While almost everyone who works feels stressed and sometimes overwhelmed, it’s even more common for self-employed workers. 

While it’s essential for everyone to de-stress and relax regularly, it’s even more important for self-employed people that take on the risks of being an entrepreneur. In this guide, we are going to give you some tips on how to lower stress levels by covering the following topics:

  • Time management
  • Financial uncertainty
  • Natural environment
  • Social life
  • Mindfulness
  • Evening routine
  • Exercise

Manage your time 

When you work for yourself, the world is your oyster. You can work when or wherever you want. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs like to work crazy hours, which could be harming their productivity and mental health in the long run.   

Working for yourself can give you a lot of flexibility:

  • Freedom to choose your hours 
  • Choice over which clients you work with
  • You can plan your spare time to upskill and network
  • You work for yourself and earn money for yourself

However, there are a lot of cons to taking on the challenge of working for yourself, including:

  • Balancing multiple tasks or projects
  • It can be much more stressful than working for someone else
  • You might end up overworked and tired
  • No benefits or security of working for another company

One of the best ways to reduce the stress of running your own business is by setting strict hours or time blocks where you decide to work. By setting specific hours, you will be able to:

  • Get all of your work done during the designated hours
  • Avoid becoming overworked and overwhelmed
  • Mentally switch off after you have finished your work
  • It will help you to avoid procrastination when you have a set deadline
  • Improve your work-life balance

Lessen financial uncertainty

Undoubtedly, one of the most worrying things for self-employed people is the sense of financial uncertainty. While you can’t always predict the future, there are specific processes and precautions that you can take to make your income more reliable. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Develop a standard contract: create a contract with specific terms that clarify what’s expected of you and your clients. Make sure every client signs it at the beginning of a project. 
  • Follow up with regular invoices: you can use a simple app like Countingup to prepare and automate the sending of invoices. Making sure you receive your payment on time and efficiently.
  • Keep track of your accounting: this means carefully tracking your income and expenses and preparing a rainy day fund for months with payment delays or seasonal dips. 

Get outside in nature

No matter how long you work, whether it’s an eight-hour workday or a few hours throughout the day, you should always make time to get outside and, if possible, into nature. Being out in nature, even for as little as five minutes, is proven to boost your mood. It can also help you clear your head and disconnect from your work, social media and constant emails. 

Socialise

Self-employment can be an isolating experience, especially when you’re working from home. Apart from a few client meetings or a catch-up with a friend, you can go a long time without seeing or chatting to anyone. But human interaction and socialising are vital for our mental health and wellbeing

Ensure you set aside a time slot for socialising; factor it in when you’re planning out your week. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It could be a quick coffee at a local cafe or having a phone call with a friend. Getting time away from work and taking some time to enjoy your time with someone else can have a really positive impact and reduce your stress levels. In the long term, this will boost your productivity as well as keeping you healthy. 

Practise mindfulness and meditation

Adding some mindfulness and meditation to your routine can significantly improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. It’s also easy to implement. Here are some easy ways to do it:

  • Take some time to notice your surroundings, take a walk without your headphones and observe the world around you.
  • Eat a meal without looking at your phone or TV. 
  • Take a few deep breaths in between switching tasks to relax and reduce stress.
  • Take some time to stretch and breathe after sitting down for a long time. It’s not only good for reducing stress but for your posture as well.

Create an evening routine

Switching off after work can be difficult, especially if you can be tempted to burn the midnight oil or not finish up until 11 pm. However, setting an evening wind-down routine can help you start the following day refreshed and ready. Here’s an example of an evening wind-down:

  • Brain dump: get everything in your head out onto a sheet of paper or a word document on your computer. A brain dump is a great way to declutter your mind so you won’t have any nagging thoughts, thinking about what you need to do.
  • Plan your day: organise your tasks for the following day and know what you need to focus on first. Planning can really help you to be more productive the next day, resulting in reduced stress. 
  • Reduce screen time: an hour or two before bed, try to avoid screens. Not only will their bright light affect your sleep, but your phone will also keep you up with new notifications or social media. Enjoy reading a book or have a relaxing bath instead. 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed: it’s alright to indulge every now and again, but it’s crucial to know that alcohol reduces your quality of sleep and causes you to be less refreshed in the morning. 

This is just an example of an evening routine that you could try, but the important thing is to create a routine that works for you and that you can stick to. Once you have an evening routine that works for you, you can start building a morning routine – if you don’t have one in place already.

Get your blood pumping

Exercise is a great way to release good hormones that reduce stress; it will give you more energy, focus and better overall physical health. No matter what kind of exercise you choose, it’s essential to keep in mind that something is always better than nothing. 

It can be as simple as a quick walk around the block, doing pushups, yoga poses or a quick dip in the sea. Either way, there’s an activity out there that you can use to be less stressed while at work.

Cut out the stress from financial admin with Countingup

There’s so much to being self-employed and running a business, like keeping pace with your competition, budgeting, planning, advertising and customer service. So don’t let routine elements like bookkeeping and accounting cause you stress.

You can use the Countingup app to swiftly take care of your financial admin and spend more time building your business. Countingup is the business current account with free built-in accounting software that automates bookkeeping and simplifies tax returns.

With all your financial information in one place, you can take advantage of real-time profit and loss insights, automated invoicing tools and expense reminders. With Countingup, you can make sure your accounts are always up to date and accurate.

Find out more about Countingup here and sign up for free today.

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