How Handling of My Mental Health Prompted Me to Create My Business

How Handling of My Mental Health Prompted Me to Create My Business

Day By Day is more than just a brand to me. It represents a new perspective, a sense of encouragement and eventually, the embodiment of a well-being lifestyle. It means slowing down and taking things one day at a time. 

In the past, I often felt a simmering sense of urgency for everything I wanted to do and not having enough time. Like many people, my mind was often too focused on the future or stuck in the past. I was not present. Hypersensitive to everything and in a dark place mentally, I could no longer recognize myself. I was literally crying. All. The. Time. 

I kept myself busy for so long, brushing off any negative feelings, and I never truly tended to my self care. Over time my bottled up emotions just couldn’t be held down any longer. I didn’t understand what was happening to me but it felt like putting Mentos in Diet Coke - I just blew up.

Growing up there were goals I’d set my mind to achieving in the future:

First, I loved being creative. Art and fashion were my expressive outlets. From the beginning I was determined to study fashion design, and luckily my traditional Taiwanese family was very supportive of my career choice. They believed in me, and I’m forever grateful for this. In 2015 I graduated with a degree in Fashion Design & Technology. 

Secondly, I always wanted to be a business owner, just like my father and grandfather. In a way entrepreneurship is all I’ve ever known. I think of it as carving my own career path and being my own boss is pretty badass. My father was someone I looked up to as a businessman and I felt he had my back no matter what, and so I could live boldly and take risks.

Dad and Eugenie

Unfortunately, the same year I graduated from university, my father passed away from cancer. Prior to his death I was in denial about how sick he was, refusing to believe anything could keep my father, my hero, down. Pushing all my fears deep down, I felt I needed to be strong for my family, that as the eldest I had to be an unwavering pillar of support.

Fresh out of school with an urge to start my life and career, I was faced with a storm of mixed emotions. I had planned to live abroad in Paris for some time and in fact, I had my visa all ready to go. I boarded the plane to Paris with the optimistic belief that when I would return home for the holidays, my father would be better. A month later, he passed away. Before I could say my final goodbyes.

I thought I knew pain after the death of my grandparents during my youth, but losing my father was so much worse, my sense of security had vanished. I was flailing. My world had turned upside down and my instinctual response was to run away from my grief and to hide my sadness. To me the meaning of Life was never the same after that.

Desperate to keep myself occupied, I spent 2 years in Paris working in the fashion industry. Upon returning home to Vancouver I had a strong ambition to start a business. Just like I had told my father I would. In 2018, my first brand, E.LIN Collective, was created. I buried myself in projects and learning how to run a new startup, developing and learning as E.LIN Collective grew. It was an exciting time connecting with so many amazing creatives in Vancouver, collaborating in cool projects, and representing at every event, show, and market in the city. The intense pace of the industry and running the business took its toll, and not taking time to recuperate impacted my overall health. By the end of 2019 I was feeling burned out and confused about my career choice, life goals, and passions.

E.LIN Collective 1st collection

Then, came the pandemic. We were all forced to slow down. To take stock. To evaluate. Alone with my thoughts, all the suppressed emotions, anxieties and insecurities came flooding back. It was then that I realized how much I had neglected my mental health. My overall health. It was time to pause E.LIN Collective and focus on wellness. 

Mental health was not commonly talked about in Asian families, and it took time to accept that I needed to talk to a therapist. I learned how important it is to check-in with myself. To take the time to assess how I’m feeling. To address my needs so as to be more present in every moment with a goal towards an improved mood, energy and focus. It wasn’t (and still isn’t!) easy getting into a habit of daily reflection. I certainly have my lapses, but it’s a process and the effort truly counts. 

I was not honouring my inner child. I neglected her by not taking the time to grieve the loss of my father, grandmother and grandfather. We were getting triggered frequently in unexpected ways, impacting my ability to be productive, to regulate emotions, or to build self-esteem. 

It takes time to heal old wounds and rehabilitate our minds. By blocking off time for self-reflection, journaling, meditation, and rest we honour our inner self. It allows us to refuel the self-love our mind, body and soul craves. It’s especially important with our endlessly busy schedules that all seem to end in a blur. 

With regular sessions with my therapist and by proactively practicing self care, I gradually started noticing improvements to my mental state. Understanding the importance of taking care of my well-being, I want to continue to create an environment where it’s natural to focus on wellness. 

My life experience and mental health journey prompted me to start my next journey; Day By Day. I have a passion to accentuate a lifestyle of well-being. If in any slight way, I can help people build their space of healing, compassion, love and joy, I will consider this a success. It’s easy to live but how precious it is to be alive! Life is short and unpredictable, so be patient with yourself and let’s take it day by day.

With Care,
Founder of Day By Day

On the peak

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1 comment

I admire your transformation and your personal growth from hidden grief to the happiness of inner peace. Loving kindness and compassion are the sources of creativity.

Jasper Chen

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