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Why your mental health matters, now more than ever

Written by

Jessica Marrazzo

Posted on

August 3, 2021

There’s no doubt that our mental health has suffered over the past few months. Many of us have been feeling stressed out, and it’s not all down to the pandemic. There’s so much uncertainty seeping into our everyday lives, from sluggish economies and changing restrictions to political uncertainty and new chapters. As a result, the Deloitte Global 2021 Milennial and Gen Z survey revealed how the younger generations are reporting the highest rates of anxiety and depression.

It’s no secret that freelancers and consultants aren’t immune to the pressures of running their own businesses either. In fact, 1 in 6 workers are working through mental health issues, including excessive stress levels. And yet when life throws challenges our way, it’s often our own wellbeing and mental health that takes a backseat as we prioritise work, almost like an instinctive fight-or-flight response.

How can we make it better?

When so many people within modern business are feeling the pressure, it’s easy to see how easily that stress and anxiety can migrate from our everyday lives and into our work. As independent workers, it’s important for us to look at our mental health objectively, from both an employer’s and an employee’s perspective.

Recognise the root causes

What is making you most stressed and anxious right now? By identifying the root causes, you’ll be able to set boundaries that alert you when you’re pushing yourself too far. 

Some examples might be:

  • Working long hours with no breaks
  • Managing unrealistic expectations
  • Agreeing to deadlines that don’t give you enough time to do the work properly
  • High-pressured working environments
  • Negative working relationships
  • Feeling lonely when working independently
  • An acute feeling of job insecurity
  • Constantly managing change

Take care of yourself

Then, think practically about how you can take steps to improve your working environment. If we take the above examples as a starting point, you might look at making the below changes to your business:

  • Set calendar reminders to take a lunch break every day
  • Negotiate deadlines and project scopes that work for both you and your client, so that you can deliver the best work possible
  • Set core hours where you’ll respond to clients and manage their needs, avoiding creating an “always-on” culture for yourself
  • Make plans to deal with project delays early (and learn to spot the signs)
  • Make a note of the clients that you most enjoy working with, and the ones that make you feel most stressed. Are you able to change the balance of who you work with, or the types of companies you might want to choose to work with in future?
  • Join a freelance community where you can meet other people that understand your situation
  • Spread your risk by working with multiple clients on smaller projects

It’s all about taking small steps to improve your day-to-day and lighten your mental load. According to the FSB, doing so can increase productivity, boost profits and reduce business costs as well as improving your personal morale and performance.

Recognising and talking about your mental health is not a sign of weakness, it’s a chance to get to know yourself better. Here at Dweet, we believe in valuing community over commerce, creating a safe place where you can connect and have those conversations with people who really get it. We’d love for you to join our growing community to provide just that – sign up here.

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