I’ve been curious about mental health for a long time, even before I really knew what it was. And I believe that’s where the problem lies for most people. The thing is, mental health is not just restricted to those with a mental illness; yet by not taking care of your mental health, you will be more susceptible to mental illness. It’s such a shame how much of a taboo mental health and mental illness is, because the more we talk about it openly, the more we can spread awareness and be healthier. After all, how can you look after your mental health, if you’re not really sure what that is?
Since Rachel always gives such amazing small business advice and to celebrate World Mental Health day, today I am bringing you 3 tips for fellow creatives and freelancers on how to look after your mental health. Although I’m targeting these tips towards creatives, really they’re fairly versatile and could be applied whatever you do, so no need to tune out if you’re not currently running your own mini empire!
1. Achieving a work–life balance is key. You may love what you do as a creative, but even us small business owners need to remember that our mental health will thrive with a balanced lifestyle. This means creating reasonable working hours with sufficient breaks; days off every week and holiday time. If you immerse yourself in non-stop work, you’re depriving yourself of the time you need as a human being for me-time; physical activity; social contact and outside hobbies. You might be incredibly ambitious and that’s fantastic, but to function well you’re going to need a good mixture of all these things. You might find it hard to justify time off when you’re self-employed. It could help you to think about how in law, workers’ rights are considered basic human rights. We are generally outraged when we hear about unfair working conditions, so do not be an unfair employer to yourself just because of your ambition! It may be hard work but you need to be a good boss, as well as your own best friend to achieve strong mental health.
2. Get out every day. Working from home can be lovely. It’s comfortable, it makes financial sense and you have everything you need. Despite all that though, staying at home all day can feel isolating or claustrophobic. You can combat those feelings by going out every day. You may not have a particular need to go out on some days, but your mental health will improve if you make getting out part of your daily routine. Even a short stroll round the block or in town counts.
3. Find a community. Building a new business is exciting. It could also feel daunting and alienating, but it doesn’t have to be. There will be other people who are doing similar things to you. They might not be doing exactly the same thing, but if they are doing something similar, chances are you will go through similar struggles and be able to bond over how exhilarating and exhausting the whole thing is. Meet up with these people. Stay connected. Keep on meeting up with them and build connections with the people you click with. Before you know it you’ll have acquired a bunch of cool, inspiring new friends and look what you have – a support system! Wow, go you! Support systems are amazing to keep your mind stimulated, make you feel less alone and stronger mentally. They’re a super little boost of all sorts of positivity and supporting these people back will help you feel a whole lot more confident too. I joined a team called London Local and they morphed from strangers into good friends in a matter of a few months. They help me feel connected to the world in a different way than I would if I was plugging away at Shoshy Cadoodle® totally solo! Don’t forget to stay in touch with your old friends, your family and basically anyone who is a positive influence in your life.
I wish you all the very best and happy World Mental Health Day to everyone! Have a good one.