The life of a creator often requires the creator to wear many hats. That could mean creating content, doing business finances, audience engagement, and sales emails all over the course of one day. So it’s no surprise that being a creator and entrepreneur comes with its own specific challenges in the mental health department too.
For many creators, you carry the vast majority (if not all) of your business on your shoulders 24/7. Unlike a standard 9-to-5 job with a large team and support system being a creator can feel like your business could easily stagnate without your constant attention. This, combined with the creative output, ingenuity, and skillfulness required to be a creator, means you might find you need to prioritize your mental health. Those needs take precedence if you want to build your business sustainably!
But we know this is easier said than done. Perhaps you’ve already experienced some of the mental health strains that the majority of entrepreneurs go through. While you’re certainly not alone if you experienced anxiety or depression that may stem from your creative and business endeavors, there’s plenty you can do to help boost your mental health. And when you do that, you can show up as the most balanced version of yourself for your audience, your business, and most importantly, for yourself.
Instead of waiting until you reach a breaking point or burnout, you can prioritize your mental health every single day. Read on to find out big and small ways you can take action to prioritize your mental health on the reg!
10 ways creators can prioritize their mental health daily
1. Have a daily check-in with yourself
This can be as simple as noticing how you feel physically and mentally, without necessarily trying to change it. Observe how you feel and ask yourself if you need anything at this moment. Your body might benefit from a walk or drinking a glass of water. The mind and body are inextricably connected, so tending to one will have positive effects on the other. When you’re more in tune with yourself, it’s also easier to notice feelings like exhaustion and overwhelm. And then you can take preventative action so it doesn’t turn into burnout!
2. Regulate your nervous system
Your high school biology class might feel like it was long ago, but you likely learned some vital information about your nervous system in that class. The nervous system is a vast and intricate network of nerves that runs through your body, including the brain and spinal cord. Known as the body’s command center, the nervous system is kind of a big deal.
When you’re feeling perpetually stressed or aren’t getting enough rest, your nervous system is running on high alert all the time. Which it’s not meant to do. If you find you’re struggling to settle down at the end of the day or you feel perpetually anxious you might want to slow down and regulate your nervous system.
You can regulate your nervous system by doing one or more of the following:
- Breathwork or guided breathing (a quick search will yield lots of these videos!)
- Place a cold compress on your chest or splash cold water on your face
- Try self-holding, this is when you wrap your arms around yourself in a big hug and take several deep breaths. Stay here for at least a minute and hold the hug as long as you like!
Incorporating these practices into your day, even for a few minutes, can help you destress.
3. Ask for more support
One of the reasons being an entrepreneur is so difficult is that you’re a one-person team. Your time and energy are valuable, and it’s best spent in the areas that are your zone of genius. So be open to receiving support. Whether that’s through hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours a week or doing an energy exchange with a fellow creator. An energy exchange could look like you designing some templates for their social media and them writing some copy for your website. Having this extra support can mean more time for you to spend being creative and focusing on the parts of your business that bring you energy. And this can overall improve your day-to-day quality of life.
4. Take mandatory and intentional breaks
Culture informed by capitalism means that the “hustle” mentality is pervasive. And many of us were raised to believe that work is inherently more important than vacation or rest. But anyone who’s burnt out knows, we need time to rest and rejuvenate too. It’s important for both mental and physical health. And it’s especially important to balance work and rest as a business owner. Carve out time in your day to have mandatory and intentional breaks. You can use this time to have a conversation with your roommate or partner, go for a walk, listen to some music, or make an energizing snack.
5. Use affirmations
Affirmations are a science-backed way to activate certain neural pathways in the brain that can ultimately result in you feeling more positive, self-assured, and centered. Especially in the face of external obstacles that would otherwise make you doubt or question yourself. Choose a mantra that resonates with you and say it daily. Even on days when you already feel good. Get into the habit of doing it—this will make it a more effective tool for the days when you’re not feeling so great.
These business affirmations can help improve your daily mood.
6. Pay attention to inner work and growth
Patterns and habits like procrastination, perfectionism, and imposter syndrome are all normal to experience as a creator or business owner. But what you do with these patterns and how you view them is important. So instead of judging yourself or getting frustrated that you’re noticing an unhelpful pattern, see it as an opportunity to do inner work. And if you want to go the extra step, see it as a sign of growth. Get curious about why this pattern might be showing up in the first place. Consider the earliest you can remember the pattern happening. Perhaps you remember being a perfectionist as far back as middle school!
Think about the last time this pattern popped up, and what similarities are happening. Your subconscious mind might be resisting change, even if it’s a good change. These patterns and habits popping up are a sign that you’re growing and are an invitation to heal the patterns that aren’t serving you to create ones that do. That’s something to celebrate!
7. Spend more time outside
There have been countless studies done on the positive impact that spending time in nature has on our mental health. Relatively speaking, it’s only in recent history that the focus of many people’s work is primarily indoors. And these days, that almost always involves staring at a screen too. Despite this shift in the working environment, we are still a part of nature at our core. So it makes sense that spending time outside can be a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air. You may not have easy access to a forest or beach, (or even a yard, if you’re a city dweller) but even just getting morning sunshine on your face can be beneficial for sleep and boosting serotonin levels. Try starting your day with a quick 15 minute walk, or sit outside after your lunch break.
8. Create a “5% list” for yourself
Think about what things make you feel five percent better. It’s not much, but if you can do several things that all make you feel five percent better, that adds up!
Sometimes, doing activities like taking a walk or meditating can seem unappealing. Who has time to meditate or go for a walk when your to-do list is as long as an unabridged novel? We’re not saying these two things will solve all of your problems. But they can make you feel a little bit better. Make a list of activities that can help you feel a little bit better in the moment. And take that increase in mood as a solid win. If you feel even a little better or more prepared for the day then there is more of you available to show up for the rest of the things on your to-do list.
9. Use the power of visualization
As Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. Emily Balcetis discuss on a Huberman Lab podcast episode, visualizing the successful completion of your goals can greatly increase the likelihood that you will indeed meet your goals. Take a few quiet moments to picture what it looks like when one of your important goals is completed, the desired results from that, and how it will make you feel.
10. Use visual goal trackers
There is a lot of power in using the sense of vision to achieve more than you ever have before. Visualize your goals being completed by using a habit tracker. This is so effective that it’s a tactic used by Olympic gold medal runners—finding the energy for the final sprint of meeting your goal can be sourced through your mind’s eye. Use a visual tracker, like a chart that you color in, or even give yourself stickers for achieving the daily tasks that are building towards bigger goals (this can be a nice nod to your inner child, too!)
Try it for yourself
Let this be an experiment of trying new ways to tend to your mental health. For the ones that have the most positive impact, make them a habit. You’re cultivating the tools that work best for you, so remember to stay curious in that process and celebrate yourself for even showing up in the first place!