When I was employed full time, it was my dream to work for myself, from home. Now I’ve been doing it for over three years, I still love it, but have found that some things work for me, and some don’t. The culture of remote working is becoming a reality for more and more people every day, and I’ve found a few self-care essentials that help me remain happy and (mostly) sane.
Seriously – I’ve done the whole rolling out of bed and working all day in my PJs thing a few times, and I’ve found it had a serious impact on my wellbeing. To feel ready for work, you need to have clear boundaries between your personal and work life. Get up and get dressed, have a specific space for work and don’t try and do household stuff while you’re working more than you can help it.
Make time to get exercise and fresh air
Spending all day sitting at a desk will have a detrimental effect on your wellbeing in the long term. As a business owner, it’s easy to get totally fixated on your business and spend all your time on it. Carve out some time for exercise and fresh air – go for a walk during your lunch break, do some stretches or try and fit in an exercise class. I’m lucky to be opposite the beautiful Sefton Park so often try and pop out for a walk. You can spend the time you would have spent commuting fitting in some exercise and /or fresh air.
Make time for lunch
As mentioned above, it’s easy to become fixated on your business. Take the time to eat lunch and have a break – this is your time to take your mind off work and prevent anxiety and stress. Try not to spend it surfing the web or scrolling through Insta like a zombie.
Create a routine
Applying a structure to your day will help you be more productive – find what works best for you. I structure my day around my daughter’s school hours, which means I try and do all my most intensive work between 9 and 3, and then can focus on her after school (although I still often end up answering emails or taking calls).
I go to Jelly Liverpool once a week, an informal networking event for remote and self-employed workers who meet every week at a different location in Liverpool (you can listen to us being interviewed for Radio 4’s Out of Office here). I’ve met lots of people who’ve now become friends and having a network of like-minded people to bounce ideas off and exchange tips and advice with is really valuable. Also, if you’re self-employed, building up a network will most likely bring new opportunities of work.
You’ll definitely go through stages of falling out of love with being self-employed but remember why you wanted to in the first place. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t suit everyone – there’s no job security, no regular income, it can be lonely, you need to manage your own time, you need discipline, you need to communicate well with sometimes difficult people. You need to steer your own ship and it is not easy to move from an employee mentality to thinking like a business owner – but the day that you realise that you’re the one calling the shots is incredibly liberating and worth every minute of self-doubt.
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