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Working from home & side hustles with anxiety
Now before we get started, I just want to make clear, that I have already sought help and advice from my doctor about my anxiety.
I have been through counselling once and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) twice.
I am now confident and competent at managing my anxiety without medication (I was on medication for some time, but gradually came of it, and learnt to manage it via different strategies.
There is no shame in needed medication for the rest of your life, if needed.
Should my anxiety for whatever reason get severe again, I would without hesitation go back to my doctor, discuss my needs and if needed go back on medication).
I go into much more detail about my mental health struggles in my more about me page, if you are interested.
So what I’m saying is, if you are suffering with anxiety or any mental health issue for whatever reason, please speak to someone about it.
If it’s easier, to begin with, speak with a friend or family member, then work up to your doctor.
If you really can’t face your doctor, pop to a walk-in centre and speak to a doctor there, just please do seek help and advice.
If you really can’t face speaking to someone face to face, there is a fantastic charity called MIND you can ring them and speak to a professional train advisor, who can advise you on all manner of different topics.
They are also a great site to visit if you feel you are getting nowhere with your doctor, they can provide options and let you know what is available.
So, the topic I am going to talk about today is becoming self-employed with severe anxiety, with a particular emphasis on working from home.
I initially thought that working from home, was the answer to all my prayers.
As I have a big problem working for others, not because I don’t like being told what to do, or that I don’t mix with others well, but because I find work environments and situations very difficult to handle.
I’ve found that in most of the places I’ve worked, there is always some form of pettiness or hidden politics, which I just can’t handle, I mean seriously can’t handle.
I find myself having panic attacks at the thought of going into work, worrying about what will happen that day. It’s just not nice. So working from home for me was the answer!
I know some people might say, well if you have this reaction to just being an employee, you’re no way near sorted with your anxiety. I do understand this point of view, I just choose to deal with it in a way that is easiest for me.
I know that if I work for myself from home, I can manage my anxiety to a good level, and I can progress with my life goals quicker than if I was an employee. One of my life goals is to be self-employed anyway so win, win really.
However, as wonderful as it is, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier than I am now I’m self-employed and work from home, there are some realities I want to share, and show the good and bad points to it all.
Working from Home with anxiety – The Realities
Some Control Over Anxiety
You need to have some form of control over your anxiety, why?
Because if you do the sort of work I do, blogging, reselling and side hustles, you will need to go out, mix with people, speak to people and even instigate conversations!
However, don’t panic, because you work for yourself, you can choose what days you need to do the scary stuff!
You can do what I did, you can start your business, with severe anxiety, and try to combat the anxiety and build your business at the same time, it is do-able, it just takes longer and requires a bit more planning and patience.
In fact, I think it helped me combat my anxiety quicker, it took me a year, but because I pushed myself to go out and do things for the sake of my business, it helped me learn how to control my anxiety.
Or you can try to work through your anxiety first then become self-employed. It’s a personal thing and something only you will know how to approach.
I knew I’d suffer with anxiety for the rest of my life, so I went for option one.
Cut yourself some slack
There will be days when no matter how much you try to push yourself, you can’t face doing anything, you will be panicking that your ruining your business and getting behind with everything you had planned.
If you live with people who don’t understand they might think you are being lazy, they might think you’re not serious about your business, hello!
What do they know? Do they have anxiety? NO! Don’t sweat it, please, you can only do what you are doing and as long as you know you are trying your best, and on the good days you do as much as you can, everything should fall into place, eventually.
For some, including me, social media might be a huge problem.
Even though you are behind a computer, and not actually in front of anyone, I had a massive problem using social media, and to this day, I still get a little nervous, leaving comments or even posting.
I’m much better now than I was because I forced myself to comment and post, I started on my personal Facebook account, just posting to the few friends and family I had allowed on there, then I ventured onto Twitter, and before long I was on everything, leaving comments here and there.
It’s like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes, and the best thing about social media is if there is something you don’t like, just scroll past, if someone is horrible to you, delete! Easy, oh, and don’t take anything personally, no matter how personal the comment is, rise above it, smile and move on, in the knowledge, you are a much better and bigger person than that.
Having said all this, I do, still, to this day, have days or even weeks when I struggle with the whole social media thing.
That’s what automation is for! If your business relies on you being consistent on social media, have things scheduled for every day then for the days when you just can’t face going on there is still content being shared. If your followers know your situation and how it can get sometimes, they shouldn’t mind the odd period of time where your social media is pre-scheduled.
Side Hustles with anxiety
If you intend on doing side hustles, to increase your income, don’t be too hard on yourself, if you can’t do certain jobs and struggle.
I found that I was motivated and confident at the thought of completing a mystery shop or smartphone task app, however, when I thought about accepting the job and actually going to do it, for real, I was terrified!
These sort of things, I have discovered, need to be achieved in baby steps.
Don’t do what I did and download every single task-based app you can find and sign up to every mystery shopping company you have ever heard of, because you will get bombarded with emails, nice emails, asking you to complete jobs (well you might if you don’t live in an area overrun with other mystery shoppers).
Then you start to feel a bit of a failure because you can’t physically find the confidence to accept a job and complete it.
Another example was I`d accept the job, then the night before I had to do it, Id stay awake all night reading and rereading the notes, then very tired and almost having a meltdown, went and completed the job, but hated it.
I had picked a complicated time-based job for my first mystery shop and a task-based app job that required me to answer what felt like 50 questions, stood in a supermarket, intermittently taking photos, and I wasn’t allowed to break cover, I had to lie if a staff member approached me and asked what I was doing. I had approached it all wrong.
I should have researched which were the best couple of mystery shopping companies to sign up to and a couple of task-based apps. I will do a separate post on my recommendations soon.
Related Post: 4 easy side hustles for a beginner
Spending so much time alone or away from groups of people
There are, of course, some issues associated with working from home, that can either increase or lead to you developing anxiety even if you did have it to start with.
The fact you spend so much time on your own.
The fact you don’t have to leave the house if you don’t want to.
You can combat this, by arranging to meet up with a close friend at least once a month, for a coffee or lunch, this gets you out of the house, and helps you remember how to make small talk.
Plus you could, if you feel confident enough, join some Facebook groups within the niche you work in and log in daily, and if you are happy too, comment and chat to people, you can slowly build up to this, by joining the group, being a lurker for a week or two to grow your confidence and see how the group works, then comment on a post you are happy to comment on, then eventually you should feel confident enough to post your own questions.
If you are feeling super confident you could look to see if there are any networking groups for self-employed people in your area. This one hasn’t as yet appealed to me, but could be a good idea for some.
Overworking and having no balance in your work and home life. Try to set yourself a schedule and routine, so you have clearly defined work hours and family/personal time.
So, I think, for now, I’ve covered the first things which can become an issue when you are newly self-employed and work from home doing side hustles and blogging and similar with anxiety.
Although I`vconcentrateded on what might seem like all negaitves, its just the reality of having anxiety and working from home or doing side hustles.
Obviously, there are plenty of positives and for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
I guess what I want you to take away from this post is that even though there are positive and negatives just like any situation. Take baby steps, working around any problems that occur and dont give up, you know yourself and how your anxiety affects your day.
As long as you take precautions and are aware of situations which could become a problem, your working from home experience will be amazing.
I’ve obviously written the post from my own experiences, and do realise everyone is different and everyone’s anxiety is different.
If I have missed something that you struggle with I apologise, as I said I’ve written this from my own experiences, and about the things I struggled with. You could always pop a comment at the bottom (if you’re feeling ok to do so) and share your experiences with me/us, this could help someone else too.
If you do have anxiety and are struggling, I urge you to try and find the confidence to discuss your anxiety with either a friend or family member, a doctor or even visit the MIND charity website to see if there is any information that might help, you can also ring MIND and talk to a specially train advisor.
There is no shame in admitting you need help, and I must reiterate there is no shame in needing medication or counselling to help you through this, if prescribed by a professional.
Do you have anxiety? Are you now managing your anxiety? Drop me a comment below (if you feel ok to do so) I would love to hear from you, and see where you are in your journey, how you got there, and what are your plans for moving forward?