Stress is a silent killer that can lead to anxiety, depression, and a variety of other serious health problems. Every freelancer has temporary high-pressure periods when it feels like they can’t cope, so here are a few strategies to help you productively respond to those pangs of anxiety.
There are plenty of benefits to being a freelancer (creating a schedule tailored around your work and lifestyle, having more flexibility in developing your vision for how you run and market your business, etc.) but it would be dishonest to say that freelancing is easy. Being your own boss doesn’t just mean that you call all the shots – it also means that you are 100% responsible for every aspect of your business. You are in charge of keeping yourself on task and producing results, even when you don’t feel motivated. Not only that, running a freelance business comes with plenty of behind-the-scenes tasks that keep your business operating smoothly. With such a wide variety of tasks to deal with each day, it’s easy to begin feeling stressed out. Fortunately, there are ways to combat all that stress and keep yourself from getting burned out.
Don’t neglect your hobbies.
Doing something that you enjoy every day will help eliminate stress and give you something to look forward to if you’re feeling burned out. If possible, try to maintain a workspace and a personal space, so your mind can easily distinguish between work and “you time.” If you’re living in a place where this isn’t possible, it’s really important to get out and practice your hobby, even if that just means getting out for some fresh air and exercise (more on that later).
Schedule plenty of breaks.
It’s a good idea to build time for play and relaxation directly into your schedule by taking periodic breaks in between periods of work. Instead of making your breaks about getting a coffee or smoking a cigarette, try incorporating some restorative physical activity into your routine. Try stretching, walking, a relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, or even a few yoga postures to get your energy moving again.
Set regular work hours.
The dirty little secret of freelancing is that much of the time, it’s a 9-to-5 job – or 10-to-6, or 8-to-4. Whatever your schedule, you’re likely to be working during the day, when your clients are at the office. If you’re not around to answer the phone when they call, you might find yourself out of a gig, or passed over for the next assignment that comes along. But even if you’re working on a project basis and can make your own hours, it’s in your best interests to make them fairly regular.
Digitally switch off.
An “always-connected” life can do serious damage to your mental health, so remember to take some time out of your digital life. Instead of browsing on your train/bus commute, read a book instead. Turn off your gadgets after a certain hour and unwind by creating a digital-free zone, switch off ‘push notifications’ on your smartphone and gadgets, and delete any apps you don’t use.
Science has proven that regular exercise can help our bodies counteract the underlying chemical causes of harmful stress. In fact, not only can working out help relieve immediate anxiety, but research suggests it also may help you deal better with psychological stress you have yet to encounter. Think of it as training yourself for the highly unpredictable stressors that come with the freelance lifestyle.
The Argos way
At Argos Multilingual, we care about the people we collaborate with, and we understand that even the best freelancers risk professional burnout from time to time. We’ve always encouraged our employees and partners to look after their health and well-being, because we know that looking out for our people results in higher levels of dedication and motivation. Visit us online to see what it’s like to work with us.