I picked up The Dip by Seth Godin a week ago. Every few pages, I’d put the book down and journal about whatever was coming up for me. One of my journal entries was dedicated to all the questions swirling in my head about work. More specifically, what kind of work environment worked best for me.
For context, I’ve been self-employed since 2014. I graduated from college and immediately started taking on social media clients. While I didn’t intend to become a solopreneur, it’s the career I’ve built over the last 8 years. I’d never considered going in-house for a job because I liked working from my couch, coffee shop, or co-working space.
Recently, those three reasons didn’t hold as much weight as they used to. Between the Great Resignation and the pandemic, I could now theoretically get a traditional 9–5 and still work from my couch.
So, I used my journal entries to dig a bit deeper. Why did I want to keep freelancing? Why didn’t I quit and pursue a role elsewhere?
I realized my mental health plays a big role in this discussion. I live with anxiety and grief and have for as long as I can remember. I typically don’t notice how much they impact my life because it turns out my flexibility helps me work around them not against them. (A complete and total privilege.)
On days when my anxiety or depressive episodes are too much to handle, I have the option to take my day slower or move my workload around. If my brain is too foggy, I can choose to work later in the day or night instead, all without any true ramifications.
My mental health over the last 8 years has benefited from my flexible work schedule. It’s a reality that I don’t want to give up. And while I am looking to take on more work and create a more structured day in order to be able to support this, I know that I still want to be able to prioritize my mental health in ways that help me keep things manageable and peaceful.
I know conversations abound around how scary or limiting our individual mental health can be, but the solopreneur life has actually helped me take those limitations and turn them into my superpower.