How This Female Founder Coped With Burnout & Birthed A New Brand In The Process
Things look pretty good to the outside world when you’re the young, successful, and beautiful entrepreneur behind a buzzy, multi-million dollar brand. But that old cliché of it being lonely at the top isn’t far from the truth. Venus et Fleur founder Seema Bansal Chadha found that just as her professional life was booming in 2016, her mental and physical health went into a tailspin. She set a frenetic pace for herself in her early days at the luxe eternity rose company, and started experiencing burnout as a result.
Burnout among entrepreneurs, especially female founders, is a common phenomenon that threatens to derail their hard-won success. “I was unmotivated and tired all the time. I was working all day but that’s all I had in me. I wasn’t taking care of my body or mind and wasn’t treating my relationships and social life with any care. I was just depleted,” she tells TZR.
During this time, Los Angeles-based Bansal Chadha noticed that she kept clicking on the Calm app on her phone, a meditation tool that features short, guided meditation sessions. “After I would do them, I would feel a hundred times better — more motivated and less sluggish and anxious.” That’s when she started exploring various forms of meditation as a coping mechanism.
What Bansal Chadha discovered didn’t just help her cope, but enabled her to thrive — starting an entirely new brand called Chiji, a collection of candles studded with energy crystals. As she discovered the power of crystals to influence her mood and mind, she scoured for elegant crystal objets d’art, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. As a result, she started Chiji in 2019 more so for her own consumption.
Various forms of meditation are now central to her life and routine, and have changed the way she responds to challenges. “I was very reactive and little things would get to me. With these practices, it takes me a while to really get upset, and they’ve helped me turn down that reactive type of mind.” She’s curated a custom meditation routine, which includes some forms on a daily basis and some less frequently. “Coming from a South Asian culture, prayers and rituals were not new to me, and this was my way of creating that same practice in my own sense, in a spiritual rather than religious way,” she says. Below, Bansal Chadha shares with TZR the different facets that make up her meditation practice.
Breathwork & Crystal Meditation
The foundation of Bansal Chadha’s practice is a daily breathwork meditation session. Though it takes very little time out of her busy schedule, it has an oversized impact on her mood and mind. She streams 10-minute gratitude sessions on the Calm app, and typically fits them in between morning meetings. “Even five minutes can make a huge difference and gets me in a really good state of mind. I’m calmer, less reactive, and I get a lot more done,” she says.
Even five minutes can make a huge difference and gets me in a really good state of mind. I’m calmer, less reactive, and I get a lot more done
Accompanying these breathwork sessions are a variety of crystal accoutrements. “I love crystals because they work with the energy field in your body — use [its] energy to relax, energize, or help you manifest whatever energy [it’s] promoting,” she says. For each meditation she holds on to loose crystals, lights a Chiji candle, and always has an array of crystal bracelets around her wrists.
Her choice of crystal of the day depends on her to-do list and how she’s feeling. “I use amethyst when I’m anxious or stressed out, and if I want to promote self-care when I’m feeling low, I reach for rose quartz. I meditate on moonstone, known to be the fertility stone, anytime I want to birth a new project into the world.” But, she’s quick to clarify that it’s not just holding on to a crystal that brings about change, it’s about setting the intention and focusing on that in each meditation.
Journaling, Intention-Setting & Manifestation
Bansal Chadha started creating vision boards at 18: “It was such a great outlet to get my thoughts and aspirations in a visual sense on one board.” Later, at her family’s plumbing and lighting design business, her father taught her how to draw and note scale and material. "I took this simple practice and put it towards anything I wanted to create in my life,” she says.
Today, she has not one but three journaling habits rooted in these early practices. When ideas for new products come to her, she illustrates them right away, noting the individual components she’d like to have and what materials she would like them to be made of. Once every quarter, she does a manifestation and intention-setting session with visualization. Making sure she’s alone, she creates a calm environment with music and low lighting that’s conducive to creative flow, and starts with a long breathwork meditation. Then, she goes through everything she’s drawn over the past months, redrawing the ideas in more detail. “When I draw an idea I have, I see it come to life. It makes it real, attainable, and seems possible that I can physically create it,” she says.
Journaling practice number two is a monthly goal-setting act, where she notes her targets and the concrete steps in how she’s going to achieve them. Goals are divided into four categories: professional, personal, life and wellness, and other. “I find if you’re constantly writing something down as a goal, it starts to become achievable. If a goal is large and takes time to accomplish, you may not even notice the small steps you’ve taken to get there. Sometimes, you’re almost there, and seeing it written down with each step crossed off inspires you not to give up.”
Bansal Chadha’s last journaling endeavor is a daily one, using The Happiness Planner to set an intention for the day and write a to-do list. “It’s not every day that I’m going to hit all those things, but it helps me realize how many tasks I have to get done and it’s exciting to cross them off.” The journal also has sections to jot down what she’s grateful for, a roundup of how the day went, and how to improve. She feels analyzing these thoughts and writing them down sets her day up for success. “Sometimes it’s kind of redundant, you’re saying the same things, while some days you have so much to write. I love to see things on paper. Putting pen to paper is such a powerful feeling.”
Bansal Chadha loves emerging recharged from a sound bath, a session in which a practitioner strikes or strokes gongs, bowls, and chimes to produce sounds of different depths, frequencies, and energies. “I discovered sound healing during my research into different types of meditation; [I] found it to be a really beautiful way to turn off my mind and noticed how much I enjoyed the aftermath. It really boosts my creativity and sense of calm.”
Pre-Covid, Bansal Chadha attended them in person; one memorable one was hosted on a beach by sound healer Susy Markoe Schieffelin. “It was so beautiful with the sounds of the water, I felt the energy so strongly.” These days, she does online sessions or listens to sound bath music on SoundCloud or YouTube. “I usually tune into a sound bath at a new moon or a full moon. It’s a great time to tap into that energy, it’s such a good recharge for mind and soul.”
And you're in luck, the next full moon is January 28. Take time for yourself, even for a ten minutes, to slow down and reset. Your mind, and body, will thank you.
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