Freelancers: Keeping Yourself Healthy

Freelancers: Keeping Yourself Healthy

It might seem to some that us freelancers must seem to lead a charmed life. We can work from home or hotdesk or avail ourselves of a number of freelancer friendly workspaces if we don’t wish to incur overhead costs. I, for example, run a coworking group here in Thirsk.

Freelancers can (at least in theory) start work whenever they like and finish whenever they wish. They have the flexibility to fit their working activities around their lifestyle and family commitments. Indeed, in many ways, it is a charmed life. However, freelancers face a struggle for balance that their salaried friends may not comprehend. They can find themselves working ridiculously long hours when up against a deadline, often going hours and hours without a break. They can go days on end without ever leaving the house. They can find themselves damaging their health in some pretty serious ways, despite their best intentions.

Sound familiar?

I’ve been freelancing for 12 years now and here are some ways I recommend you try in order to keep yourself healthy and happy in 2019.

Get Out

When a deadline looms near you may feel that every moment spent away from your computer screen is wasted. Nonetheless, it’s imperative for your mental health that you venture out every day. Take yourself for a walk, ideally somewhere where you can be close to nature. This will provide your mental health with a pick-me-up and the act of walking will help you to overcome any issues with creative block which can rarely be resolved by staring at a blank screen.

Take Care of Your Digestive Health

The life of a freelancer can often be stressful and is almost always fuelled by coffee. The bad news is that stress and coffee can be a damaging combo for gut health. Poor digestive health can have a knock-on effect on everything from the appearance of your skin to fluctuating weight and even your sleeping patterns. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and use products from Erbology.co to keep your energy levels up and your digestive health harmonious. Speaking of eating…

Give Yourself a Lunch Break

Yes, it can be hard to tear yourself away from your desk when you’re in the zone. Yes, it can be frustrating knowing that every minute you spent cooking and eating your food you’re not making money, but you can only get so much out of an empty fuel tank. Making sure that you take the time to eat can prevent the creative well from running dry while giving your brain a break will make you more productive in the long-term.

Take the Time to See Your Friends

This is important! Unlike your salaried friends, you don’t have the luxury of colleagues. People with whom you have an infinitely renewable source of banter and with whom you can engage in the kind of social repartee that is so important to your mental health. For this reason, it’s extra important that you maintain your relationships with your friends. This is something I make sure I prioritise.

Make sure that you don’t get trapped in the freelancer bubble.

 

Working From Home & Family

Working From Home & Family

I’ve juggled working from home and a family for twelve years. Going freelance or starting your own business offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to managing a family and working. It isn’t always easy to find ways of managing your family and the home while building a career or a business, but it is worth the effort if you think it is right for you. Work life balance is essential and hopefully these tips will help you juggle working from home and a family too.

Prioritising

To start with, the first steps always has to be the abilities to prioritise. You need to think about what matters to you the most. Is it spending more time with your family? Or being able to challenge yourself with work? Or it could be that you feel fulfilled in your career and be a great mother, wife, daughter, or whatever else. And when this is the case, you have to set your priorities. There’s no wrong answer here. Obviously you want to be there for your family and do right by them however working the number of hours you need or want to work is fine, you just need to find the balance.

Scheduling

When you know what your priorities are, you need to factor them in when it comes to scheduling. You really need to make sure that your day-to-day activities and actions mirror that and establishing a routine is just so important. I use a colour coded Google Calendar for everything from school trips to medical appointments to when the food shopping will be delivered.

It is OK to Ask For Help

You need to make sure that you’ve got the support that you need, both professionally and personally. Maybe you need a nanny full-time or someone for a few hours. I used a fabulous local childminder when my youngest was little which made all the difference. It’s ok if you need more help,  like Porthaven, with elderly family members. You wouldn’t think twice if they needed more help, so why second-guess yourself? Working from home-wise, use a virtual assistant to help lighten the load of give you cover during holiday times.

Setting Expectations

It’s just so important for you to be able to set your expectations at the right levels. Do you expect more help around the home? For your children to be somewhat independent and less reliant on you? Or maybe you want to set expectations with your work and clients, so that you’re only ever working set hours. Either way, if you set expectations in your mind, you’re going to find it all the more easier to establish a healthy balance here.

Working from home and managing a family at the same time is hard at times but honestly, I love my life! I’ve worked hard to balance everything else and prioritise some self-care time too. Try and make sure you do the same as you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before you get burned!

 

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