Side Gigs to Make Ends Meet When You’re Recovering from a Mental Illness
When mental illness takes control of your life, you likely do not have the energy necessary to focus on much more than your recovery. Many people find that when their mental illness has spiraled out of control, they need to put their careers and aspirations on the sidelines while they work on recovery. However, after some time working with professionals and doing plenty of soul-searching, it can be healthy to get back into a working mindset. Maybe it’s not time to throw yourself back into the pressures and anxieties of your former position, but taking up one or two side gigs that tap into your hobbies and creativity while making some extra money can provide a sense of purpose and utility that is essential for healthy self-esteem.
The side gigs mentioned here are generally home-based. When working from home, it’s imperative to have a workspace separate from the parts of your home used for socializing and relaxing. Your own home office helps you avoid distractions for optimal productivity. If you live with family or roommates, communicate with them that you are not to be disturbed when working unless it’s an emergency. Another great home office hack is setting up your space in a part of the house with as much natural light as possible. Light stimulates feelings of productivity and positivity, keeping you on track during your workday. If your place is a bit lacking in the natural light department, feel free to make do with your own lighting design that combines ambient, task, accent, and decorative elements.
Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace where people go to find handmade versions of their favorite things. If you are a handy person, you probably know how to make something that people want to buy. Etsy allows makers to sell products ranging from prints to jewelry and homemade beauty supplies. You can even sell digital downloads if your talents are more about graphic design or coding. While Etsy charges for the products you list, you get the added benefit of using a marketplace people already use. People who shop on Etsy want to support small businesses.
Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you’re the type of person who finds themselves hanging with the dog at the party, this is the side gig for you. Spending time around pets is good for your mental health. Household pets ease anxiety and promote mindfulness. Combine the benefits of spending time with four-legged friends with the opportunity to make some extra bread, and it’s the perfect post-recovery side gig for many out there. To get started with dog walking and pet sitting, consider going through a third-party site that connects you with pet parents searching for services while adding a level of security for both parties involved. Many pet-sitting websites have limited insurance that will cover damages or injuries should they occur during the time employed.
Teach Music Lessons
If breaking out your instrument is your go-to move whenever you feel stressed, teaching music lessons taps into that therapeutic release while generating a healthy hourly rate. The thing about music lessons is that while you may spend time instructing and going over teaching materials, a lot of the lesson time is spent simply playing together with your pupil. Furthermore, you get to enjoy the self-esteem-boosting benefits of teaching somebody a healthy skill.
If you’re recovering from mental illness and you’re not quite ready to jump back into your career, it may help to make ends meet with one or two side gigs that you enjoy. Not only can the extra money help, but taking on minor responsibilities also helps re-build your self-esteem. Look into ways to turn the things you love into a money-making venture, whether that involves selling your handmade wares on Etsy, helping pet parents with their furry loved ones, or passing on your love of and talent for music to willing pupils.
What You Should Do After a Relapse to Get Focused and Continue Your Journey
Anyone who says addiction recovery is a straight and narrow path is optimistic at best. Recovery can be a winding road full of pit stops, speed bumps and detours. Many addicts who have come through the other side clean and are now living healthy, substance-free lives had their share of setbacks. It’s normal. You will recover, but here are some things you must do after a relapse to get yourself back on the path.
Forgive yourself immediately
You cannot move forward with your recovery if you don’t first forgive yourself for your relapse. Think about it this way: If you are driving somewhere and you suffer an unexpected flat tire, do you just pop the rest of your tires and give up? Of course not. You change the tire and keep driving. The key to forgiveness is knowing that relapse can be part of the process. Be honest with yourself. Is it ideal? No. Can you move on? Yes.
Focus on boosting your self-esteem. This starts with reframing your own narrative and refusing to compare yourself to others in your situation.
Resist the urge to become isolated
Addiction is a lonely disease. People with substance problems often push loved ones away as their disease progresses and takes hold of their life. This is due to guilt, shame, embarrassment, and a host of negative emotions. When you relapse, you are falling back into old habits - and that doesn’t just mean abusing. Isolation is an old habit that you have to work to overcome.
When you’re working to avoid isolation, you have the danger of being thrust into tough social situations. You must work on asserting yourself with your friends and family and dictating social scenarios that work for you. Avoid triggers and stressful locations. Don’t hang out at a bar, for example.
Focus on finding some distractions
If you’re addicted to something, you spend a lot of time on it. When you’re in recovery, you have to find things to fill the time void that’s left when you stop drinking. Filling your days with distractions is key, especially following a relapse. A new hobby could be a good idea and there are plenty that are suited for those in recovery. Try something that promotes mindfulness like yoga or gardening. Or just make a list of all the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Another “distraction” better described as a life shift is focusing on your physical health. A healthy body begets a healthy mind, which begets a better foundation for recovery. Dive into some sort of exercise - running, basketball, racquetball - it doesn’t matter what (as long as it’s fun). As long as you are doing enough to replete your brain’s serotonin you are helping yourself recover.
Lean into therapy
Even the strongest people are not equipped to handle recovery and especially recovery post-relapse - alone. Therapy - whether it be one-on-one counseling, guidance from a spiritual leader, group therapy, or step meetings - is something you should lean into at this moment in your journey. Not only does it help to hold you accountable for your actions, but also the people who lead therapy have seen it all. They know how to help you succeed.
Often a relapse is a feature, not a bug, of the recovery process. It happens to most everyone in your boat, and if you reframe the situation you can come out of it stronger and more determined to get clean. Instead of thinking of a relapse as a failure, think of it as a teaching moment and a character booster.
Jun 5, 2018
The Mental Health Benefits of Self-Care
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In 2014, a report found that American workers are “insecure, underpaid, highly stressed, and generally unhappy at work.” This state of affairs may be a clue as to why illnesses and mental health issues seem to be on the rise.
While you must make enough money to pay your bills, you also must make time for self-care. In fact, neglecting self-care can make you sick. That can cost you – and, according to The Society for Human Resource Management, your employer – in productivity, good decision-making, and effective work.
Proper self-care can produce:
- Lower stress levels.
- Increased self-confidence.
- Improved brain function.
- More productivity.
- Better immunity – and, therefore, fewer sick days.
Tried and true methods of self-care include eating healthy, exercise, quitting bad habits, and avoiding overindulgence. However, there are some practices you may have overlooked.
Self-Care Practices You May Be Missing
These practices are necessary to maintaining good mental health.
Getting enough sleep.
We’ve often been told that most adults need 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, that’s not accurate. The National Sleep Foundation recently studied sleep times. They found that most adults between the ages of 18 and 64 require 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Where you lie on that spectrum depends on your body. You probably already know if you are sleeping 6 hours (or less) a night but your body and brain need 8. It’s time to get to bed earlier.
Another self-care practice many people overlook is relaxation. Doesn’t sleep count? You might need additional relaxation time to manage an overload of stress. If you’re struggling to make decisions, settle your brain down at night, are often anxious, and can’t seem to “catch your breath” during your day, relaxation time can help you cope.
Use one of these techniques a few minutes a day:
- Hot bath with Epsom salts.
- Deep breathing exercises.
- Journaling. This is very effective early in the morning to clear your mind.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). This is a technique that helps you relax tensed muscles. Learn how in this article from Guide To Psychology.
We live in a world where we feel guilty whenever we say “no.” The truth is we can’t do everything. We have to pick our priorities on the basis of who and what is important to us. It’s time to learn to say no to things that will bog us down. Learn how from this guide at Personal Excellence.
While all the habits above can help, stress is one of the most pressing issues in modern life. Unchecked, it can contribute to sickness, stroke, and heart disease. These techniques can help reduce stress:
- Stress-busting foods.
Reduce caffeine and fill up on foods that reduce stress, such as nuts and seeds, spinach, and salmon.
- Walk in nature.
Nature has a calming and healthy effect on the mind and body.
Calming essential oils, such as lavender, in a diffuser can help.
Learn more ways to relieve stress from Very Well Mind.
For People In Addiction Recovery
It’s also helpful for people in addiction recovery programs to maintain self-care habits. Here are some tips:
- Pick up a new hobby.
Learning a new skill, like playing an instrument or gourmet cooking, can provide purpose, structure, and engagement in your down time to keep you occupied. As you improve, you’ll build confidence.
- Meditation and yoga.
These practices balance your cortisol levels, which reduces stress and allows your body and mind to heal.
In today’s world, self-care is underrated but it is just as important to creating a successful life as recovery from stress, illness, or addiction. Take the time today to integrate these practices into your life. You’ll be glad you did.
Bio of the author:
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 wellbeing. He created SelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.