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Winter is upon us, and keeping on top of our mental health can get harder at this time of year.
Not only are the days shorter - which for many can effect wellbeing, the holiday season can be full of stressful events and getting projects finished before the year end.
Here are our top tips for coping during winter when you’re self-employed.
The days are shorter - and this means we can often feel like we’re both starting and finishing work in the dark. Where did the day go? Consider redesigning your day a little to maximise the daylight hours to your benefit - perhaps take longer breaks during the day to get outside for a walk, or start earlier in the day to finish up before the sun sets. Exercise can seem harder during the winter too, darker, colder or wetter days could make it less motivating to get outside for a run, or head to the gym, so again, design your exercise time around activity during natural light.
There’s often lots of additional workload which comes around the holiday period - planning trips to see friends and family, thinking about social events, perhaps shopping for presents. Don’t feel you need to cram all of those tasks into your evenings - balance your day between professional and personal workload, and give yourself time to switch off - a todo list item takes effort, no matter whether you’re getting paid for it or not!
There will naturally be more eating, more drinking, more late nights during the holiday season - and health can go out of the window. Keep your physical health in mind, as good sleep and good diet is a critical foundation of good mental health. If you are heading to parties, consider booking yourself some time off in the mornings, where you’re able to rest rather than forcing yourself through a day of back to back zoom calls.
There are lots of additional costs and expenditures at this time of year, and whilst it’s not necessarily a cause for panic, keep an eye on your spending, and consider what impact it could be having on your budgeting. December is already a lighter income month due to work generally being closed for many clients. Make sure to get your invoices in early, and check with your clients if there are any earlier payment cutoff dates before the break.
Get ahead of communications with your clients to explain when you’ll be around during the holiday season, and when you won’t. Put a project plan in place to wrap up any work you need to ahead of the break, find out when your clients will be away, and consider any support you need to cover essentials if you’re away and can’t work - perhaps buddy up with someone in your support network for emergency calls or work. Being able to ‘put work away’ for the holidays helps you to really switch off, rest and enjoy time with friends and family.
Not everyone has someone to spend time with during the holidays though - so check-in with your support network and see if your connections need anything over the winter break. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to someone is just being there for them.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Leapers!
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