keep going, push yourself, you’ll make it through. And I think that then you’re going to half ass your clients work and then you’re only going to hurt yourself more just because you’re trying to get a few more bucks.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:05:52]:

    That’s it. Yeah. Sometimes there’s more important things in life than your money and your health, and your mental health is definitely one of them. I’m sorry about your dog. My dogs helped me through so much the last year, so I really can understand what that level of grief would be like. And I think it doesn’t matter where the grief comes from, it can be it’s impactful, like whether it’s end of a marriage or a job or redundancy or it can have a real impact on your life. So I think I’m really lucky that I have such a fantastic support network around me. It’s so essential because there’s been times in my life where I’ve not. And also I was thinking, I did have this thought go through in my head not long after my dad passed, was like, what if I was working in corporate still and I wasn’t a business owner? The fact that I could just pack up and go to New Zealand for two months and spend it with my mum and my brother, just do what I needed to do, that never would have happened in a nine to five.

    Garett Southerton [00:06:52]:

    No, never. You’d have to push through it.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:06:55]:

    Yeah. Has your three days of grief allowance. See you back next week, Wednesday. And so I would have had to have quit my job, totally. There’s no way I would have would have done it. So the fact that you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you have much more flexibility in your life to look after your mental health and actually go, okay, I need to take a breath, and I need to take a step back, and what can I do? And what can I shift in my business to still allow for income, but also be looking after myself? Now, obviously, social media management is a big part of my income, so by not having that right now, I’m going through this on little to no income. And I’ve been very lucky that I’ve had a partner who’s been supportive every step of the way through my diagnosis and we’ve tackled it as a team, but to not have those great levels of support around you through your friends, I’m lucky. I’ve got a great partner, I’ve got an amazing online community and friends all across the world who are doing similar stuff to what I’m doing. And we lean on each other and we help each other out. And I think it’s really important to have that online digital community with people from different perspectives, different places in the world who you’re going through similar stuff and you can actually just chill and talk about it.

    Garett Southerton [00:08:16]:

    Yeah, I agree. I so agree. And I think that’s something that we really connect on, right, is really that community aspect of it. Because like you said, you could do that with a little known income. My philosophy is the money comes and goes, right? You make more, you’re going to spend more, you’re going to save more. It’s going to come in as go as you need it as it’s meant to be, right? But when you build that community that’s actually there and they understand you and they can support you even when you’re going through those tough times, they see that, they respect that, they relate to that. That’s huge. So huge. When people relate to you and they see you like, oh, well, Chrissy went through that and she’s real, and now that she’s back, that’s awesome. Maybe she could help me because I’m going through that same thing right now. I’m feeling that way about my own social media. Maybe Chrissy is the one who can help me put those pieces together. I think that’s so awesome.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:09:06]:

    It’s funny you say that. I actually had someone reach out to me this week in my audience out of the blue and their father’s passing. So to know that I’ve got someone in my audience that I sort of support through their content and stuff, that they could actually come to me and just share with me, I felt really honored.

    Garett Southerton [00:09:24]:

    I was like, that’s so special.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:09:25]:

    Awesome that I have that connection. I know that through the grief, I’ve made some really deep connections with people all over the world via the DMs. And yeah, it’s so much bigger than.

    Garett Southerton [00:09:39]:

    What you see a business as and what an actual small business is. It’s just so special.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:09:45]:

    Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

    Garett Southerton [00:09:48]:

    I love that.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:09:49]:

    Yeah. What else did I do? What else have I done? I’ve been working with a therapist who specializes in ADHD, which is awesome because we get to discuss behavioral stuff and how we can change that and how we can sort of notice where my strengths are and where my weaknesses are within my ADHD. So that’s really interesting. And I’m trying to set up a routine at the moment in the morning that’s going to best support those strengths and weaknesses long term. Because if I have a I’m just starting at the start because obviously before it was just chaos, chaos. My therapist sits to me recently. She says, how the medication is going? And I said, oh, they were a bit up and down to begin with, but I said, yeah, well, it’s kind of like my thoughts were at 65,000 a day, which sounds excessive, but that’s where it felt like it was, and it’s now at 250, which is that’s a vast difference yeah, drastic. So I can feel like I’m going to be able to getting these behavioral aspects implemented along with this and having that great support network around you. I am in the best place in my life I’ve ever known to know that, to go through this and come out. Because every time you go through a mental health situation or whatever, I totally believe it. It’s kind of like when you get a flu, right, and you get sick and then you overcome that flu, your immunity gets stronger. Right.

    Garett Southerton [00:11:19]:

    It’s like that great quote that’s, like, you are up on every bad thing that’s ever happened to you. You’ve overcome everything. Nothing you can’t do because you’ve done every hard time in your life. You’ve passed it already.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:11:32]:

    Yeah. Because there’s only one way, and that’s through. Right. And it’s what tools you choose to put into your pack to go through as well, whether that be medication, whether that be therapy, or whether that be diet, nutrition and exercise or all of it.

    Garett Southerton [00:11:47]:

    Is there something in particular that you’ve implemented aside from the medication therapy that’s really helped you? Like something that you’ve learned?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:11:55]:

    I’m actually still in the process of implementing these things in place, so maybe ask me in three months that question. But I think at the moment, I think communication is really, really important and how you communicate to those people around you.

    Garett Southerton [00:12:08]:

    Like learning how to recommunicate, sort of.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:12:11]:

    Yes. So my diagnosis has been in the last six weeks, I’m learning how I’m speaking differently to how I was before about myself, and I’m speaking outwardly to those people around me, advocating for myself in a totally different way. And it’s really been empowering in the sense that they’re like, oh, okay, so that’s why you do that. Right, okay. And then you can sort of accommodate the situation because you have the clear information about what’s actually happening and you’re not just doing all this shit to be a pain in the ass, it’s just how you are. So I think at the moment, so my next step is that I’m telling people in my inner circle, okay, because I’ve got a lot of friends in America through Instagram, and our time to chat is usually first thing. So I’m going to say, hey, guys, like, I’ve got this block and this is what the block I’m going to be working on over the next month. And you can support me by not trying to call me because my big thing is distraction. So I’ll be like, oh, cool, ellie’s calling me or Garett’s calling me. And I would just go, wicked. I love having chats with Ellie. I love having chats with Garett. I’m going to sit here and talk for the next hour and then feel that if I don’t have that structure in place, the therapist has actually just shared with me that because we’re going through the process of autism now to look at that because I’ve done the first round, and it’s looking highly likely. So to understand that side of the brain and the ADHD side so that we can create a structure that works best for those. Yeah, so that’s what I’ve learned so far, I think.

    Garett Southerton [00:13:51]:

    I think that’s a really point. Like, you’re still going through the process. I think that’s an important one, to document that for yourself. Right. But two, I think somebody who hasn’t even started the process can see that and hear that and know that even though you’re just in the beginning of New Jersey and everything’s not solved and everything’s never going to be. Solved properly. And that solve is a loose word. Just going through the process and learning different things about yourself and how you speak to yourself. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from just my business coach was give yourself grace.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:14:20]:


    Garett Southerton [00:14:21]:

    And I think that’s such a powerful thing because the way you talk to yourself, the way you see yourself, the way you interact with others, and how you treat yourself to others is like a baseline. And I think that when you do that, it helps so many others see that they’re not alone.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:14:40]:

    Yeah, I definitely agree.

    Garett Southerton [00:14:42]:

    And I also feel you on the distraction thing because I have to put all my notifications off because if not, I will spend the whole day when I first came back to Instagram, that’s kind of funny because I’d spend half the day just DMing people and just talking. Not like, hey, buy my products, but actually talking and having conversations and connecting with people. Brand I love that. But then I didn’t get anything done either, and it kind of, like, stressed me out more and brought more anxiety because then I also felt like, oh, shit, I got to keep this up now because otherwise people can think I’m slacking. And I’m really grateful people, as they see my conversation die down a little in terms of, like, I can’t be on Instagram all day talking to people. I see that they understand that and they appreciate that. Something like, okay, so for me, my mental struggle in the past few months, the winter hit me hard. It hit me so hard as soon as that time zone change came in, like November ish it kind of sluggline. All my I don’t want to say motivation, but I felt so sluggish. So like, I didn’t want to do anything so less of routine. My routine got thrown off, and it took so long to find that balance back. And it’s funny because business on the business side of things, things have been great, and you would think that would uplift you and keep you to keep going. And this is not how it works.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:16:04]:

    No, that’s right. Your internal world can really externally, it impacts your quality of work, or it can like what you feel like, that’s good, but it’s not good enough.

    Garett Southerton [00:16:15]:

    Yeah, exactly.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:16:17]:

    Because, you know, everything you create, you put energy into. Right. And if you feel like your energy is not there and that you’re creating, like, say, for example, I’m creating a real I’m like, oh, it just doesn’t for me for me, it’s not got that total sparkle factor. And yeah, if you’re feeling sluggish and the seasonal, seasonal affection of what is that? Sad. SADS. But I can’t remember what the acronym stands for, but it’s oh, I have no idea.

    Garett Southerton [00:16:42]:

    I don’t know that I get the winter blues so hard.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:16:45]:

    Yeah, basically it’s the winter blues. Yeah. When I lived in the UK, winter blues head Hard, man, because you’re in the dark when it’s cold and miserable. Brand that. But, yeah, I had to as a kiwi living there, I had to find ways to because I realized that it was lack of sunshine. So I thought, right, what can I do? I can lift my chemicals in my brain by exercising, so I made sure that I was exercising throughout the winter months quite a lot, and if it was a sunny day, I’d get outside and soak it up rugged or rugged up and just getting outside in the sun, there’s things that you can do. And it is a battle, it is a, you know, a conscious effort to battle against that winter blues kind of energy. You know, like, I noticed differences in because I’ve I’ve lived in the UK and I’ve worked out there and I’ve also worked and lived in Australia, so I’ve had really different experiences in regards to mental health and particularly in the workplace. So I haven’t worked in cities out here in Australia, though, just going to say that, but I’ve worked in small locations, but I have worked in cities in the UK and like, for example, when I worked in Brighton, it was mental health within that community is spoken about really openly. Like, you can speak about mental health with someone you’ve literally just met. But also I noticed the difference when there’s been times you work in marketing, you’re going to sign yourself off for stress at some point.

    Garett Southerton [00:18:15]:

    Definitely, yeah. I think any client base, not in a mean way, but anything that you’re working with, people who are paying for something, you’re long to have that range. I mean, you have great clients and you have those not so great clients. And I think this is life, definitely, though.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:18:32]:

    Yeah, for sure. I can remember an example where I took a week out because I wasn’t you know, I’d been feeling not great for a long time. I think it was probably overwinter as well and there was a lot of stress going on in my personal life at the time and having a job that had a certain level of pressure about it. I think all of the things at once and then probably because I was ADHD and had no idea at the time I didn’t know how to process things and stuff that I’ve just learned recently that I now have a better understanding about. But looking back, my boss was really great. They were understanding of it, and they just needed to know when you would be likely to come back, because obviously, as a manager, from a management point of view, you need to understand to manage your workloads. But they were really openly discussing it with you as to where you were at, as to how they could manage their team. And it doesn’t feel like they were like, yeah, okay, good. So when are you going to be back? Monday. Right. Friday. So the difference I felt with other places I’ve worked in here in Australia, for example, it was any sort of because I just lived in Brighton for five years and I just thought everyone thought like everyone did there. And I went into a workplace and was really open because I needed to I figured I needed once a week for six weeks kind of thing with the therapist and after that, because historically, if there’s been something going on and I think, okay, I’ll just go get it around the therapy and then I’m off and I’m through. I know that about myself, but other people don’t. So they’re like, as soon as you mentioned the word therapy, they’re like, oh, no, she’s not coping.

    Garett Southerton [00:20:19]:

    That’s how it is in Australia.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:20:21]:

    You’re saying, well, that was an experience that I had here, so I think it puts people into sort of like, oh, no. And I was the only person on marketing the time, so it was like, okay. For that manager, they were probably concerned about because there’s no one to do what I can do on the team. So it was probably freak them out, but I’m really casual. But I just thought, I’m just going to go and get going, a little.

    Garett Southerton [00:20:49]:

    Mental holiday and come back fresh and bright.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:20:53]:

    I’m going to go to a therapist. And I said to them, I said, Look, I could lie to you and say I’m going to Physio, but I don’t want to lie to you. But then there was also underlying things that came back where I felt like people was trying to sort of anxiously tiptoe around me, like, well, don’t hang on a minute. I told you that in confidence. And there’s no evidence that that person said anything to somebody else, but it may have been implied that I wasn’t coping.

    Garett Southerton [00:21:22]:

    Maybe it’d be a little easier on Chrissy. So she disappeared again.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:21:26]:

    Yeah. But the reality is that I actually went to my boss to say, this is what I need, this is what I’m going to do, because I don’t want it to get to a level where it’s affecting my work. Right.

    Garett Southerton [00:21:37]:

    You want to be able to take pride in it. You want to be able to perform at your highest level.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:21:42]:

    Yeah, absolutely. Of course I wanted to do that for the team, so that was that experience. But I’ve also been in another role where it was used against me as a weakness, which, looking back, was pretty nasty. And it was a different time. It was 13 years ago, so it was a totally different time in a totally different world. So things have changed and improved in the workplace and around the topic of mental health. Like, I believe I think that there’s still a lot of stigma creeping around. And I’ve recently experienced stigma again because I just go unaively because I’m so open about it that I just think the whole world is and then I get a reflection back and I’m like, oh, no, it’s not okay.

    Garett Southerton [00:22:29]:

    Yeah, when you think like that, right, you don’t see problems with anything, you know what I mean? But when you’re so trusting of people in your circle and then you think everybody’s like that and you’re like, yeah, oh, never mind, let me go back into my little bubble and hide.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:22:50]:

    I won’t speak about mental health because it’s making you uncomfortable, so I’m just going to go, okay.

    Garett Southerton [00:22:55]:

    I feel like here in the US. It’s kind of like in between, right? Some people are really great about it, and then others are like you said, they see it like, oh, well, that’s a weakness. You can’t talk about that. You can’t cry about this. You can’t focus on the negatives. You just need to look positive and that’s it. I get that in a way, like, yeah, you need to train your mind to be more of the positive mindset, but that’s not going to fix everything for you. Like I said, everything could be great around you. Everything could be perfect, your business could be going good, your relationships could be going good. And that’s how it was for me, you know what I mean? And then still, like, something as simple as weather can bring up all those the grief that you’ve had and all the other things that bother you. My anxiety just triggered out of nowhere for nothing, and people don’t always see that. I think it’s really great because, like we said, we’ve built amazing communities that we’re actually personal with. It’s not just like some transactional relationship. And so people reach out to me and they’ll be like, hey, are you okay? I’ve seen you haven’t posted in a few days. Is everything good? And then actually have a real conversation about, hey, this is what’s been bothering me, and like, oh yeah, I understand completely, and we’re always here to talk. We’re always here if you want to bounce something off of me. And I think that’s really dope. But then there’s like, some people I think the problem is probably a hot take. I think the problem with it is that some people use anxiety and ADHD and all that to their advantage, whereas if maybe they don’t struggle from that, they use it as an excuse so they don’t have to do something or so they can slack off on something. Because the very few people who do that ruin it for the rest that actually experience those problems that are really.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:24:48]:

    Distressed by their situation.

    Garett Southerton [00:24:50]:

    Yeah, I think that it affects a lot of people’s outlooks on it, you know what I mean? And people say, oh, well, they’re not really that anxious. They could just suck it up and do it.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:25:00]:

    That’s the thing. Because you can’t see it, right? You can’t see it. You can’t see the level of distress that that person’s facing and suffering from mental health when everything’s going garett. It doesn’t discriminate. It’s like addiction. Mental health doesn’t discriminate. Your whole life can appear like rainbows and candy floss to the outside world and then they give you shit about it as if like, well, everything’s garett. What’s your problem?

    Garett Southerton [00:25:25]:

    Exactly? Like, I could say, like, this is probably one of the most put together times of my life in terms of all the different aspects of my life are relatively going great, right? I mean, obviously, don’t get me wrong, we all have things going on that are not great, but shit, now I’m ruining it for myself. Because you have anxiety about your own anxiety and your own struggles and it’s like, damn, now I’m ruining everything for myself because I can’t do this today because I just don’t have it in me or where I’m at in level wise. And then you feel bad like, hey, maybe I shouldn’t record a few reels today. Maybe I shouldn’t post that today. And it’s funny because I have a bunch of social media content and videos recorded and ready to publish, but at the same time, sometimes it’s like I.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:26:19]:

    Don’T have it in me to the engaging side.

    Garett Southerton [00:26:22]:

    And it’s not like engaging is like, I have to do it or this and that. It’s like, that’s what I love to do. That’s how I love to interact with my community. But if I’m not feeling it in that sense and I can’t keep it consistent in the sense that I’m going to post X amount of times a week. And not that you have to, but it’s just not there sometimes, well, that’s a reality.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:26:44]:

    Hey, there’s one thing I really advocate for, is this whole, like, post five times a week, do three reels, do this, do that. I actually have a belief that when your energy is in the right place and it’s in the right space, you’re going to make the appropriate connection and it’s going to have the appropriate impact, whether that’s to one person or 20 people.

    Garett Southerton [00:27:09]:

    I completely agree.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:27:10]:

    Yeah, the whole posting of X amount a week and having this pressure zone, that’s why I said to myself, like, I thought when I was coming back, I could post three times a week. I think I lasted two weeks of that. And I thought. Well, that’s just not sustainable for me right now. And at the moment it’s been twice a week. Sometimes it’s not been because I think it’s better to be checking in with yourself and realizing where you’re at first and foremost because that energy that you put in behind any of the interacting you do while you’re online, I think in the DMs it’s different. The DMs, you can be it’s more deeper connections that happen in there. But when you’re out what I call the front facing, like on the comment section, it feels like there’s a pressure to be a little bit more on in that space. And it is if your headspace isn’t in the right place, you’re not putting out your best, whether that be energetically or communication wise.

    Garett Southerton [00:28:10]:

    No, I completely agree with you.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:28:12]:

    Yeah. I find myself like if I’m making comments like, yeah, cool.

    Garett Southerton [00:28:15]:

    I think that speaks more to our kind of philosophy around community because so many people would just be like, oh thanks. That’s how they would comment back. Like, oh, thanks for your thoughts, thanks for this info, thanks for whatever. And I think that speaks to because, yeah, we feel on because we actually want to converse back to somebody who took the time to watch our videos or whatever. And I think that’s the part that people skip because people are like, oh, just comment on it, it’s no big deal. Right, but it is because when you’re putting that amount of love and energy into something, you can’t just do it to do it, you have to do it because you want to do it. It’s kind of like you ever see like a kid, a parent forces their kid to say sorry, right? Yeah, but what does that really like? I get that you’re trying to train your kid to say sorry, but what does that mean if they’re not actually feeling sorry about it? It’s kind of like that same method to me. Like if I just say thanks, where’s the actual gratitude you took this time? You took a minute out of your day to watch and comment on my video and also I’m going to give you back as a thanks. No, I want to keep the going. I mean, there’s not always conversation there, right? But trying to make it somewhat personal when you talk to somebody, it’s more meaningful.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:29:35]:

    But that’s the thing. I think you’re someone who likes to create connection and if you’re not in a space where you have that energy to be connective in the way that you are, then you’re not going to go in there and be half asset. Exactly, half asset. We’re obviously both of us, I think are big communicators and when we communicate, we communicate from the heart, really, like from the real side of ourselves. But, yeah, I think that if you don’t have that energy available to be 100% who you are, then sometimes it’s important for you to step back and do it on a day when your energy is there. Because the thing is, saying this to someone else the other day, socializing online is kind of like socializing in real life, but you’re doing it at a much faster speed, so you’re still socializing. And I don’t know about you, but, like, certain amount of socializing wipes me out.

    Garett Southerton [00:30:42]:

    Dating. Yeah, definitely. I’m 100% introverted.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:30:46]:

    Yeah. As much as I love it, I need to withdraw and spend time, like, quiet time, doing quiet stuff.

    Garett Southerton [00:30:53]:

    No, I completely agree. I think it’s interesting you actually said that, though, because the Internet gets a lot of shit, right? And I think that’s something that the Internet gets the power up for, because you seek me, like, three years ago, four years ago, I would never want to approach a network like the way I do on Instagram or Twitter. Right. My anxiety, my social anxiety, like, that has just never been there. I don’t know why. That’s just who I am. Right. But the thing is, I love the whole aspect of building community and having people that rely on you for certain information and that you can talk to and help and making a real impact. And it’s funny because a few years ago, it just wouldn’t have happened that way. So it’s kind of crazy how the Internet actually brings people together in that aspect.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:31:41]:

    Yeah, I definitely agree. I’ve also got this theory that I think that people who are neurodiverse or have struggles intentionally, I think the Internet and being able to communicate digitally does help.

    Garett Southerton [00:31:54]:

    We could turn it on and off as we get the energy, rather than, like if you went to a networking event, right? Let’s say we go to a conference and when you get there, hey, you might be high up there, and then an hour later, you’re like, I want to go home.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:32:11]:


    Garett Southerton [00:32:12]:

    And I’ve been there. You know, I’ve I’ve done the conferencing, too. That so, like, from that aspect, I could say, like, oh, I want to go home. I don’t want to do this. Let me go to my hotel room and just watch TV the rest of the day.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:32:23]:

    I’ve walked into a corporate networking event before, and it was before I’d sort of stepped back into the Corporal and I just got back into the country, and a really good friend of mine actually took me to it. And I had bright red hair. And then my social anxiety overwhelmed me so much because people weren’t I think I don’t know if it was my height and my hair that I appeared unapproachable. I’ve got no idea. But anytime I tried to talk or anything, it wasn’t happening. And then I became more socially awkward. The whole thing just escalated. It was horrendous, and I was like, I just wanted the whole thing over. It was the most painful hour and a half of my life. And I’m like, those kind of places just don’t work for me. And then, oh, here’s my business card. It feels so robotic.

    Garett Southerton [00:33:10]:

    It definitely does.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:33:11]:

    Within a credit space like Instagram, you can actually I get to expose the extrovert side of me. I get to share the emotional side of me and all the rest of it. So whenever I’ve ever made a connection online and I’ve actually met them in real life, that social anxiety is gone. It’s not there.

    Garett Southerton [00:33:26]:

    Yeah, because you already know them and everything, right?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:33:28]:

    We know each other and you get to know each other on a really deep level. And I think also connection can happen far more quickly and deeply via the internet perhaps because you don’t have those.

    Garett Southerton [00:33:41]:

    Roadblocks in front of you.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:33:45]:

    Yeah, it’s definitely been a space for me that has supported my mental health and where my energy levels are at. But I can also see very clearly the absolute flip side of that coin and how if you don’t have strong boundaries set with yourself and you don’t have a strong relationship with yourself, where you can actually be honest and ask yourself like, am I just scrolling? Am I on here? Scrolling. And I’m starting to feel worse and worse because everyone else is doing better than me.

    Garett Southerton [00:34:20]:

    That’s a good point.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:34:21]:

    There’s people I started out with in the social media space two years ago that have far exceeded and excelled where I am from on paper, where you’re looking in that. But the thing is I have to stop and remind myself is like there’s been humongous things that I’ve been going through in my personal life while I’ve been trying to build my business, having that conscious thought of like I followed everyone when I started and I was like, yeah. And then I just felt bombarded by what I should and shouldn’t be doing. And then I just brand. I thought, I gotta start, I’ve got to unfollow a load of these people.

    Garett Southerton [00:34:58]:

    I 100% get that feeling.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:35:02]:

    And then what happened was things that happened in my life that had massive impact, like the loss of my father and those rule books just went out the freaking window. Like everything was off the table. When something comes in that’s that impactful. But during the process of all, I communicated with people in my audience via my DMs. I had so many people in my audience that were checking in on me. So I honestly think that had I not had that audience, that process for me that I went through would have been ten times harder because the connections I’ve made there and within that space are so supportive and so real and I’ve got people that I love all over the world and that love me. And the potential for that through an app is just I’ve just got goosebumps thinking about that.

    Garett Southerton [00:35:57]:

    Kind of crazy because it’s like there’s people that you’ve met online that have better intentions and wishes for you than people you might know in your life. And that’s sad to say, but it’s so true. And you feel it like authentically. You can feel that genuine connection. Like, I have a few people who I talk to, not daily, but every few days, just check in like you, and it’s like you feel that love just like somebody saying, hey, how are you doing? I hope your week is going well. You feel that genuine connection with somebody and it’s great because you have family members or friends who you don’t talk to for like two, three months or four months until like a holiday or they might need something from you. So, hey, how are you doing? Kind of thing. And then you have people that you meet on an app, like you said, just an app, and they’re like, have genuine intentional for you. It’s amazing to see, to be honest. It’s so great.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:36:57]:

    The potential for enriching your life is massive. And that’s what I tell people I coach. I’m like, don’t just think the links, the connections you make on here are just all revenue based and all that sort of stuff. Like I said, there’s so much opportunity out there for your business to be seen. There’s things outside of making money that are going to enrich your life. And therefore, if your life’s more enriched and you’re in a good space and you’re firing forward and you’ve got all of that support and all that richness around you, then it sets you up to the best position to succeed in what you’re aiming at. Right.

    Garett Southerton [00:37:34]:

    Something that you said, though, about when you were following so many people and it overwhelmed you because they were in a certain position. I 100% relate to that. I had that whole breakdown. I was off Instagram and social media period for like two years was like that was kind of part of it. I had a photography account at the time. I shared all my photography because I never really used social media for my business before I came in the last few years. So I use my social media for photography and fun stuff, hobbies. And I’d get that same overwhelm. Like, I should be doing this right now, I should be on video, I should be making these carousels and these posts. It made me feel like a fraud. And I’m like, oh, I guess maybe I’m not really the big deal I thought I was. Even though I’m still helping people and I still have business going well and everything, it’s just like, oh, okay, I guess maybe I should give it up and go do something different because I’m not with 100,000 followers or something like that.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:38:40]:

    That word should, I’ve recently discovered. And I’ve looked over the last two years and that whole word should and going, I should be shinier, I should be more polished, I should be this or I should be that, or I should be posting way more than I am. I really realized how toxic that word is to us as small. Such a big word. And I’ve been finding myself, like, going, oh, well, I should do. And I’m now more consciously aware of that word, should. I’m like, okay, should and what you can do today.

    Garett Southerton [00:39:16]:

    That’s a really great point. That’s such a great point.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:39:23]:

    That’s another T shirt I want to get made, actually. Should.

    Garett Southerton [00:39:26]:

    You definitely should. But you’re sorry. And even knowing that, and knowing that your energy levels, I still feel that I haven’t really consistently posted in the last few months on social media at all. And that’s because I’ve been trying to mentally prepare to come up with a new content plan so I can be more consistent and more authentic and more real. And I, like, guilt myself, like, oh, damn, I didn’t post anything today. Even though I know the plan is not to do it, it’s like, I should do it anyway. Or maybe I should just post this quick image for a story. Or maybe I should do this because X, Y, and Z said to do this. It’s like peer pressure, but business wise.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:40:10]:

    I’m feeling that pressure right now because a lot of my stuff’s been relevant to what’s going on, and I’m like but I’m not really helping people from an Instagram coaching perspective, and I’m feeling massive amounts of guilt for that. But at the same time, what’s happening has been so impactful, and my experience that I’ve been living has been impacting me and the people in my life. And I’ve seen gaps in the system through the process, and I just want to share a very real perspective of what’s what’s been happening, you know, because it’s kind of like, for example, out here of what I experienced. It’s kind of like, okay, tick your ADHD. Here’s a prescription. I’ll see you in a month. Hope it all goes.

    Garett Southerton [00:40:56]:

    Get on with your life now.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:40:57]:

    Yeah, I had to really ask the questions, so what are my next steps? So what do I need to do? What groups can I go to? And do you know any ADHD therapists? All that stuff, I had to find out myself.

    Garett Southerton [00:41:11]:

    So basically you’re shifting a lot of your content towards that to make a bigger impact for your community more than the social media part.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:41:23]:

    Yeah, I’m sort of, like, very online. I feel like mental health has always been a thing within my content right. Because I’ve suffered social media burnout in a previous job role. So I’m very aware of what that’s like. And I just thought, okay, if I’m going to do this, I need to do this in a way that’s healthy and that’s going to support me.

    Garett Southerton [00:41:44]:

    And I think that’s healthy because if you’re just like a machine posting three times a week, every week, the whole time, I know that’s, like, the best practice, right? Yeah, that’s what everybody wants you to do. But I think that’s so robotic, it’s not human. And I think people realize that or starting to realize that. Brand recognize that we don’t all have like a Gary Vee team where we can just keep going and going and going and going, document our whole life and keep going and going and going. Post on social media, this, that and that. It just doesn’t work that way anymore. And I think we’re at that cusp of like, there’s so much noise out there that people are really going to start to turn towards that quality over quantity aspect.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:42:28]:

    I feel like that’s happening. I definitely feel like that’s happening through communicating with you. I know that you’re not posting as much as you were or whatever. You’re taking a bit of a backseat. But the fact is you’re doing so much other stuff in the background away from social media that is needed for you to do to create long term success in your business. So you’re doing all of this other work, putting this podcast together and getting a structure in place and how it’s all going to work.

    Garett Southerton [00:43:00]:

    It’s not only what you see on the front the storefront, it’s like what you see behind the curtain for sure.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:43:07]:

    The coordination of all this that’s involved. This is just one thing, right. I’m aware that you have other stuff that you’re doing.

    Garett Southerton [00:43:16]:

    And then on top of all that, there’s still client work that has to be done properly at a high level for your business to keep going on.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:43:23]:

    Successfully because you got to pay your bills, right?

    Garett Southerton [00:43:26]:

    That’s the part that people always skip out on too. They always think like, oh, just post on social media five times a day, six times a day, seven times a day, who cares? Just keep doing it. You’re going to get more clients. Okay, but now what about when I got those clients? What am I supposed to do?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:43:38]:

    Yeah, because you’re one person, right? So you have to learn to prioritize really well when you’re a small business owner and you have to work out where your energy is going to best serve you because social media is energy in a big way, right? So then for more than one reason, just because it’s either the creation process and it’s the thinking process and creating that content and then loading their content and then having the conversations with people online, that’s a job in itself, right? That’s a full job.

    Garett Southerton [00:44:07]:

    Totally full time job.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:44:10]:

    Yeah. Hence why the social media managers I.

    Garett Southerton [00:44:14]:

    Know you’re at that cusp, right, of like the social media thing and mental health awareness thing and you’re not sure which direction to really go in. And I think that something that could be really cool is actually focusing your talent of social media and put that towards mental health organizations, therapists helping other people prevent burnout. And I think that could be the potential shift for you because it’s something that you’re really passionate about. It’s something you’re skilled in, and it’s something that you’re also learning while you go. And I think that is a big opportunity for you, because I don’t see too many people doing that. Yeah, I think that could be your niche that you’re going towards.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:44:57]:

    I definitely feel like it’s a thing and it’s a calling. I think these things happen in life, right, to set you up for the next part of life that you don’t know is coming, because all you’re doing is leveling up each time. It’s kind of like that get the flu. Immunity builds up. You have an anxiety disorder. You work through it with support and all the rest of it, whatever you need at that time, and then you’re up again, because the next time you experience anxiety, you know exactly what you’re doing. You know your flags that pop up, and you know what you need to do in your life to help ease it. So mental health is never, ever a weakness. It’s not in my eyes. You learn and you grow, right? And you learn and grow in ways that strengthen you, in ways that ultimately help you in life in general, but it also helps you. It helps you in business. You become more empathetic. You’re more able to read a room. You can feel when things are off.

    Garett Southerton [00:45:53]:

    I think it’s more of a superpower, if anything. Right?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:45:55]:


    Garett Southerton [00:45:56]:

    People always have pointed out, like, I’m very intricate about certain things, right? Things have to be a specific way. Some people call that OCD, some people call that something else. But for me, I think I’ve used that as my superpower in the sense of attention to detail, like in the design space, at least, right. Things that people don’t normally see that actually feel something else. Something looks too squished, and it makes people who view it, it gives them anxiety looking at it. It makes them feel cluttered and closed in, confined. Knowing certain things like that and seeing the obsessiveness of wanting to make sure everything’s airy and looking. And you want people to feel that through your design. For me, I feel like that part of my mental state has helped me become a better designer.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:46:48]:

    For sure. It would absolutely makes it absolutely perfect for what you do. Yeah, I think that it helps you with things like perception, doesn’t it? I can imagine if you’re talking to a client, you know the right questions to ask to draw out what you need to evoke that feeling for their brand.

    Garett Southerton [00:47:08]:

    I like that you mentioned it, because I’ve been on calls where people are like, oh, I’ve never been asked that. Google like a questionnaire for a website or a questionnaire for a logo. And then I’ll come to somebody and I’ll be like, well, okay, screw the the archetypes. How do you actually, like, want your client to feel when you’re done with them? How do you want them to feel about working with you? How do you want them to feel when they first understand about you beyond, oh, well, I can do my business great. It definitely does help you. I’m very analytical. I make a lot of comparisons, and I think that’s kind of part of that because people don’t normally think that way. I compared leads to Pokemon, and that’s one of my biggest videos that I did. And people are like, how did you even think of it? And I’m like, how did you not think about that?

    Chrissy Ingram [00:48:03]:

    Yeah, I always love your stories, like, your analogies that you use within your content, because it’s a great way and it’s a great spin to deliver the message, but brand runs so deep, and that’s why I think I was drawn to you. I actually listened to a podcast on you. Was it digital bosses or just with Joseph?

    Garett Southerton [00:48:23]:

    It’s digital bosses.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:48:24]:

    Yeah. So I listened to that and I listened to it, and I thought, this guy gets Brand. Like, this is the kind of language I gave you an immediate follow because I just knew that you thought about brand in a way that I thought about Brand. And I don’t know how to think about when my clients come to me. I don’t know how to think about them from anything else but a brand perspective. So I ask questions and they’re like, I’ve just got this to sell. So I don’t get it. Why do I need to know this? Yeah, I need the stuff to be.

    Garett Southerton [00:48:55]:

    Able to create my favorites when someone’s like, oh, well, I love Mercedes. Can we just do like, what Mercedes does? And I’m like, no, we can’t. Mercedes sells high end cars and you don’t. I think you’re in a different class of what people want from you. You’re not going to provide the same type of experience. You’re not that luxurious automobile to help put you in a different status symbol. You’re trying to build a business. I think it’s a little different in this sense, something that’s really cool and kind of highlights the type of person you are. When I asked you doing this podcast, is there something coming up that you want to really promote? And you told me, no, I don’t really want to promote any offers or anything like that. What I want to do is I’m going to sell a t shirt, and I want to donate the proceeds of that to charity. And I thought that was really special and cool because you have this platform here, and instead of going to sell something for yourself, you want to impact the people in Korean, people who are going through the same struggles. I would really like if you can tell people how they can get into that and help support that.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:50:06]:

    Okay. So right now, I’m sort of in the design phase of actually back to front, but this is something that I was saying on the regular, like, my partner would ask me at the end of the day, how’s your day gone? I said, oh. I said, I’m doing everything else and not the things I should be doing. So I’m just running around ADHD my head off. So that’s where that came about and I’ve just put together a mock up at the moment, but I’ve also got some other ones that are going to be mental health based. I contacted three different foundations here in Australia and every single one of them took nearly four weeks to get back to me and I chased them and all that sort of stuff. So I know that there’s an absolute strain there.

    Garett Southerton [00:50:45]:

    Where can people find, like, keep in.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:50:46]:

    Tune with this over on my Instagram channel at Redpunk Social. I’ll be sharing all information on that and as soon as I have updates, I want to get a supplier as well. Also want to find someone that can obviously post worldwide, so that may be an issue, but it’s definitely 100% something that I am doing and it’s important for me to want to do that just because some people have had smooth sounding experiences I didn’t. So I want people to know the reality of it.

    Garett Southerton [00:51:16]:

    Yeah, totally. Life is not always all sunshines and roses like we’d like, but I want to thank you so much for being on the podcast today and be on the first episode.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:51:28]:

    Yeah, I was so excited to be here, and particularly because it’s on the subject, which is such a meaningful one for me to be invited on, and.

    Garett Southerton [00:51:36]:

    I think because it’s a hard thing to talk about sometimes, being so open and vulnerable and I’m really proud of you for sharing your story.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:51:44]:

    Yeah, thank you. I mean, I’m happy to share with anyone in my audience or anyone who reaches out to me.

    Garett Southerton [00:51:53]:

    I love that so much that you’re always open, you always have an open door to help impact somebody else and help somebody else get through even the littlest or biggest things in their life. So just thank you for being you.

    Chrissy Ingram [00:52:05]:

    Yeah. I just don’t believe there should be any shame surrounding mental health and choose to lead with sharing openly and being really transparent about it all because it helps to open up the discussion. And I think if I’m one person and I’m being really honest and open about being in the social media space, and if I’m wanting to help raise awareness for mental health, if I’m not talking about my own experience that I’m currently going through, then I’m not being real. Yeah, thanks for giving me the space and allowing me to come forward and speak about it and share about it.

    Garett Southerton [00:52:43]:

    I think of a really big thanks to Christy for doing this episode. I know how hard it is to be so vulnerable and deep in a platform like this. And thank you for listening to the first episode. Make sure you check the show notes where I’ll share everything that we talked about in today’s episode, including how you could sport some great mental health organizations. I’ll catch you in the next episode. And remember, Brand intentionally.

About The Author

Garett Southerton

Garett Southerton (Garett®) is an Intentional Brand Strategist & Designer that has been a professional creative for over 18 years. He helps passionate changemakers impacting the world with their abilities through intentionality in visuals and strategy as a means to not only scale their brands, but to also cultivate a community where they can truly make a meaningful change while maintaining sustainability - making an impact without sacrificing an income.

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