Finding Time for Self-Care and Leisure as a Freelancer
Freelancing is all about productivity. The more productive you are, the more you earn. But as much as the life of a freelancer offers an escape from the typical 9-to-5, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of working yourself to the point of burnout.
It also doesn’t help that freelancing is a naturally stressful endeavor.
As a freelancer, late payments and the occasional slow months are par for the course.
Worrying about money or the lack of clients, and sometimes both can take its toll on your physical and mental health. This can kill your productivity and enthusiasm. The worst part? If you’re not careful, this is a path that can lead to isolation and even more financial stress stemming from your lack of productivity. This is why it’s important that you fight to get yourself out of the proverbial rut if not prevent yourself from getting there in the first place.
Finding time for self-care and leisure plays a huge role in this.
Here are tips to help you do this:
1. Work on your physical health
Dedicate as much time taking care of your physical well-being as you would to your clients. In fact, treat your body as another one of your clients. Why? For starters, your mental health benefits directly from this. Not to mention, if your body is not fit and able, how do you expect yourself to work and be productive?
Follow these tips to take better care of your physical health:
Take a break. It’s amazing how much a long, brisk walk can do to both your physical and mental health. Do this often enough and you’re not only giving yourself a break, but you’re also burning calories at the same time. If walks aren’t your thing, then run, swim, or go to the gym. You might even want to clean your house. Basically, do anything that requires physical work and lets you take your mind off of your freelance work.
Watch what you eat. They say that you are what you eat, and that’s true. Science has proven time and time again that what you put inside your body correlates to how good you feel. Serotonin-rich food, in particular, is great for your well-being. This is bad news, by the way, if you like fast-food, because their food, though convenient, isn’t great for both of your mental and physical health.
Go to sleep. Seriously. Just go to sleep. Literally gives you a much-needed break. As tempting as it is to work all of the time, taking care of yourself is also work. In fact, it’s your most important job.
2. Don’t forget to get out and socialize.
Freelancing is great. You can work pretty much anywhere, and most choose to do it at home. Why not? You remove traffic and other daily transportation stressors out of the question and your productivity skyrockets. But most freelancers forget that socialization and physical contact with other people are just as important.
Working as a freelancer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get out of the house and talk to other people.
Make a concerted effort to socialize. Go on dates, hang out with your friends, get together with your acquaintances on a regular basis. Enroll in some classes, if you want. In fact, because of how big freelancing is today, there are groups dedicated exclusively just for freelancers in a particular area to get together, so you might want to look at opportunities to get to know other freelancers in your area as well.
3. Don’t let yourself go.
Just because you don’t get out much doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of how you look and your personal appearance.
You’d be surprised, but there are a lot of freelancers who forget to wear nice clothes and bathe regularly. In fact, some freelancers even work in their underwear, which is, well, kudos to them if they feel comfortable working in those, but it would help more if you treated your freelance work as you would a regular 9-to-5.
4. Pursue a non-work related hobby
What passions do you have outside of your work? Most freelancers turn their passion into work, and when that happens, finding other hobby or passion can be difficult. Even if that is so, you should still try to at least pursue something outside of your work.
It doesn’t even have to be related to your work. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
Charity, for example, is a common outlet among freelancers.
Either way, what’s important is that you find something non-work related that you can invest some of your “downtime” in to help take the edge off of things.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The latter is true especially if you can’t find the right balance between self-care and work life. You can’t expect to sustain a life where you spend most of your time at work and little on yourself. It’s just not possible. Not to mention, it’s not good for you.
So, have fun. Pamper yourself. Let loose every once in a while.
Remember, you deserve it.