Being a freelancer is one of the best career options out there: You’re your own boss, you don’t have to commute, and there’s always an opportunity to earn more. However, it also has its own set of disadvantages. According to Epson’s research, (as reported by Freelancer Club) 25% of freelancers have experienced depression and 21% have felt suicidal due to loneliness. This is something that needs to be addressed now, as in just over a year the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has predicted that half of the UK workforce will work remotely. So as freelancers, it is crucial that we look after our own mental health and well-being. As a freelancer myself, I have learned a few tips from experts:
Working from home doesn’t mean that you have to sit at your desk throughout the day. You have to find ways to stay active. For instance, you can do a bit of stretching during your break or if you have more time, do a bit of gardening.
William Haseldine, the founder of BeWarmer, stressed the link between physical activity and improving mental health. He shares: ‘While you’re working, get into the habit of standing and stretching every 20 minutes to avoid muscle tension and poor circulation.’
Do not bite off more than you can chew
Since you’re working for yourself, it is easily tempting to accept a lot of projects more than what you can actually deliver. This can not only affect the quality of your work but can also affect your mental health and well-being.
Dennis Relojo-Howell, a blog psychologist and a mental health YouTuber, advises that the best way to avoid this is, to be honest with yourself and with your clients on how much work you can actually deliver at a given time.
Over the years, as a freelancer, you will have a clearer understanding of your abilities and resources.
Freelancers can also fall into the trap of snacking all the time. This is less likely to happen if you’re working at a traditional office, as opposed to just being in a room all by yourself.
Studies are increasingly showing that poor diet can be detrimental to your mental health and proving that lower rates of mental illness can be linked to healthy diets.
It is important to have the willpower to avoid snacking while at work and to take your meals on time.
Practise yoga and meditation
Being a freelancer is hectic and full of stress hence being blissful is almost impossible with so many things going around you. Bree Verity of Arc Storytelling shares some top tips on how to meditate for positive thinking.
One of the best ways to calm your mind is by practising meditation, helping you to relax and strengthen your mind. As well as this, practising yoga is a holistic way of keeping yourself physically fit.
Don’t suffer in silence
Renee Clarke, Director of Work Well Hub who specialises in improving well-being, performance and retention within the workplace, highlights the importance of not suffering in silence – whether you work at a traditional office or as a freelancer.
Renee says: ‘If you feel that your job is either causing or adding to poor mental health don’t be afraid to reach out for help.’
There are many more tips that are available out there; ask your fellow freelancers what works best for them.
The important thing is to keep on improving your work as a freelancer, while at the same time prioritising your mental health and well-being.
Continue reading: What to do with yourself when you’re in between work projects
About the author:
Lydia Batty is a freelance writer who contributes articles relating to mental health and well-being. She did her degree in psychology from the University of Edinburgh.