Did you know that taking care of your mental health is a non-negotiable for your writing and freelancing career?
When you feel blue and lack of energy, you will have a difficult time writing to the best of your abilities. Writing blocks, lack of motivation, dissatisfaction, and procrastination can become more frequent. When you feel good, happy, energized, positive, you experience more mental clarity, creative energy, and motivation that will lead to some amazing writing.
But how to prevent feeling low when you are cooped up indoors writing all day? How can you uplift your mood, boost your mental health, and create more happiness in your life? When I feel like I am going on a downward spiral, I go back to some basic mental health care strategies that instantly uplift my spirit and create a noticeable change over time.
CHECK OUT THE 8 PROVEN MENTAL HEALTH TIPS THAT CAN IMPROVE YOUR WRITING AND OVERALL WELL-BEING.
Sitting inside within surrounded by four walls can get boring and downright depressing. Your body needs vitamin D from the sun, your lungs need fresh air, and your mind needs a fresh perspective. Being in nature can relax your mind, bring your fresh ideas, give you a new perspective, and refresh your spirit.
Go for a hike. Take a walk at a nearby park. Visit a botanical garden or arboretum. Hug trees whenever you can. Swim in open water. Go for a run or a bike ride. Walk your dog or a friend’s pup. Stop to smell flowers. Bring nature inside by having houseplants and buying flowers.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Your diet is a key component of your mood. Mental health starts in your gut. If you are putting in processed junk in your body day in and day out, your body will be overwhelmed, your digestion becomes sluggish, you won’t be absorbing nutrients optimally. There is no need to sugarcoat it. You will feel like cr*p both physically and mentally.
Eliminate or reduce processed sugar, processed foods, artificial ingredients, additives, alcohol, and caffeine. Eat a mainly organic, whole foods, plant-based diet with lots of greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, legumes, herbs, and spices. Home cooked meals, raw foods, and green juices are your best friends. Take daily probiotics to support your gut flora.
You may not be sitting in a cubicle anymore, but writing is a sit-down job. Sitting at your desk or curling up on your couch with your laptop may be cozy, but is far from healthy. Exercise releases endorphins. Those are the happy chemicals that help to uplift and stabilize your mood. Exercise can energize your body, clear your mind, and uplift your spirit.
The good news is that there are so many ways to exercise. There is running (my personal favorite), swimming, dancing, HIIT workout, yoga, pilates, weightlifting, and countless group classes. Youtube is flooded with free workout videos. Find something you love and stick with.
As a freelancer, you probably spend a lot of time by yourself working at home in your PJs. If you are an introvert like myself, you may even welcome and thrive in such setting — to a point. Isolation and lack of connection, however, can bring you down after a while.
Call your friends to meet up for a coffee, join local activities, find a local writer or freelance group, and search for new hobbies. Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and connect with others.
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
Erratic schedules and a lack of routine can hinder your creative flow and optimal work performance. Without an established system, your body is always making catch-up, trying to make up for a lack of sleep and getting used a new schedule every day.
Develop a schedule that works for you. Aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Establish a morning and evening routine. Develop set times for work, exercise, meals, relaxation, and socializing. Commit to your routine. You will notice better creative flow, mental energy, and work performance.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Do you notice that you are your worst enemy at times? You may be nice and compassionate towards others, but too harsh on yourself. You may take on more work than you can. You may have trouble saying ‘no’. Time for yourself may take a back-seat. But guess what? You need you.
Develop compassion for yourself. Forgive for your mistakes and take them as learning experiences. Start saying ‘no’. Don’t take more work than you can chew on. Establish a clear ‘me time’ every day. Speak to yourself nicely. Use affirmations. Give yourself a hug once in a while. You deserve it.
Stress, stress, and more stress. Sometimes it seems like it’s never-ending. Too much stress in your life can lead to inflammation in your body, physical health issues, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The good news is that you have power over your stress levels.
Avoid unnecessary stress. Start meditating, use relaxation exercises, and try yoga. They will help you to feel relaxed and deal with stress in your life better. Set time for relaxation. Journal, color, take a nice bath listen to calming music, read a nice book, talk a walk, get a massage, or enjoy a nice herbal tea.
You don’t need to do it all by yourself. Ask for support from family, friends, and peers. Professional help can be beneficial to prevent and treat mental health conditions, as well as to simply gain better clarity, create change, and develop a happier outlook on life.
There are many forms of professional help out there you may benefit from, including therapists, counselors, spiritual counselors, life coaches, health coaches, mentors, craniosacral therapists, alternative health practitioners, and spiritual healers. Choose what feels right for you.
Using these tips, you will be able to uplift your mood within easily. You will likely experience results right away, but sticking to these techniques long-term, you can truly transform your life and your writing career.
How do you take care of your mental health? How do you ensure having positive energy and a creative flow as a writer and freelancer? Share your experiences in the comments below, I would love to hear from you and exchange tips.
This post also appeared on the Medium.