This World Mental Health Day we’re revisiting one of the most important questions we ask our Featured Freelancers… “What do you do to help maintain a positive mental wellbeing?”.
Being freelance is wonderful; you have the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want, pick your clients and projects, and charge your worth. On the other hand, having no “boss” or co-workers means we have to be hyper-aware of our own mental health; checking in on ourselves and how we’re feeling, scheduling meaningful breaks and putting in boundaries to ensure we don’t burn out.
If you’re in need of some inspiration on how you can protect your mental health from likeminded peers who are in the same boat as you, read on.
If I’m having a ‘funky brain’ day when I’m feeling totally wiped out, I’ll take it slow. I’ll either take regular breaks or a nice long one with a nap.
If I just need some time away from my laptop, I’ll stick on a true-crime podcast (Morbid is my go-to at the moment, it’s great) and do housework.
I run! Whenever I feel slightly overwhelmed, or I just can’t find the words, and staring at a blank page for too long is driving me crazy, I go for a run. Well, it’s more like a slow jog, but it gets me out and completely changes my mood and thinking.
I also walk my dogs and, if I’m honest, find dog walkers to be some of the friendliest and chattiest people around, so there is always someone to talk to about something completely unrelated to work. This distraction is often just what I need and can sometimes provide clarity and a solution to the problem I have been struggling with!
I love cycling and surfing, so I take at least 2-3 days out of each month to spend on these activities and re-energise. These days are non-negotiable.
During the day-to-day I will “ground myself” if life begins to become stressful – yes even coaches get stressed!! – the process is simple; I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I am safe, my family are safe, and nothing can hurt me where I stand/sit right in this moment. This has a huge calming effect. And when I am calm, I can think more clearly and am more productive.
I try to keep fit and run a couple times a week. I finally got a dog last year, after putting it off for ages and relenting to the pressure from the kids. This means lots of walks and is great for socialising and just getting some distance from work. You end up meeting lots of neighbours and it opens up this whole new social group. It’s lovely. I’m quite a social creature and like getting to know people so I get a lot out of networking too, whether it be formal groups of coffee dates.
I’m a marathon runner and general gym bunny. Not the super skinny muscled-up kind – I still love junk food! But I love the goal setting that comes with marathon training, and the camaraderie/endorphin kick that comes with group exercise classes.
I enjoy being with my boys, my youngest loves spending time with me. I’m a massive Bolton Wanderers fan so during the football season going to yell at a bunch of men on a football pitch is great for my mental health.
Keeping fit helps me maintain a positive wellbeing. I have a cocker spaniel which forces me out of the house for at least an hour a day and I’m part of two football teams.
Another big help has been the DMU (Digital Marketing Union). It’s a small community specifically for digital marketers but it’s full of the kindest and most helpful people I’ve ever met.
I think learning to outsource is a big thing to help with the overwhelm and that work/life balance. Also realising that you don’t have to take all the work, especially if it doesn’t align with your business.
8 years into my business I have finally started to find some type of routine by mostly working during the day, leaving the evenings and weekends free for my family and friends and myself. It doesn’t always work that way as I can often be on call during website launches or if a website goes down but I love being able to choose the hours that I work; often finishing early on a Friday for lunch with the girls who all finish early on a Friday!
These are just a small selection of tips from our Featured Freelancer interviews on how some of our members try to take care of their mental health. To see more tips not just on this but the whole world of freelancing, get to know and connect with more freelance heroes here.
What is World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day is about raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for everyone’s mental health.
It’s also a chance to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to get help if you are struggling.
To find out more about World Mental Health Day and to support the Mental Health Foundation, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk.