Looking After Your Mental Health as a Freelancer

Freelancing is where it’s at! There are too many benefits to list in this short article, but personally I thrive on the lows as well as the highs…

That’s not to say that I haven’t had times in the past when I’ve suffered from anxiety, frustration and other unpleasant episodes. Times when I’ve had no money (none), felt lonely/ignored, and worst of all, even thought about looking for a job!

Most people choose to go into freelancing to get out of being an employee, or they see more potential earnings and satisfaction in working for themselves. However, leaving the employed environment means losing that daily human interaction. Apparently, from one survey/source I saw online…

  • 48% of freelancers admit to finding it lonely.
  • 46% of freelancers say it is isolating.
  • 32% of freelancers miss office banter.
  • 29% of freelancer miss being part of a team.

Once they are their own boss, freelancers can sometimes be harder on themselves than their previous boss was! For example, not taking enough breaks. And working on your own – and maybe not being able to talk about it – can take a toll on your mental health…

Human Interaction

Quite a few (25% I hear…) of freelancers experience depression. This is due to a number of different reasons, but the main cause is isolation and feeling lonely.

There are steps though, of course, to shake these feelings off if they appear, and to get on with enjoying your business. If you don’t get much of that (vital) face-to-face human interaction, it’s important to make the effort to socialise.

Chances are that you just grab a meal at home for lunch, or snack at your desk… How about arranging lunch dates sometimes? Catching up with a friend over lunch will be great for your mental health, and also gets you out into the fresh air, which itself is conducive to wellbeing. 

If you don’t already, look into classes or clubs, or other activities to help you get your mind off work and socialise with new people. You know the kind of thing: yoga; pottery; book club; fight club… Maybe have a look at Meetup.com or Eventbrite.

Or, one of my favourites because I enjoy business so much, is business networking events. Learn about other people’s businesses, relax, make friends, find leads… If you’re shy about this sort of thing, just take a friend with you.

Change the scenery

If you haven’t yet, maybe consider shared workspaces (coworking places) in your neighbourhood. They provide a dose of the office environment you might be missing. Be around, and meet other people who are likely to have things in common with you.

Being in the same room, day-in, day-out, can be draining. So if not a shared workspace – or if sometimes you don’t feel like socialising (and if your kind of work permits it) working in a coffee shop, or at the park etc. or even just your garden if you have one, can be amazing for your mental health and inspiration.

Structure your day

Becoming lost, confused, stressed, anxious, worried, depressed…can all stem from a lack of structure in your day-to-day work. Structure is one of the built-in benefits of being an employee. As a freelancer, you need to create this structure for yourself.

Have a specific time to start and finish the day’s work, and learn to unplug after work.

As well as having other great benefits for your work itself and business success, it will help you to balance your work and personal life, and give you the freedom to arrange more social activities.

Remember to look after yourself

Mental and psychological problems aren’t fun, and obviously have a negative effect not only on your work but your whole experience of life.

Sometime problems can be creeping up on you without you realising it’s happening… So please make sure you are looking after your mental health, by preventing, or doing something about, any issues.

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