How creatives can combat 4 common mental health myths

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How creatives can combat 4 common mental health myths

 

Have you been feeling stuck in a rut? Drawing blanks in your creative meetings? Feeling overwhelmed by everyday work tasks you never used to think twice about?

 

Working in the creative industry has many benefits, but like any profession, it also has challenges. Whether you work in-house, for an agency or as a freelancer, the nature of creative work can be demanding and stressful.

 

Creatives are constantly battling with client expectations, deadlines and the pressure to always be ‘on’. So, if you think you’re struggling with your mental health, know you’re not alone. In fact, people working in the creative industries are three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the general public.

 

Tackling misunderstandings

 

We’re all told to focus on self-care and nurture our mental well-being. But we know that common myths and misconceptions can get in the way of us reaching out for a helping hand.

 

Let’s bust those myths…

 

Myth 1: it won’t affect me

 

One in four people will experience a mental health problem yearly in the UK. So, it’s safe to say mental health issues don’t discriminate — and they can present themselves differently for different people.

 

Myth 2: it’s a sign of weakness

 

Just because you can’t see mental health conditions like you would a broken arm, doesn’t mean they don’t need care, treatment and time for recovery — it’s not a matter of self-discipline or character.

 

Admitting you need help is one of the bravest things you can do.

 

Myth 3: you’re unemployable

 

Quite the opposite, in fact. From the outside, many people with mental health issues may look like they’re living their daily lives as usual, even excelling at their job to mask their anxiety, stress or depression…

 

However, being able to work doesn’t mean you should stop yourself from asking for help. Under the Equality Act 2010, mental health conditions are a protected characteristic under disability — so don’t let the fear of discrimination get in the way of speaking up about the problems you’re facing.

 

Asking for guidance can help you lead a more balanced life and continue to enjoy your creative role. And as work life continues to become more flexible, there are more opportunities to bend your working model to suit your needs — whether that’s only working from home or reducing your hours in the office to alleviate your feelings of stress and anxiety.

 

Myth 4: you should leave your personal life at the door

 

This sounds great in theory, but the phrase ignores that workers are multidimensional, social and emotional beings who experience personal worries, life changes and responsibilities outside their job role.

 

Bottling up our thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming — it can make us feel alone and exacerbate conditions such as depression and anxiety.

 

Although it can be hard to open up about our feelings, particularly at work, talking can be a big part of taking charge of our mental well-being and getting the help we need.

 

Looking after your well-being at work

 

For those in the creative industry, where the expectation is often to thrive in highly competitive and unpredictable environments, it can be hard to notice when you start experiencing stress, burnout, anxiety or depression.

 

Whether you’re freelance or employed by a business, self-care is a skill that needs to be practised — it takes time and effort to nurture and improve your mental well-being, which isn’t easy for someone struggling.

 

There’s no shame in struggling with your mental well-being; recognising that you could use some help is a great first step in getting back on track.

 

So, what other steps can you take (at your own pace) to help get you there?

 

Set boundaries

 

There’ll always be more work to do: more briefs to finish, emails to send and deadlines to meet.

But if you don’t set strict boundaries, you’ll soon feel the effects on your mental well-being.

 

This is especially true for creatives working from home — when the line between work time and your time becomes increasingly blurred.

 

If that’s you, decide what time your workday starts and ends. And stick to it! Make sure you’re scheduling 10-minute breaks every hour to stretch your legs, make a cup of tea or step outside for some fresh air, and choose a time to take your lunch break and keep it consistent every day.

 

Get your blood pumping

 

Though it might not be the first thing you feel like doing when feeling down, physical exercise is never a bad idea.

 

That doesn’t mean you need to spend loads of money on gym memberships or start extreme hiking — but you’ll never regret stretching your legs on a 30-minute walk or following a fun workout video during your break to boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate.

 

Communication is key

 

Working in a creative industry can sometimes feel isolating — especially if you’re freelance or self-employed. So, it’s important to remember to communicate your needs and ask for help from your managers, colleagues, friends or family.

 

If you work within a team and find yourself stacked with tasks, utilise the pool of people who can support you. Whether shooting a message over Teams, having a session via video call or catching up in person in the office, your colleagues are there to support you.

 

If you work alone, reach out to friends, family or fellow creatives at your coworking space to chat about your feelings. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to confide in someone you don’t know, speak to a counsellor or mental health charity such as The Haven + London or Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

 

It can be scary at first but remember: we all have our struggles from time to time. You’re not alone. Confiding in someone you trust is the biggest step towards happier and healthier mental well-being.

 

At The Brew, we do our best to provide supportive advice and insightful tips to help you focus on doing what you love. For more, check out our other blog posts and visit our friendly, creative coworking spaces in Shoreditch!