Working for yourself can cause an immense amount of stress. Not only are you coping with a fluctuating income and schedule, you’re also in charge of making endless decisions, day in and day out. On good days, this level of autonomy can seem like the ultimate freedom. On bad days, you’ll feel as if you’re heading for a nervous breakdown. Given the high-pressure stakes of a self-made creative career, take extra care with your own mental health.
Many people develop their own practices and routines to feel happy and functional, but it’s also worth remembering to:
Leave The House
When you work from home, it’s tempting to sit down at your desk first thing and stay there until your eyes start to blur. Try to get some fresh air and a new perspective at least once a day. Go out for lunch. Walk around the block. Spend 30 minutes in your nearest park.
Create Your Own Rituals
The lack of structure that comes with self-employment can be exhausting. Create your own steadfast rituals to bring a sense of rhythm and consistency in your working day.
Check In With Others
Schedule a bimonthly brainstorming session with a friend. Plan a weekly work party around your kitchen table or at a nearby cafe.
Obey Your Energy Levels
One of the best things about setting your own schedule is being able to work at the times that suit you best. Don’t force yourself to stick to a 10-to-6 day just because you’ve been institutionalised to do so. If you’re an early bird, start at 8 a.m. and clock off at 4 p.m. If you know you can’t think straight until at least midday, do all your creative work from then on. If you love working on Sundays when everyone else is chilling out, work then and give yourself Mondays off.
Be A Good Boss To Yourself
You wouldn’t expect an employee to work 14-hour days and skip meals entirely, so why push yourself through the same thing? Treat yourself with kindness wherever possible. You’ll be far more effective as a result.
Tackle Self-Doubt & Low Self-Esteem Head On
Self-employment will force you to get to know yourself really well, really fast. If you find yourself consistently getting anxious about the same tasks or procrastinating on a daily basis, explore what’s at the root of this fear and self-doubt — then get to work on breaking down these thoughts through consistent, positive action and affirmations.