Health and mental health in particular is a funny thing. I have struggled for a few years now, initially with physical health and latterly with mental health as well.
I took on to much work, a common problem. The work is there, take it, it may not be there tomorrow. Thats something I have been saying for about 30 years now. Apart from a few slow spells there has always been work out there. So why have I been so hard on myself? Why have I run my body, and ultimately my mind, into the ground? Fear? Maybe.
A couple of months ago I went through a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. As a result I stepped back and re evaluated my life. 40 hours became 5 and the money got tight. My health improved and I swapped the stress of working for the stress of living on a reduced income. Slowly though things get easier. To start to wonder how you wasted so much money on non essentials. At this point I should probably mention I have a small income from a personal pension so this may not be for everyone.
2 weeks ago I realised that the main remaining stress was from those few working hours. I get a good hourly wage but is it worth it? So I took on a lower paying, totally stress free, job, 2 afternoons a week. A few more hours, a little less cash, a lot less stress. Time to look at the budget again.
This weekend I gathered up all my artwork, all my wife’s craft, and went off to a craft fair. It’s fair to say I didn’t make a fortune, bad timing with the weather and the England football match. What I did get is a lot of compliments and some good contacts. “Have you ever done an exhibition? Your work is really good,” went the words of one new contact. I have been invited to go along and speak to the organiser of a disabled artists group.
Change can sometimes be good, let go of the fear and see what happens. It’s time to let go of the worry of missing the work and go with the possibility of a new direction. My stress levels are so much lower, or they would be if I didn’t have the last of my previous customers to see. Time to steel my nerves and tell them.