15 Ways How Freelancers Can Prioritize Their Mental Health
Freelance work is becoming more and more popular as we experience the bliss of setting our own hours and working from home. On the surface, freelancing sounds like a dream, but this unique way of work comes with its own set of problems. Unlike office jobs, freelancers have to set their own rates, run a business without help, and work on their own.
While this career isn’t for everyone, those who embrace it love the freedom that comes with working outside of an office. To successfully lean into freelance life, you need to make time for yourself, as well as work. In a survey 41.09% of people stated they feel more anxiety when working from home, so it’s more important than ever for freelancers to look after their mental health.
Luckily, there are some key tips and tricks you can follow to make sure you’re mentally healthy when working at home. Keep on reading to explore the top 15 tips to help freelancers prioritize their mental health!
Top 15 Mental Health Tips For Freelancers
Looking for some tips to get your mental health in check when working from home? Here are our tried and tested tips to help you thrive in a freelance career!
1. Make Time For Self-Care
Though the term self-care gets thrown about a lot, it is important to stop and make time for yourself when remote working. It can be easy to get sucked into a routine of constant work, especially when your home becomes your office. Make sure you actively stop and take time for yourself to enjoy non-work activities too!
Self-care means different things to different people. To work out your self-care needs, think about the indulgent activities you enjoy. What soothes you after a long day of work? For some, this is a luxury skincare routine, but for others, this is quality time with a Netflix film.
Here are some of the most popular self-care activities:
- A luxury bath or shower.
- Eating a nutritious meal or snack.
- Spending quality time with loved ones or pets.
- Binge-watching a new show or movie.
- Spending some time playing video games or investing in a non-work hobby.
- Reading (bonus points for no screen time!)
- Baking or cooking
Try some of these ideas out when you’re feeling stressed to help you give your mind a work break. Make sure you take time for self-care more than once a week too!
2. Invest In Your Space
Another top-tip for making remote work more pleasant is investing in good work from home gear. This became a popular trend during the Covid-19 lockdowns, as many had to start working from home offices and lacked the tools they would usually have at work.
Popular purchases included ergonomic chairs to improve posture and back health, blue light glasses for laptop work, and a new mouse for your computer too. While these are practical options, it’s also important to make sure you like the aesthetics of your space too as this is where you’ll spend most of your week! Add cute posters, inspirational quotes, and a helpful planner to help you settle into the freelance office.
3. Make Sure You Get Up And Move
Feeling low and anxious can make you want to curl into a ball and not work. Unfortunately, these feelings are more common amongst freelancers than office workers, but we have a tip to help you combat these feelings! It has been proven time and time again that 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you beat anxiety and depression feelings, making you more productive and calmer too.
Whether you opt for a brisk walk or a full-on workout regime, any movement will help you to adapt to freelance life. This is one of the most important methods on the list and promotes physical and mental health too.
4. Design A Routine
While not all of us like to be boxed into a routine, tracking out your time can help you beat the blues when working alone. Not only does this keep you on track, but it makes sure you’re making the most of your time and running your business efficiently too.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t schedule too much work on weekends! It’s common for freelancers to work after traditional office hours, but the office workers don’t so you shouldn’t either! Time to power down at the end of the week is essential to a clear mindset on the next Monday morning.
5. Create A Support System
Unfortunately, many freelancers report that they feel lonely and this statistic is often higher than those who work in offices. As you spend more time by yourself when working remotely, it’s important to have a support system by your side. This means you should try to build a network of friends and family members to call throughout the week to ensure you can connect with others.
From coffee dates to FaceTimes, talking to others is a sure way to boost your mood and make you laugh. Though you don’t have colleagues in our office, it doesn’t mean you have to forego any social interactions!
6. Find Help When Needed
If you ever find yourself feeling low or depressed, always remember that there’s no shame in seeking professional help. Whether you find counseling sessions, a life coach, or a therapist, know that there’s no shame. Often, many people you know also get professional help too!
Reaching out can be life-changing, especially when you’re used to working alone. If you’re feeling down or anxious, consider talking your feelings through with your friends too to get a second opinion or advice.
7. Eat Balanced Meals
Another key tip that can often be forgotten is to eat healthy and regular meals! While this may sound simple, sometimes it’s easier to eat quick junk food and snacks instead of a nourishing meal. We’ve all been there and there’s no shame to admit a Pot Noodle is easier to eat than a salad, but balance is key.
If you struggle with making time to prepare food, try looking at online meal planners or shopping lists. For example, spending a couple of hours on a Sunday night preparing meals for the next week will keep your nutrition on track and it will also give your brain more power in the week too. Experiment with food, flavors, and tastes to make this exciting if you need to!
8. Make A Finance Plan
This tip may sound more boring than others, but it’s key when you’re embracing freelance life. When you take control of your business and your client relationships, you need to have a clear personal finance plan to make sure you’re secure.
This can be stressful for some, but there are multiple guides online to help you out. From an organized tax plan to making sure you have an emergency savings fund, there are some essential finance tips to protect you as a freelancer. These may sound complex, but getting them in order now will save your mental health in the long term.
9. Watch Your Screen Time
Screen time usage went through the roof for many of us during the lockdowns. With nothing else to do, we spent our days working online and also relaxing in front of a screen too. While we can’t avoid screens these days, it’s still important to be mindful of how often we sit in front of them.
To combat energy loss from staring at blue light all day, take lunch breaks away from your laptop. Whether you go for a short walk, meet a friend, or read a book, at least 30 minutes away from a screen will leave you refreshed. It’s also important to ditch the scrolling before you sleep, as this can worsen sleep quality and leave you more stressed.
10. Go Out Into Nature
Whether we like it or not, nature is a great source of relaxation and de-stressing for us humans. This is a common tip for any stressful time, but it is a classic and will always help your mental health!
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, a quick trip into the fresh air will do your mental health some good. You don’t need to take a full-on hiking trip, but a short walk anywhere that isn’t your home office gives you a change of scenery and some exercise endorphins to help you reset.
11. Ignore Hustle Culture
This is perhaps a controversial tip, but it’s very important for freelancers and remote workers to ignore hustle culture. A popular mindset at the moment forces us to believe we should monetize every second of our spare time. While this “grind set” is great for some, for the majority of us it’s not.
Thinking every second of your time should be spent working will have you on a journey headed for burnout. Instead of using your evenings and weekends to work, set clear work hours for yourself. These don’t need to be the conventional Monday-Friday workdays, however, always take at least two days for yourself per week. Be selfish!
12. Get Dressed!
Another tip that sounds small, but can make a big difference is taking the time to get dressed every day. This is another suggestion that may initially sound silly, as one of the perks of working from home is staying comfortable. But, if you find that you feel low and sluggish during the workday try changing into normal clothes instead of pajamas. You don’t need to wear a complete business casual outfit, but some jeans and a shirt will make you feel more energized and ready to work.
13. Keep Tidy
Your workspace is your temple, make sure it’s pleasing to be in! When you work from home, no one is there to oversee you so it can be easy to leave used mugs, plates, and rubbish lying around.
Once a day put on a 10-minute timer and do a quick sweep to remove any unwanted mess. This will keep the home office nice to be in and you’ll feel more positive about work. Once a week take an hour to deep clean and you’ll feel much better about remote work – trust us on this one!
14. Hydration Is Key
Similarly to keeping up a balanced diet, spend time tracking your hydration habits too. We’ve all heard that we need to consume at least eight cups of water a day to keep us thriving, but how many of us actually stay on top of this?
It’s important to stay hydrated to keep functioning well and to keep your mental health in a positive space. If you find that you forget to drink, try using a large liter bottle instead or drink herbal teas to mix the tastes up. Think of yourself as a garden plant, you need to have regular sunlight and water to thrive.
15. Reach Out To Other Freelancers
While reaching out to friends can create a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, it can be hard for them to relate to your day-to-day work life. Sometimes we just want to chat with others that understand what we’re going through.
This is where talking to other freelancers comes in handy. If you don’t personally know any freelancers, don’t worry! There are numerous ways to meet them online. From forums to Facebook groups, there are thousands of like-minded individuals to chat to. Whether you discuss work tips, mental health, or just have a good chat, this can take the pressure off of a stressful day.
The working landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years, leading to many of us taking control of our careers and becoming our own bosses. Though this has a large range of positives, it also comes with its own set of challenges too. When you’re starting your freelance journey plan, make sure your mental wellbeing is included as well as business plans too!
What do you think is the most important tip when working from home? Let us know in the comments!