Freelancer, self employed, owner of a business – it can be tough to manage your mental health. Especially when you are on social media a lot, burnt out or consuming a lot of negative content. So how do we fix that?
Well, there is no “formula” as such to help you actually manage your mental health. However, there are a few things that I have implemented in my own business that have helped me prioritise things.
When you work for yourself, it is easy to want to be on call at any time of the day. If you are someone who answers that late night DM or email then this is for you. If you do not set time limits, burnout sneaks up on you without even knowing. Not setting boundaries is the quickest way to feeling like the whole world and his dog wants a piece of what you are offering.
Make yourself exclusive. Decide upon your working hours and stick to them. You started a business so that it would work around your own life – so make it do just that. If you don’t have any childcare on a Friday… take Friday off. Love binging on Netflix in the evening without a care in the world – turn off your notifications. Need to work later into the evening and have every morning off – do it.
Setting boundaries can help you manage your mental health because they give you permission to stop working. If you had an “employed” job – once you left the office, you would leave whatever needed to be done until the next morning. Chances are that you would go home, chill out and forget about it until tomorrow. When you work for yourself, you may think that you are not allowed to do this… but quite simply… you are!
Turning off your notifications can help you manage your mental health…
You may dread reading this, but turn off your notifications! Imagine you have set those boundaries, said you are unavailable after 5.30pm but then BOOM. Sandra from @yougottoseethis1985 on Instagram is messaging you repeatedly. She has liked every single image from the last 5 years and now wonders if she can “pick your brains.” So you saw all of those notifications pop up on your phone and now you are mad.
Do you delete them from your phone? Maybe you spend a while seething about how they have distracted you from relaxing. Perhaps you start doing something else to stop thinking about it – but you can’t. Imagine avoiding all of that because you turned off your notifications.
Ultimately, it is little acts of self care that can lead to us being able to manage our mental health, especially when we are self employed or a freelancer. When you are ready, I would love to help lighten your load. Click here to find out how I can help.
Plan your time out and adjust
Give yourself necessary breaks, lunchtimes are still very much needed when you run your own business. Plan to take that time out to do something you enjoy. A change of scenery, perhaps a walk around the area where you work, even if that is happens to be working from home. Whenever I am feeling stale, I pop along to my favourite coffee shop with my laptop and get a blog post written… or some content planned.
When you work in the same four walls consistently, a different view can offer a fresh perspective on some of the more mundane tasks in your business. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the amount of tasks you have on your to do list – prioritise three and get those done. Tick them off and congratulate yourself for staying on task long enough to get them sorted.
If I have a task that I don’t particularly enjoy, I give myself 1-2 hours to get it done and then I do something else that is totally different. My guilty pleasure is an episode of David Attenborough, so I will watch one and take some time out. Then I come back to the to do list with a refreshed frame of mind.
How to manage your mental health with self care
Other things that I have implemented in my own life as a business owner are forms of self care. This of course will be different for everyone. For me, that looks like yoga sessions to completely unwind or a (slow) run around the village with a business podcast in my ears. Sometimes when I have had a deep dive content brainstorming session, I like to watch a daft kids movie with my six year old to totally forget about all the information I have just researched.
For other business owners that I know, self care can look like getting their roots done with a glass of Prosecco at the salon or walking around a museum in the middle of the day. All forms of self care are totally acceptable and you do not need permission to do whatever you need to in order to manage your mental health.
These little things don’t even have to be expensive either. But in order to feel the benefit, try to do them more often than not. Give yourself that space, that time that your overworked brain deserves. This then builds up and helps you get that balance that we so desperately crave.
Outsource what you can and for those things that only you can do, be kinder to yourself. You are doing the best job you can.