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  • Writer's picturekirstiewright

Cultivating Wellbeing: Working alone as a Creative

We will Cover:

 

1.Why is there lots of lone working in the creative Industry?

2. The positive impacts of working alone on wellbeing.

3. The downsides working alone can have on wellbeing.

4. Tips to help promote wellbeing when working alone.

 

Working alone is often a common feature of working in the creative industries including Film, TV, Broadcast, Fashion, Music, Performing Arts and Arts. Your work environment may vary but the chances are you may face a period where you might not talk to another person for days or weeks. For many of us working alone, most of the time it can be a huge advantage, we get to decide our schedules and set expectations.


working alone wellbeing creative industries

 

Being alone can have a varied impact on wellbeing due to many factors including your current circumstances, stressors, whether you have support outside of work and how long the isolation lasts for. Some people thrive off being with others and some people find it less helpful. Whatever your preferences chances are there will come a time when you need support from others and isolation is having an impact on wellbeing. How we are impacted by working by ourselves varies greatly so some of this information may not apply to everyone. Go through and see if any of it fits with you.

 

Why does working in the creative industries often involve working alone?

 

Freelance work

Many workers in the creative field are freelance. This sometimes will involve collaboration with others, but it may not.

 

Remote work/ flexible working environments

Creative work can often be carried out remotely meaning lack of working with others.

 

Deep Focus

Lots of creative practices require deep work. Do you want to write a book in a busy environment? Therefore, lots of creatives will choose to work by themselves.

 

Reflection

Creative work often involves reflecting on your inner thoughts which people often choose to do by themselves.



working alone wellbeing creative

 

Positive impacts working alone can have on wellbeing

 

Empowerment

Working alone gives you a lot of autonomy. You get to decide (to a degree) where you work, when you work and who you work with. You make the decisions and set goals. This can be deeply empowering and can give you a sense of accomplishment over your projects. This can have a considerable impact on wellbeing.

 

Focus

Working alone means no one will come asking you questions, or interrupt you flow allowing you to do deep focused work. Having time to focus deeply on one task can have a positive impact on wellbeing if you are engaging in a task, you value.

 

Environment

Working alone means that you can create a work environment in which you thrive. Work better with music on or off? You get to decide. Do you want to be surrounded by comfort cushion or in a minimalist setting? Working alone means you get to cultivate the environment that works best for you rather than what works best for a group of people.

 

Self-reflection

Working alone gives you space to think about your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and what matters to you most without outside influences. This facilitates self-awareness which has been linked to higher levels of wellbeing. Self-reflection also has been found to help with cultivating meaning and purpose as you get to know yourself you get to know more of what you want which has been linked to higher levels of wellbeing. Self-reflection also helps us understand others, creating empathy and better relationships.



working alone wellbeing creatives

 

The downside of working alone on wellbeing can be:

 

Loneliness

Working alone for long periods of time can lead to feelings of loneliness, especially if you are someone who gains energy from being around others. We are social creatures and being alone for long periods of time has been associated with low wellbeing. We can feel disconnected from people.

 

No social support

When working in a team people can offer social support, encouragement and emotional support which can support people through stressful periods of time. Lack of social support can exacerbate stress and burnout.

 

Lack of feedback

Feedback has been found to have a positive impact on wellbeing. You want to know whether you are doing well and going in the right direction. Sometimes when working alone you do not get this feedback. This can lead to you feeling unsure what direction you are going in and whether you are doing a good job.

 

Pressure

Working alone can sometimes lead to you feeling solely responsible for the success or failure of your work. There is no one to delegate to if you need time off and no one to share the responsibility. This can lead to heightened levels of stress, perfectionism, and performance anxiety. The pressure to meet deadlines and achieve goals without the support of colleagues can take a toll on mental and emotional wellbeing.



wellbeing alone creative industries

 

Things that can help reduce the downsides of working by yourself.

 

Having a routine

A routine makes us feel centred and allows us to think about what separation we want between work and personal life. Having routines reduces the decisions we have to make eg do I brush my teeth first or have breakfast first and have been found to reduce anxiety and stress.

 

Stay connected

Create meaningful connection with others. The researchers in this study found that social connectedness was associated with less mental health difficulties. Think about who can be your network of supporters who will get you through tough times. Is it people who work in your field? Do you have people outside your field who could also help you with this. Network with others. Maybe see if you can collaborate with others.


If you are going to be working alone for long periods of time ask yourself what can I do to connect with others? What will this look like? Is it meeting up with friend after a days work or keeping connected with people on forums?

 

Seek Feedback

Take opportunities to gain feedback from your work, whether this means asking clients or others in your field. Gaining feedback has been found generally to have a positive impact on wellbeing.

 

Self care

Take time to do things you enjoy so you can recharge. This will allow you to tackle the challenges that can come with working alone.

 

Get outside

Go for a walk, even if its short. If you are somewhere near nature get outside and connect with the world around you. This can make us feel connected to the world around us and reduce loneliness as well as help with getting vitamin D if the suns out!



working alone wellbeing creative industries

 

Seek support

If you notice your wellbeing is dropping seek support. Talk to friend. If you are in the UK contact your GP or call 11.

 

Realistic Goals

Break your goals down into smaller tasks and try to set realistic time frames. I know this is easier said than done but its easy to put lots of pressure on yourself when working alone. Breaking down tasks and setting realistic goals can help.

 

Reflect on whether the way your working is working for you

Its worth regularly reflecting on whether how you are working is working for you? What helps us at one time in our life may not always help at another time. What's helping your productivity? What's lessening your productivity? Are you connecting enough with others.

 

If you would like one to one therapy with therapists who understand your industry please contact us for a free 15 minute telephone call so you can see if you would like to work with us. If you would like to know when more blogs like this one come out. Remember to sign up to our newsletter.

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