Switching off is something a lot of creatives find hard to do.
It’s hard for a lot of self-employed people to do.
How many times has a thought popped into your head only for it to consume you until the early hours of the morning.
I have found it to be a be a blessing and a curse. Running your own business can be a calling, but can lead to a lot of anxiety and fretful nights. I have spent many hours and days fretting over concepts and feverishly making notes, updating or refining small updates you’ve probably haven’t noticed. That’s why I take my mental health and mindfulness very seriously.
There has been an explosion in mindfulness of late; we are all starting to recognise that mental health should be one of the most important things to consider, when thinking about going out on your own. A whopping 30% of entrepreneurs suffer from depression or anxiety and it’s completely understandable.
"We’re programmed and told repeatedly that as leaders we have to be strong, we have to show no weakness. That tone and that dynamic is incredibly hard to deal with, especially against the backdrop of huge amounts of stress and anxiety that gets generated by start-ups and the start-up world."
- Brad Feld an entrepreneur and investor with Denver-based Foundry group.
We have a lot to worry about, whether your stressing about sales or profits during a slow period or comparing yourself to a myriad of your successful peers;it’s inevitable that you’ll end up having a sleepless night or a bit of a wobble.
During a personal lull I came across Headspace, a studio and app dedicated to mindfulness and wellbeing, founded by Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe
After reviewing their practices (and taking a few clensing breaths), we have come up with a few tips to help with the business blues.
Productivity Is Relative
Your idea of being productive could be as simple as locking yourself in a room for three solid days and relaxing the remaining four, or working for five hours, with breaks every day.
"I always had the uncomfortable feeling that if I wasn’t sitting in front of a computer typing, I was wasting my time — but I pushed myself to take a wider view of what was “productive.” Time spent with my family and friends was never wasted" - Gretchen Rubin
The way you work, is personal to you. If you feel the cold sweats approaching, stop. Take a breath, if you need a helping hand, ask for it. Speaking to a peer or mentor could give you an unbiased, fresh look on the issues. Discussion is the cornerstone of any business and can provide you with a new perspective and direction that you hadn’t considered before.
Take A Walk…
Have a deadline fast approaching? Feel like you haven’t enough hours in the day? Walking away from your desk seems counterproductive but taking a contemplative walk can help you to focus and reduce the background noise that’s clouding your judgement.
"We need space to be productive, we need places to go to be free" - Laure Lacornette
Start your walk by taking three deep, cleansing breaths. Start your walk a little slower than normal and take notice of the sensation and feel of your feet on the ground, if you get distracted, bring your attention back to your feet until your mind is clear and focused, ready to tackle your deadlines with ease.
Understand Your Internal Dialogue
Sometimes your internal dialogue is your own worst enemy. Stress and anxiety manifest when negative, damaging thoughts take hold and wreak havoc on your productivity and psyche. One way to counteract this is by applying cognitive behavioural therapies.
"When there is complete peace of mind when the outer world is chaotic you will truly be free." - Matthew Donnelly
Cognitive behavioural therapies or CBT is the practice of changing your behaviours, thinking and emotions by understanding how these interact with one another.
When you identify what negative thoughts, physical reactions and emotions you react adversely to, you can work to change your mind set by changing your behaviour.
if a project is causing you a physical headache or pains, don’t ignore them. Take a step back, work on something else and return to the project, making a change to the way you react to negative stimuli will find that those insurmountable tasks are a little easier to sink your teeth into later.
Remember Why You Started
You’ve gotten this far. You’ve set up your business, you believed in your creative idea and that will prevail. Embrace the change in your new lifestyle.
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy" - Norman Vincent Peale
The way you have chosen to work is more than an opportunity to become the next Richard Branson; it’s an opportunity to grow personally and you should welcome the change (however scary it may be) and grow from it.
These are a few tips to help you take control of your workload; at The Study Room we work hard to create a dialogue for all creatives, whether they are long established, or if they are just starting out. Starting out on your own is never easy, if you feel like your workload is too much; seek help.
Do you have any tips to share with other creatives who are suffering from the business blues?
Share them below!
Your creative work should not be at the cost of your mental health. The Study Room is passionate about keeping the discussion going for everyone and mental health is s huge part of that. Below are a few organisations that can help you through the really tough times.
We will be working on events throughout the year to help combat the loneliness that can accompany working for yourself.
Stay in the loop and stay strong.