World Mental Health Day is on Wednesday 10 October 2018
Hi! Happy Wednesday; whilst Wednesday is often referred to as #HumpDay with people happy to have made it half way through the traditional working week, this Wednesday is a special one as it is also World Mental Health Day, a subject close to my own heart (and head!)
Thankfully, the conversation around mental health has come along way, even in the past few years and, the more people open up about their own experiences, the more the myths and the stigma will be dispelled which can only be good news for everyone. One in four people in the UK will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives and far, far more people than that will know people who have experienced mental health issues.
There are numerous situations which can trigger episodes of mental ill health but, as many of this network are freelancers or work alone much of the time I thought that it might be helpful to share some of my top tips for keeping mentally well when working on our own…
Lists are your friends
The boundary between work and home life can be particularly blurred when working for ourselves and particularly if that means working from home (as I am now!) Do your utmost to end each working day in good time and by writing yourself a list of what you need to accomplish the following day. If like me you sometimes have moments of inspiration/blind panic in the middle of the night, keep a notebook and pen by the bed.
This one requires a lot of self-discipline particularly when we are just setting up and need to get the work in. It isn’t always possible- smartphones mean it is possible for us to be accessible 24/7 but, that isn’t healthy, research proves it isn’t the most productive way to work and…didn’t we opt to work for ourselves in order to create a better work life balance?! Do your best to make sure that for at least one evening a week make sure you do something, anything which doesn’t relate in any way to work.
30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 times a week can have a huge benefit to your physical and mental health. Wirral is chokka block with gorgeous places to walk, run, cycle and take in a gorgeous view. Blowing away the cobwebs with a walk around the marine lake (followed by a Hectors sandwich on a bench) is a sure-fire way to get me ready for action again instead of succumbing to an afternoon slump!
Working for yourself can be amazing but it is not without its drawbacks. Conversations in the office and being included in a tea round are important ways to stay socially connected. Attending networking events, seminars or training days isn’t just important in terms of getting your brand and business out there. It is really beneficial to chat with other like-minded business people who can offer support and know what it is like to own a business- the good the bad and the ugly!
BE KIND (TO YOURSELF)
You are a pretty rare (and lucky) individual if you never suffer from low mood or feelings of overwhelm or anxiety- particularly when the success of your business begins and ends with you. Listen to the way you’re feeling and consider what would make you feel better in that moment. Is it to make a list, plough through it and breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the day when you get to the bottom of the page OR, is it to take 5, make yourself a brew and give yourself a minute or two to do some stretches, some meditation or belt out one of your favourite tunes (no-ones judging!)
Caitlin Moran wrote brilliantly about this at a time when I really needed to read it; in short she suggests we ought to treat ourselves as we would a pet; Give yourself long walks, good food and a nice tickle on the tum from time to time. Your brain (and your business) will thank you for it!
I am a freelance event manager and business consultant. I am passionate about Wirral, wellbeing, mental health and supporting people to get the best from themselves and their businesses. I am currently working with the Birkenhead Business Improvement District (BID) team and this year self published a book called Time for Bed, Baby. It is based on the bedtime routine of our babies and the need for parents to nurture themselves too.
I am mum to two amazing individuals, Bethan who is 7 and Hannah who is 5.
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