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Chief Freelance Officer. Strategist. Supporting the mental health of the self-employed. Building teams which work better.

Poorer sleep is affecting many of us during the pandemic — let’s explore why and what you can do to improve your sleep.

Image: Kinga Cichewicz via unsplash

Did you sleep well?

Did you know there’s something you can do to help your mental health that’s so simple, you can do it in your sleep? Hint: it’s sleeping!

Unfortunately, for large numbers of people, sleep isn’t something that’s comes so naturally, especially at the moment, so in this resource, we look at the importance of sleep as part of our working wellbeing plan, and how we can make improvements to our sleep health.

If you’re not sleeping well, it could be a sign of something worrying you. If you’re not sleeping well, it could lead to more stress and anxiety. …

When you’re self employed, no-one keeps track of how much holiday you take — or how little you take.

A few years ago, a number of startups offered their employees unlimited vacation time.

It rapidly caught on as a perk, became the thing to do if you were serious about employee engagement, and some larger non-startup firms tried it out too.

The truth is — it didn’t work.

On average, those employees with unlimited holiday took less time off than normal. The thinking is that scarcity creates value. If you only have 5 days, you’re going to make sure you use them all. If you have unlimited resources, it feels less ‘valuable’.

When you’re self-employed, we, in theory, have…

To deny feelings of frustration, sadness, anger or fear is to ignore valuable insights into how to cope with challenging times.

Photo by Tine Ivanič on Unsplash

In lots of ways, the biggest challenge I’ve found during the pandemic has been the sheer relentlessness of things: get up, get dressed, make coffee, check emails, do work, do some meetings, do some more work, make some calls, eat, do some more work, another coffee, put the laptop away, eat, watch some telly, go to bed, start over the following day.

As a single parent, my duties also include homeschooling, so since the start of this year, that Groundhog Day has included: get my children ready for the day, lesson planning, lesson teaching, educational and emotional support, making food…

Making a priority of your mental health at work when self-employed is a task for every day, not just once a year or if you're feeling low.

Every year the same round of articles appear about Blue Monday — there’s those which remind us the original data was hokum, there’s those who give ways of battling the blues, and there’s those who seem to completely miss the concept completely and use it to sell us carpets or a new type of jam.

Not unlike any day which reminds of the importance of mental wellbeing, the idea of having a single day in the calendar where you remember to think about stress or emotional health is not the most effective approach — it’s akin to running once a…

What value does each project you work on offer you beyond money?

Nobody likes turning down work — especially at the moment with things feeling even more uncertain, yet after a run of working on projects we might not feel are entirely suited to the sort of work we ‘want to be doing’, it’s quite natural to feel downhearted or frustrated that you’re not doing the best work of your career, or just taking projects because they pay the bills.

However, all of the work we do quite often has multiple forms of value — and trying to identify what type of value each project we work on, can help you shift…

A personal view on energy levels, overwhelm, covid, mental health and work.

I’ve been very much feeling the effects of the ongoing ‘lingering lockdown’ over the past months — I don’t have anything especially bad happening in my life, I’m healthy, I’m working, I have good people around me, yet I’m exhausted.

The smallest of tasks can wipe me out, dealing with challenging conversations or complex projects at work is just almost too much at times, and being a single parent and self-employed, there are things which I _have_ to do: grocery shopping, laundry, school-run, homework, cooking, paying taxes, finding work, chasing invoices. …

It won’t have escaped you that mental health at work has become an increasingly important topic in recent years — with employers doing much more to look after their employees’ emotional wellbeing. Indeed, it is much needed — over 70% of sick days off are caused by work-related stress.

But now you’re working for yourself, now you’ve got more control over your working day, the work you do and the way you work — is mental health at work still relevant, or is it just something big corporates do to offset treating their people badly?

Here are five reasons why…

The future of work is already here but just not evenly distributed — to paraphrase William Gibson. Indeed this year has reads a little like a future dystopian novel for many, yet work might be changing for the better. 100 days of restrictions on where we work and being apart from each other has not only accelerated the conversation around remote and more flexible working patterns, but also shone an extra bright light on the continuing importance of mental health at work.

Mental health at work is no just longer about mental health in the workplace — but rather, about…

Preparing for a second lockdown and looking after your mental health is essential after we’ve already had 100+ days of ongoing stress this year.

We’ve been through a number of phases of emotional experiences during 2020.

The initial panic and unknown when the UK went into lockdown. The loss of work, loss of freedom of movement, and fear around the pandemic created high levels of stress for all.

Then the long months of tackling being at home, being apart from others, perhaps figuring out how to work from home, juggle homeschooling, manage not seeing people or even spending too much time in close quarters with other people, and then the strange limbo between lockdown and ‘returning to the new normal’ where transport, pubs and…

Keeping track of your energy, motivation and focus helps you to better understand your own patterns — and highlight any opportunities to redesign your working habits.

In a recent podcast conversation with Sabrina Bramble, she talked about getting the horrible stuff done first thing in the day, whilst your motivation and energy levels were high, I mentioned that I did the opposite and tried to keep the mornings free for creative tasks whilst I had the energy to focus — and it prompted me to think both about how useful structures can be when self-employed, but also how unique and individual they are, based upon your own preferences and working habits.

Structuring your days around energy requires knowing your energy

Structuring your day around your energy levels, your ability to focus, your motivation and drive…

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