I have recently experienced a drought in my workload. Life as a Freelancer includes dry work patches that come and go. However, there was a significant moment where I was short of work and my financial reserves were running low. But more than the financial worries, I found that my mental health took a hit. For someone who thrives well being constantly on the go, being without work was a struggle.
The first couple of weeks were great, of course: lying in, catching up on TV series, socialising on weekdays. All fun and games, until the cash begins to dwindle and you are faced with the realisation that there’s no work cropping up anytime soon.
The job hunt commences but after a couple more weeks without any leads, self-doubt starts kicking in. I kept telling myself, ‘I’m unemployable.’ I had to get out of this rut and if I was going to spend the next few months short on cash and without a job, I better make it worth my while.
Give the anxiety and self-doubt the boot
Get yourself some CBD oil. The health benefits of CBD oil are endless and it has helped to keep my anxiety at bay.
I have always been big into yoga but found that I would go weeks without doing it, especially when I was busy. I wasn’t busy now. So, I dedicated half an hour of my morning to yoga. I actually followed a 30-day yoga challenge, which I have never done before, I’ve always gone to classes (I can’t do that anymore with a budget) but I’m so glad that I did.
Half an hour of my day was spent meditating. I hear many people stating that they wished they meditated but found they were too busy or it was difficult for them. There are hundreds of meditation apps out there and whether you’re in good mental nick, super busy or an extremely calm person, you should meditate every day. Think about how much more peaceful the world would be if we all mediated. Even if it’s 5-minutes of your day, just meditate. My meditation app of choice is Insight Timer and my favourite guide is Tara Brach (and the app is free).
Freelancer life means keeping fit
I despise going to the gym but it wards off obesity and when you have time on your hands, it’s natural to just eat out of boredom. Along with my yoga, I would go for a run once a week or go to the gym. That justifies over-eating, right?
Start on a personal project
We all have personal projects that we’ve been meaning to work on but have found other, more important things to do in our free time (like watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race). Now that there are more free hours in your day, get cracking on that project. Whether it’s working on a novel, setting up a side business or painting a masterpiece, even if it’s just one hour a day, just work on it. A subtle promotional plug – this is one of the projects I worked on during my ‘in-between moment’: ‘The Heights of Macintosh’.
Following on from the above point, it’s important to learn. We all have to continue learning throughout our lives. Learn a new language, take up pottery or improve your work skills. As a freelancer, there’s always something that you can include in your CV that will put you a cut above the rest. Whatever the industry you work in, it’s constantly evolving and so should you be.
Some final pointers to keep in mind
- Stick to a schedule
- Go to bed at a decent time and sleep for 8-hours a night
- Get out of the house every day
- Join a library and read more books
- Search for a meetup
- Find free exhibitions
Read more articles by Heather: 6 tips for maintaining your health with an ever-changing freelance schedule.
About the Author
Heather Buchanan is a London-based copywriter and photographer assisting clients in storytelling and content creation.