Saying that you are a freelancer will likely arouse at least some envy among people as they believe you are living the dream.
Indeed, freelancing has so many perks such as the ability to work when and where you like as well as choosing projects based on your personal interest. But what often goes unnoticed is the stress you’re dealing with daily.
Freelancing is liberating but also risky and worrisome. Whether you’re a content writer, graphic designer, coder, or perhaps an event planner, it is safe to say that you’re worried most of the time. And the effects of stress can affect your health as well as your relationships.
It is hard to be relaxed when all your success, your income, and your future engagements depend solely on you.
Below, we’ll talk about ways to cope with the stress of being a freelancer and how you can take control of your health.
Plan your day
The flexibility that comes with freelancing can often cause or worsen one’s anxiety. If you worry too much, you can’t focus on the actual work.
This causes you to procrastinate, take frequent breaks to worry, and as a result, waste time. Not to mention that it’s so easy to simply snooze that alarm in the morning and stay in bed a little longer just to blame yourself for it later.
Hence, the stress.
Instead, plan your day ahead. Create a schedule for each day of the week if possible and make sure to include time for breaks, for walking your dog or having a cup of coffee with a friend. Separate huge projects into smaller tasks and set attainable goals that won’t cause a headache every time you think of them.
Many freelancers do their best work in the morning so instead of snoozing the alarm, get up, make fresh coffee and start your day while you’re well-rested and energized.
Planning your daily activities will help you get more things done and you won’t feel like you’ve wasted an entire day. As you complete each task, you can cross them off your to-do list. This will give you a feeling of satisfaction knowing you’ve accomplished everything you’ve planned for that day.
Don’t forget to clock off when you finish. Resist the urge to take a look at the next project or begin tomorrow’s task. Allow yourself time to rest as if you are leaving the office and going home.
Pick your projects carefully
As a freelancer, you worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. This is probably the biggest concern a freelancer has.
Managing your finances and ensuring a steady stream of income is a challenge when you’re self-employed. This often means that you’ll feel compelled to accept any project that comes your way regardless of how time-consuming, unsatisfying or low-paying it might be.
This may lead to piling up of projects and delays because you can’t meet the impossible deadlines you agreed to out of fear. As a result, your work suffers and you might even lose clients.
This doesn’t do you any favors and it certainly isn’t good for your wellbeing.
Pick projects based on your availability as well as your preferences. Working on projects you enjoy and find interesting will awaken both your creativity and productivity.
If you’re already swamped with work for the foreseeable future, politely decline new projects until you know you can fit them into your schedule without overworking yourself and causing burnout.
Leave the house
Freelancing typically means working from home and spending long hours at your desk staring at the screen. Since there’s no commute, you might not leave the house all day, but this can be detrimental to your wellbeing.
Leaving the house to go meet a friend, have lunch, or exercise is extremely beneficial for your health. Exercise provides stress relief, improves your sleep, and improves the overall quality of your life.
If you’re not a fan of gyms, go for brisk walks daily or go swimming. Find an activity that suits you.
On the other hand, socializing can also alleviate stress and put you in a better mood. Humans are undeniably social beings so interacting with other people is essential not only for our mood but for our brain functions as well. Social contact is even said to improve memory.
To cope with stress as a freelancer, make it a habit to leave the house at least once a day to get some sunlight, go shopping, chat with friends, or go for a run. This is especially helpful if you’re feeling stuck and struggling to find motivation.
Instead of despairing at home and feeling anxious while getting nothing done, go out and do something that soothes you. Upon your return, you will feel more motivated to tackle the project than before.
Give yourself a break
If your workload is overwhelming lately and you are stressing out constantly because you can’t meet deadlines, perhaps the problem is not your productivity or lack of structure. Perhaps you simply need to give yourself a break and outsource some tasks.
Depending on the nature of your job, there are plenty of small tasks you can outsource for a small fee and there’s nothing wrong with seeking help.
If you sell hand-crafted products and struggle to ship all your items on time, hire someone to pack them and ship them for you while you focus on your craft. Or share your copywriting workload with another writer.
Whatever obligations you have that you feel affect your anxiety and increase stress, you can always hire someone to help you out with these things. For example, if you have real estate you need to take care of, you can hire a property management company and leave it to professionals.
If it gives you peace of mind, it pays off to outsource some tasks because your health comes first.
Stop comparing your success to others
No matter what we do, stressful situations will always be part of our lives. It is impossible to stop worrying 100% but it certainly is possible to learn how to cope with the stress to minimize its effects and protect our health.
Not comparing your success to others is one step towards achieving that. You shouldn’t work impossible hours just because others feel they need to.
You are on your own journey. To truly enjoy the flexibility of freelancing without stressing out all the time, allow yourself to find a balance that gives you the chance to truly enjoy the flexibility of freelancing while still accomplishing your goals.
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