How to Prioritize Mental Health When You Are Your Own Boss
The pandemic has shined a harsh light on the state of mental health and wellness in the United States. The workforce has been forced to adjust to working from home and juggle remote work with childcare, virtual school, and family obligations. Everyone has learned to adapt, in one way or another, to a new normal. And, while more companies develop ways incorporate mental health and wellness into employee programs, the self-employed are being left behind.
According to a recent Mind Share study, researchers have identified a few key factors that have negatively impacted the mental health of the self-employed. Out of 2,000 self-employed individuals who responded to a survey:
44% experience financial stress
29% said working alone had a negative effect on their health
28% are concerned about having too much work
27% feel like they can’t show weakness
Traditionally, individuals have taken the self-employment leap in an effort to gain flexibility, be independent, and maximize their earnings. But they can find themselves overwhelmed with the stress that comes along with being their own boss, controller, financial manager, and support staff. Ultimately, they may find themselves lacking the operational and mental health resources that a W-2 provides.
Despite these mental health challenges, 85% of self-employed individuals still believe that self-employment is the best choice for their overall wellbeing. So in an effort to alleviate some of the impacts, we’ve compiled a list of ways the self-employed can prioritize mental health while also building a successful business-of-one.
Create Work Life Balance
When working for someone else you have a clearly defined work schedule. But, as a self-employed professional, it is often hard to create balance and dictate your own office hours. According to a recent Gallup poll,
- 49% of self-employed individuals report working more than 44 hours in a typical week
- 26% said they work more than 60 hours a week on average (compared to 61% of employees who average 44 hours or less per week)
- Many self-employed individuals also tend to be available for their business 24/7, with no clearly defined days off each week
Taking time for yourself, for your family, is an important step in maintaining your mental health.
It’s been scientifically proven that mental and physical health are connected. Exercising can help to maintain your physical health. And the better you feel physically, the more likely you are to feel well mentally. So, look to relieve stress by boosting endorphin levels, reducing tension, and improving your mood overall.
Do something you enjoy. Whether that is fishing, reading a good book, or taking mid-day walks, it is important to do things solely for the sake of enjoyment. This helps validate all of your hard work. It can also boost your mood, reduce stress, and help you stay motivated. Taking time away from your business and taking time for yourself can make you more focused and productive.
If you’re extroverted, find time to connect with friends, family, peers, and other business owners. Develop a social support network. Talk. Laugh. Collaborate. Even vent your worries and frustrations. Isolation and loneliness are the leading causes of depression. And having a social support system helps people cope with stress. People with a strong social support group tend to have fewer overall health issues. And studies have shown that having a wide social network leads to increased self-esteem and a feeling of having more control over one’s life.
Identify & Eliminate Stressors
As a business owner, there may be a number of things causing you stress. Maybe your company books aren’t in order. Or maybe you are behind in filing your taxes. You might be worried about finances. Worried about having enough money to continue business operations, plan for retirement, and cover all your expenses. Don’t let finances be a burden. Our team can help you get your everything in order and maximize your business finances, so you never have to stress about them again. Schedule a call with a Formations expert today.
And remember, it’s not enough to recognize that you may be struggling with mental health. Make yourself a priority. After all, you are the boss!
If you are struggling with mental health, you are not alone. Here are some programs and resources to reach out to:
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness – Visit https://www.nami.org/, Call 800-950-6264 or send an email to [email protected]
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
- A Mindful State – Visit https://amindfulstate.org/