Burnout is on the rise, with over half (52%) of survey respondents experiencing the condition in 2021, up from 43% who said the same in Indeed’s pre-Covid-19 survey. With many people now a part of the gig economy, avoiding the stress that comes along with the nature of the job — while trying to make as much money as possible — can be difficult, especially for those in the disabled community. From the common challenges involved to how one can maximize earning potential while creating a healthy work-life balance, here’s what every gig worker should know.
A number of challenges
Gig work presents a flexible solution for those who aren’t able to thrive in a traditional job setting, allowing many to find work where it might have not otherwise have been possible. This can be especially great for the disabled community — though there are challenges involved. For instance, a lack of accessibility within gig apps can be overwhelming, and certain jobs may take longer for a disabled worker to do (which can hinder money-making efforts). While working in the gig economy doesn’t prevent you from receiving disability benefits, there are rules to follow — for example, working too many hours or earning over a certain amount of money could result in getting benefits revoked, which can lead to even more stress.
For anyone working in the gig economy, the ‘hustle culture’ can become a real source of stress for many — while time off is an option, missing out on an opportunity to make money can leave many to overwork themselves. In addition to a lack of benefits (like paid vacation time and health insurance) and inconsistency regarding work flow, VeryWell Mind notes that while gig work does have its benefits, it can have a negative impact on mental health. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is burn out — a stress condition that “leads to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion,” according to Healthline. While Healthline notes that anyone continually exposed to high levels of stress can get burned out, it’s important to recognize the signs — isolation, exhaustion, frequent illness, irritability, and escape fantasies.
Maximizing your earning potential
Getting in touch with a lawyer is a great way to ensure that you’re compliant when it comes to navigating the rules regarding disability benefits while working in the gig economy. While this can give much peace of mind, one Zen Business article highlights several options for maximizing your earning potential as a gig worker — including identifying your goals, taking breaks, and managing your time well. Written by John Pearson, the post points out that identifying a daily goal (such as a dollar amount) can help motivate you to keep a steady income coming in on a regular basis, while taking ‘real’ breaks to do something non-work related (like yoga), can give your mind a rest. The post also highlights the value in managing your time well — from having a clear work schedule to tracking your time and identifying/eliminating time wasters — all of which can aid in avoiding stress while helping to maximize your earning potential.
In addition to knowing when to say ‘no’ to extra work when needed, creating further boundaries is also extremely important when looking to protect your mental health and prevent burn out. “If we can’t regularly pull ourselves away from our jobs, burnout is inevitable and we will cease to be creative,” notes Microsoft, stating that “Disconnecting is essential.” While it’s recommended to take regular breaks from work and devices every two hours, limit meetings to 30 minutes, and take small breaks during longer tasks, ending the workday at a specific time each day can further aid in creating a solid boundary, especially if you’re working from home.
The gig economy has granted many a flexible and enjoyable source of income — however, there are a number of challenges involved. Through setting clear boundaries and implementing healthy work habits, you can help prevent burnout while maximizing your earning potential.
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