HOW THE GIG ECONOMY CAN BENEFIT THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Anxiety disorders account for the most common
form of illness in the U.S. Furthermore, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of individuals diagnosed with depression likely have a co-occurring anxiety disorder
. The symptoms of depression can make it difficult
to hold down a job. These may manifest as emotional and physical issues
, including restlessness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, feelings of nervousness/panic and doom, and frequent head and stomach aches.
In this case, those suffering from anxiety and depression may wish to explore the benefits of self-employment via the gig economy. Flexibility and endless opportunities (jobs within this concept are projected to double
by 2020) are among the top reasons one might consider becoming their own boss. Before diving in, it’s important to understand what it takes to make it on your own.
Set Up a Proper Home Office
Setting up a well-equipped office
is the key to successfully working from home. It doesn’t need to be large as long as it’s functional, organized, and (ideally) bright. If you can’t designate an entire room, use a curtain, plants, or furniture such as a shelving unit to create a working nook. Invest in a file cabinet so you don’t lose track of crucial documents such as invoices, training manuals, and crucial projects. Keep all of your receipts and bills for tax purposes, as you will be able to write them off. Add a few personal touches that bring you peace and happiness such as fresh-cut flowers and a photo that captured a good memory.
Determine what your work hours will be and then factor in regular breaks, including a time to eat a proper lunch at a table — not your desk. Research suggests working for 52 minutes
and taking a break for 17 minutes can boost productivity, but figure out what works best for you. Stay motivated by treating yourself after completing a task, whether that means going for a quick stroll or making a quick phone call to a loved one. Avoid social media during work hours, as it’s the ultimate distraction.
Dress for Success
While you need not wear a suit and tie or crisp dress and heels, taking a shower and putting on a proper ensemble (pajamas and sweats don’t count) can boost your productivity and your self-confidence, thus making you feel better about the work you are doing.
Hire a Tax Professional
One of the drawbacks about working in the gig economy is the fact that you have to do so on a quarterly (or yearly) basis. Hire a pro to help you stay organized, coach you on how much money you need to set aside each paycheck, and advise you on what you can and cannot write off. It’s also a good idea to set yourself up as an independent contractor (LLC) to make things easier. If you’re not good at saving money, a financial advisor might help. Maintaining a nest egg in case of emergencies (to include loss or lack of work) is key.
Finding and Maintaining Work
Researching work based on your previous experience and skill set is a great place to start, as trying to learn something new may only cause more stress and anxiety. Even if you’re holding down a gig (or maintaining several), it’s never a bad idea to keep your feelers out for other opportunities in case the rug gets pulled out from under you. While you can contact companies individually, there are several great gig economy
job sites to help you expedite your search.
While being your own boss sounds like a dream job, the gig economy is not for everyone
, as it can be unpredictable and unstable, thus disrupting one’s hierarchy of needs from a physiological, safety, and security standpoint. It’s important to balance work and social life to avoid feelings of isolation and increased depression, thus having an adverse effect. Speak to your doctor before diving into the freelance pool to make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility from a mental and physical standpoint.
About Brad: Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall well-being. He created SelfCaring.info
to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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