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9 Ways Freelancers Can Keep – And Improve – Your Mental Health

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For years now being self-employed has been one of the fastest-growing trends in the world. Given all its benefits, no wonder more and more people are deciding to take the plunge and become freelancers.

What many freelancers don’t recognize before they begin, though, are the ways that working for yourself – which means working alone – can affect our mental health. It’s not until working alone begins to impact mental health, that people notice its negative consequences.

To avoid this common issue of working for yourself, keep reading and learn how to keep and even improve your mental health when you’re freelancing.

9 Mental Health Tips for Freelancers

two droplets hitting water

Try Co-Working

As though remote work wasn’t already a challenge, the pandemic made it even more demanding. Some freelancers have been struggling with loneliness and depression from being even more isolated than usual.

Fortunately, now that the pandemic is over, you can start getting out of the house as often as you like. Co-working is a great way to do this. Sharing an office with other freelancers will allow you to connect with others in a similar situation. Also, you can share experiences and freelancing tips. Once you change the scenery by renting a coworking space, you’ll start feeling much better.

Surround Yourself with People You Trust

Although remote work has many benefits, it also has a few downsides. Alienation is one of them. Not only extroverts experience it, but introverts as well.

For this reason, you need a support system. Surround yourself with people you trust the most — your partner, family, friends, or other freelancers. Don’t just reach out to them once, but maintain the relationships regularly via messages, Blink, video, or audio calls. Also, don’t forget to meet with them in person. Nothing beats the good old face-to-face interaction.

Sort Out Your Priorities

Freelancers can feel on edge because of the uncertainty self-employment brings.

The most demanding part of a freelancer’s job is finding freelance clients and taking advantage of business opportunities. As much as freelancing is uncertain, there’s no reason to feel tense or anxious all the time. In the long run, this can damage your mental health.

Try to remember all the reasons why you decided to start on the freelance path. You have goals and dreams. Keeping these in mind, set your priorities straight. You’ll be able to then focus on these priorities rather than on your temporary troubles. You’ll be better able to create a healthy balance between work and private life, and this will do your mental health a lot of good.

Outsource When Necessary

The beauty of freelancing in this day and time lies in the ability to outsource work when necessary.

Freelancers are always searching for new tasks and projects. Whenever you feel you can’t handle the workload by yourself, outsource a part of it to a virtual assistant or two.

Most freelancers avoid outsourcing because it means they have to share the earnings with others. Although it’s true, outsourcing is actually beneficial in situations like these. If you have too many projects to tackle, you may not be able to deliver. To keep your freelance business going and keep your inner peace, try hiring a virtual assistant when necessary.

Recognize and Please Your Needs

One of the best mental health tips is to recognize and please your needs.

You may not realize it, but mental health can show physical signs of deterioration. Stress, anxiety, weight changes, and hair loss are some of these signs. If they persist, they can compromise your freelance career and your health in general. Without a strict schedule, you can easily overwork yourself.

When you become aware of your needs and meet them daily, your health will be optimal. Avoid stress, remember to drink liquids, exercise, and get enough sleep. Only by taking care of yourself can you take care of your freelance clients too.

female freelancer writing in a mental health journal

Set Clear Boundaries

Clients usually assume you’re always at their disposal because you’re a freelancer.

Because you don’t want to lose a client and income, you check your emails before going to bed or on the weekends. Sacrificing your time to always be connected and to meet unrealistic deadlines isn’t healthy, though. That’s why you should set clear boundaries with your freelance clients in the early stages of your relationship.

Talk about expectations and be clear about when they can and cannot reach you. If necessary, set fixed working hours and ask for realistic deadlines. Also, charge a higher fee for emergency projects. Once you finish work for the day, make sure to clock out. That’s when your time starts.

Don’t Forget to Move

Spending eight-plus hours a day behind a desk is a part of every freelancer’s routine. But physical and mental health need movement for full efficiency. That’s why you should introduce some form of exercise in your daily routine.

Physical motion is the best way to burn calories and get rid of negative energy. Also studies show it has a positive impact on sleep quality and focus. If you don’t know how to fit an hour of exercise into your schedule, try with a 15-minute stretch or a 30-minute jog. If you have time on your hands, join a local gym for regular workouts or aerobics or Pilates classes.

Find Some Me Time

During all projects you’re working on, it’s important to find some time for yourself.

Do you have a hobby? If yes, then spend at least an hour every day enjoying this particular activity. If not, then it’s time for you to take up a new hobby. It doesn’t even have to be a hobby. Any relaxing activity will do the trick. Resting, watching movies, spending time with friends, or taking a walk are ideal me-time activities. During this time, make sure to unplug from work devices and focus on yourself for the best results.

Seek Help

Having mental health problems isn’t something you should be ashamed of. You should be your highest priority, not the work you’re doing or the client that’s stressing you out with pressing deadlines.

If personal problems or feelings are weighing you down and you can’t deal with them by yourself, ask for professional help. Professionals can help you get rid of that burden and continue living a fulfilling life. Otherwise, you’ll face serious health problems that could interfere with everyday activities.

Conclusion

The number of people deciding to become freelancers increases rapidly every day. Most do it because of all the advantages freelancing offers. But, in the long run, it can affect their mental health negatively. Use these mental health tips, though, and you can maintain and even improve your mental health while working for yourself as a freelancer.

Would you like more advice about freelancing? Take my free 7-lesson mini-course Get on the Right Path to Freelancing here.

Images by Arek Socha and free stock photos from www.picjumbo.com

Jess Cooper

Jess Cooper is a part-time journalist and blogger based in Sydney, Australia. She is an energetic, creative, highly motivated person with plenty of interests. The most prominent areas of interest include makeup and cosmetics, fashion, style, event organization and decoration, healthy food, fitness, learning languages as well as home improvement.

Jess loves learning about new things and having the chance to combine those insights with her ideas and spread them to the world. She enjoys having a mindful and well-organized, healthy life, filled with all kinds of different activities and interwoven with close friendships.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Jesse and Sabina, these are great tips. Setting boundaries is my #1 thing to work on. It really can make a difference when you learn to say no and not feel guilty.
    I set aside an hour a day for a hike or snowshoe to get away from the computer screen. I try to take short breaks and work on a puzzle which is very relaxing for me.
    Outsourcing has been a wonder too for my business as I have 3 freelancers that work for me. It really helped to grow my small business.

    1. Hi Lisa – yes, absolutely setting boundaries and saying no is so important. I love that you hike or snowshoe for an hour every day! That is so mentally and physically healthy. Our bodies and are minds are so connected, that even taking good care of our bodies can be good for our mental health too. I hear you about getting away from the computer screen. It is such a powerful pull. I’m going to do that right now and go read a book. 🙂

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