Written by Michelle Blackwell, Founder of The Weekly Woman
With the rise in entrepreneurial drive amongst young adults and many taking to online platforms to build their own businesses and side hustles, are we doing enough to consider the mental toll this can have on us as individuals? Is there a dark side to creativity and pursuing an online presence?
Last year during the pandemic, I started a side business or ‘hustle’ while working full time and studying for my law qualification. As exciting as this was to start a new venture, I also didn’t quite contemplate the negative effects this would have on my own mental health.
Although the highs of gaining followers and making sales kept me motivated, I slowly began neglecting my physical and mental needs, running on only a few hours of sleep and burning out quicker than I could put out social media posts. I was stressed and irritable and tying my self-worth heavily to the success of something I had created out of thin air.
From the dark side of a 9-5 and side business, I’ve acknowledged the three main things I suffered from:
#1 – increased isolation
It’s pretty lonely for a significant part of the solo-entrepreneurial journey. Or for anyone who has been forced to work from home because of the pandemic.
As someone who has been working from home full-time for the past year and a half, I can definitely vouch for the decline in my work colleague interactions and the incline in loneliness throughout this period, particularly during national lockdowns.
At one point last year, I also deemed myself ‘too busy’ to facetime, text, or call my friends, which essentially resulting in me self-sabotaging myself and made me feel even more isolated. If you’re like me and find it difficult to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be comforting to just tell yourself to push on and ‘you just need to get through this next bit, and then it’ll get easier’. But when does this end? When is enough, enough?
#2 – Lack of boundaries between work and ‘you’ time
I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say I also need to set better boundaries for myself, particularly when it comes to the work/life balance.
In an age where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to digitally disconnect and social media addiction seems to be at an all-time high amongst young adults, I often find myself reaching for my phone to mindlessly scroll when I could be using that time to have some real downtime (reading a book, meditating, going for a walk, listening to a podcast, writing).
#3 – Burnout
I’m also no stranger to burnout. In the past, I would wear it like a badge of honour, a sign that I had worked hard and pushed myself over my limits.
But the long-term effects and anxiety that can come with it really aren’t something to be aimed for.
Read more of Michelle’s journey via her channels.