Freelancing comes with many perks. Working for yourself and making your schedule, and doing something you’re passionate about can feel liberating and rewarding. Sometimes it can also be stressful. This is true for freelance business and in times of uncertainty. Due to the higher potential of losing clients or budget cuts that decrease your income.
Freelancer’s most important resource for self care tips is yourself. Self-care ranks pretty low on freelancer’s priority lists, especially during the initial days of freelancing. Freelancer’s biggest asset is to keep your workload and continue to grow your business. You need to look after yourself first.
What is self-care?
Before delving into the concept of self-care, it’s crucial to clarify what it truly entails, as it is often misunderstood. Self-care has gained popularity, but it is not about purchasing or earning something, nor does it take a uniform form for everyone. In reality, self-care goes much deeper and represents more of a lifestyle choice. Sharon Peykar, an associate psychotherapist in Los Angeles, has five self-care tips and elaborates that it encompasses various practices, rituals, or boundaries that bring about a sense of inner calm and balance.
She emphasizes, “Self-care is about creating a life that nurtures elements contributing to my well-being, allowing me to continue pursuing my passions and staying true to my own needs and values.”
For freelancers, who lack the structure provided by teammates, friends, or managers, self-care often takes a backseat. Fortunately, there are accessible ways to initiate self-care practices, without the pressure of perfecting them immediately.
What is Self-Care and Why is it Important?
Self-care is to look after your mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. These are individual, self-initiated, and deliberate actions that help you stay healthy and remain resilient. Self-care is essential for everyone and it’s particularly important for freelancers. While freedom and flexibility are drawcards for freelancing, the reality is that it comes with many challenges.
A survey showed that around a third of all freelancers say they struggle with maintaining work-life balance, managing stress, and isolation. Freelancers can’t keep up with healthy habits such as eating well and getting enough sleep.
Since lines between personal and professional lives can blur in the freelancing world, it is even more crucial to intertwine self-care in our daily life.
Self-Care Strategies for Freelancers:
1. Follow a Morning Routine:
How you start your morning will set the tone for the entire day. You need to wake up and have a productive day by making the most out of your morning routine. When you start your day on the right foot, you create a flow toward what needs to be done instead of dragging yourself out of bed and dreading the tasks ahead.
By changing your approach towards your self-care routine at work, you’ll find that doing so in a way that can increase your focus and productivity will make finding time for self-care easier and less intrusive on your schedule.
2. Set your Working Hours:
Being a freelancer with a thriving freelance business and working from home seems like a dream. You have the freedom to set your schedule. The only problem is to have your tasks completed on time. Some problems can occur when you take liberties with the situation and fail to establish working hours.
To find time for self-care, you need to set your working hours. Just as you would at a job outside your home. You need to establish when you begin work and when you end. When you set boundaries for yourself, it will reduce stress, make it easier for you to organize other stuff and will allow you to focus on self-care.
3. Organize to Energize:
A large element of self-care for freelancers is prioritizing their daily tasks. As humans, we’re wired for consistency. Sometimes it is difficult to stick to the same routine every single day, but it’s beneficial to have some sort of structure. Prioritize things that give you more energy and do them at certain times in the day, depending on what’s going on in your life. You can consider bringing someone to help you and delegate tasks.
When you organize your days, as a freelancer you have to be intentional about scheduling self-care or it’s easy to get lost in work. You can gain from taking time away that you don’t think to take. Try to stay cognizant of including time in your schedule to recharge your physical and mental health batteries. We all are human, and we all need rest.
4. Create Mini Deadline:
Freelancers can divide their big projects into small tasks with their deadlines. This makes it better to ensure that the project finishes on time. This eliminates the stress of having to rush to meet deadlines. Even if your clients don’t set the deadline, make it yourself. This pressure of giving yourself a self-imposed deadline helps you to focus more on your work.
5. Say No to Multitasking:
Multitasking doesn’t make you more time-efficient. According to the survey, the mental switching that multitasking requires can consume up to 40% of your productive time. There’re higher chances of error since you’re not able to focus. You have screen time to choose the important task first and when you’re tired you can tackle repetitive tasks that do not require much power to do.
You can work with rhythm by being productive for 90 minutes, and then take a break for 20-30 minutes. Spend these breaks by starching, hydrating, and giving your body and eyes some rest. You can also have a short walk outside just for a change of scenery.
As a freelancer make sure to put your mental well-being and health first. These self-care strategies will help you to improve your mental and physical well-being, so you can continue to grow your business. Keep in mind that self-care is built upon long-term actions.
If you work for yourself as a freelancer, the key to staying healthy and productive is exercising self-discipline. The discipline to go to bed at regular hours, separate work from personal life, not get distracted, and create realistic deadlines. You‘ll ultimately feel less stressed, more balanced, and more productive as a result. It is easier said than done, but in the end, it all starts with discipline.