Booth Andrews focused on helping others based on her own hard lessons learned
“My life has been a crash course in stress, burnout, trauma, and mental illness,” she says, adding that it was “a course that almost cost me my life.”
“Our bodies are a restorable well, but not an inexhaustible reservoir,” Booth Andrews says. It’s something she knows firsthand as described in the “My Story” section of her website. Today, Andrews is focused on helping others with the hard lessons that she has learned over the past decade or more.
“My life has been a crash course in stress, burnout, trauma, and mental illness,” she says, adding that it was “a course that almost cost me my life.” At age 40, she was the CEO of a $5 million non-profit, a mom of three, a community leader, and a triathlete. Just three years later, she was unemployed, broke, divorced, severely ill, and separated from her community.
“I had been clinically depressed and anxious, battling PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), self-medicating with compulsive spending, wine, coffee, wine, and more coffee, and surviving only with the assistance of prescribed antidepressant, anti-anxiety and sleep medications for three years before I hit my breaking point in 2015. But I had been pushing my body and mind for decades,,” Andrews explains.
As a child and a professional, Andrews learned to suck it up, push through obstacles, persevere regardless of the cost, over-rely on her mental capacity, and ignore her basic human needs. She viewed her body as something that was supposed to do what she told it to do and emotions as potential liabilities. “The irony is that so many of the ways we have been taught to cope or perform or just be in the world are the very things that are making us ill.”
Noting that men often have a tougher time than women with their emotions because of cultural conditioning and pressure not to show how they are feeling, she added, “We don’t get to pick which emotions we feel. If we stuff them down, it takes a toll.”
“We must learn to embrace what makes us human,” Andrews says. “Passion and purpose are not enough to sustain us. Our bodies start breaking down from the constant flood of stress hormones. Overdrive becomes a natural thing, but it’s blowing up our nervous system and bodies.”
Today, through The Booth Andrews Company and other work with organizations like the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) and the Alliance for Better Nonprofits (ABN), she’s become a strong advocate for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The company offers:
- Corporate workshops and keynote speeches;
- A texting subscription that includes weekly prompts and links to resources delivered straight to your phone;
- An online course that provides six foundational steps for staying connected and calibrated so that individuals can recover from stress, prevent burnout, and expand their capacity for impact;
- A podcast and biweekly newsletter;
- Individual and group coaching;
- Retreats for women entrepreneurs (with the next one being planned for 2024)
Her recovery has been what she describes as a day-by-day process. In 2016, she started teaching KEC’s CO.STARTER classes and later began coordinating the organization’s monthly Women in Entrepreneurship coffees. Andrews started her public speaking and burnout coaching effort in 2018, joined Morehous Legal Group as Of Counsel in 2019, and co-led an all-women mentor team for KEC’s annual “What’s the Big Idea? Pitch Competition.” for the last five years. She has also been a consultant and trainer for ABN for the last seven years.
By the summer of 2019, her mental illness was officially declared in remission, and she was able to wean off of the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication that she had been taking for eight years in 2020.
“I am still healing. I am still learning to be in my body,” Andrews says. “I expect that I will spend the rest of my life returning to the person I came here to be. But because of what I have learned along the way, I have an incredible toolbox of resources, knowledge and practices that allow me to navigate the world, stay well, and still have a positive impact on the people around me.”
Today, her recovery is tied, at least in part, to the new purpose that she feels so strongly about and embraces so fully. “Helping people reclaim the power of being human, in all of its complexity and its capacity for restoration and repair.”
That’s what she has learned to do, and Andrews wants to help others do so, too.