How lone workers can maintain good mental health

written by Tania Diggory, CEO of Calmer, partnering The Brew

Working for yourself can take its toll on your mental health. This can be especially true if you have transitioned from working in an organisation with a team to working on your own.

There are many organisations that support this change on a financial and business level, but what about on a mental health and wellbeing level?

At Calmer, we are leading the charge on empowering entrepreneurs and lone workers to nurture good mental health and wellbeing. As the first post in our new series with The Brew, we explore the ways that lone workers can nurture and maintain good mental health:

1. Start prioritising your mental health

To start nurturing your mental health, the first step is to recognise how you feel. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people, and for UK entrepreneurs, over 60% report experiencing stress and burnout.

If you feel stressed or anxious, try to accept that feeling without any self-judgment.

Remember the Calmer mantra:

  • Stop
  • Breathe
  • Trust

Allocate some time to reflect on your mental health, as well as your entrepreneurial journey, and pinpoint where your stressors lie. You may find it easier to tackle these once they have been broken down.

2. Regularly check in with your mental health

The next step is to practice checking in with your mental health on a regular basis.

We know that eating well and exercising is essential for maintaining good physical health, and the same goes for mental health – it is important to regularly make time to nourish it.

The Reignite Project, our 10-week e-course, aims to quell anxiety, stress, and burnout with weekly check-ins sent straight to your inbox. You can sign up for free here.

3. Start talking about mental health

Another crucial step is to communicate how you feel with others. One of the main causes of entrepreneurial stress is social isolation and loneliness, so it’s doubly important that we prioritise face-time with people we trust.

With every conversation, we also break down the stigma around mental health a little bit more.

If you wish to share how you are feeling with a community of likeminded people in a safe and friendly space, we would love to welcome you into our Calmer Entrepreneur Community FB Group.

4. Be the best boss you’ve ever had

In our experience, lone workers tend to push themselves far harder than they would if they were managing someone else. Not appreciating your efforts, spending too much time working, and subsequently experiencing burnout is common.

Would you instruct another person to work the hours you do? Wouldn’t you want them to enjoy themselves alongside their work? Most crucially, wouldn’t you appreciate a more enthusiastic, more productive team member for set business hours than a less productive, worn out team member doing twice the hours?

Try viewing your work as if you are a manager, and treat yourself reasonably. Set fair working hours, give yourself realistic goals, and celebrate your successes no matter how small.

5. View downtime as an investment in productivity

Many lone workers prioritise their work over all else. This is especially true in the beginning, where work may be accepted no matter your availability or the budget set.

Wherever you are on your entrepreneurial journey, valuing your downtime is just as important as the price you set for your hourly rate. Giving yourself ample downtime will enable you to work more efficiently, and produce better results.

Small changes, such as ensuring you get enough sleep will set you up for better cognitive function.

You may also want to practice the affirmation that you deserve downtime, that you have truly earned it. Recognising your efforts and hard work will enable you to “treat” yourself to time off.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

As we mentioned before, nurturing good mental health is similar to nurturing good physical health. In fact, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also key to achieving good mental health, and as an extension, clarity at work.

When checking in with your mental health, try working through a checklist around your physical health:

  • How much water have you drunk today?
  • What have you eaten today?
  • When was the last time you did exercise?

Taking sometime out each week for leisure and fitness is important. It can boost your productivity, enhance your creativity and keep you feeling centred.

7. Practice contentment

Finally, try practicing contentment. Many of us expect to feel dizzying highs of happiness in our work – and many do – but happiness is not a sustainable mental state.

Instead, try focusing on contentment. Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction, often drawn from being comfortable in your mind, body, and surroundings.

Accessing a feeling of contentment takes practice, so give yourself time to practice feeling good in your body, mind, and with your business. That may be during a tea break, or perhaps after submitting a project you worked on. Stop, breathe, trust. Appreciate your hard work.

Calmer – The Brew Workshop: Looking After Yourself and Others

Come along to our special two-part workshop on Friday 26th April, 10am-2pm, designed for solo-preneurs who are interested in growing a small team, or existing businesses who currently manage other people.

There will be a follow-up workshop on Wednesday 22nd May, 10am-2pm, which is open to all attendees of the first workshop.

This workshop is open to members and non-members of The Brew. Book your place here.

About Calmer

Calmer is a leading UK organisation empowering entrepreneurs and purposeful teams to nature good mental health and wellbeing. They provide digital courses, workplace training, events, workshops and 1:1 sessions for entrepreneurs, freelancers and business owners. They believe a happy mind makes for a happy business.

Find us on our website, join our Facebook Community, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.