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Self-employment and self-care how to combine the two

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and what a way to start it other than to wake up with a huge (seemingly never ending) to do list and feelings of immense overwhelm. I’m talking nausea, feeling tearful and losing the ability to focus on anything. For me this is rather a rare occurrence but highlighted to me why the need for self-care is so important for everybody, but I think self-employment comes with its own added pressures.

As a self-employed person and mum my head is always in a whirr of what I need to do for my clients, how will I get their messages out there, what is the best vehicle to do this and so on. Then on the business side I’m trying to come up with blog ideas, post on social media, drum up new business and that’s without the day-to-day stuff of what to eat, keeping on top of all the wild things school activities, trying to be a good friend, staying fit, drinking enough water the list just goes on and on.

When I felt like my brain would explode this morning, I realised that my self-care had been a bit lacking lately. I’m not going to talk about my usual exercising, meditating, journaling spiel as I have been doing all of those things, so I’ve been considering what I have done today to help calm the feeling.

1. I’ve been honest about it. I told my husband how I was feeling, shared on social asking for tips and advice and even shared with clients that I had meetings scheduled with. Just saying how I was feeling helped.

2. Looking at my to-do list was making the overwhelming feeling intensify, so I took 10 minutes out to break it down into days. This made things feel much more manageable as instead of looking at a two-page list I was now looking at just a few things that needed doing today.

3. I delegated some of the mental load to my husband, as there were things on my list that I tend to do that he can easily do. He was more than happy with the delegation. It also made me realise how much stuff I insist on doing that I don’t need to be doing.

4. I recognised which parts of my self-care had slipped and recognised a couple of things. I used to book the odd night in a hotel alone, which I haven’t done for a while, and I haven’t been to a sound bath for ages (which really relaxes me) so I am looking into adding both of those things back into my life.

5. My friend sent me a link to a post from Anna Mathur and I followed some of the steps listed in there to help with overwhelm and prioritising, they were:

· Ditch it. So, I looked at things I could totally get rid of. For me I decided that for this week pitching my freelance writing would need to go

· Downgrade it. This referred to changing my expectations to be in line with my resources and energy.

· Delegate it. That’s what I did by asking my husband to take on some of the lit for me.

· Delay it. I took a look at what could be done another day, week, or month.

What are your tips for times like these?

Rebecca Slater is a PR Consultant with more than 20 years public relations experience. She is based in Staffordshire and provides support to businesses all over the country.

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