Freelancing is a very time-consuming and mentally and physically taxing job as well. People believe that working from home is easy and not that straining as working from an office. But this is false.
As a freelancer, I can assure you it is not an easy job or 'easy money'. You have to work hard every day to sustain yourself. As a freelancer, any place is your workplace and any hour is your working hour. Not all freelancers have a fixed workspace. Some work from the couch, table, café, workshop, etc. Some days we work 5 hours a day and sometimes 20 hours a day.
Some freelancers work for one or two companies whereas others have multiple clients. Handling them, and meeting their expectations and deadlines is a difficult task.
So, it is a very stressful job and comes with its highs and lows.
Apart from freelancing there are various other responsibilities too that add pressure on our shoulders. Household responsibilities, social commitments, and so much more. Others might feel that other employees also have these responsibilities so what is the big deal?
The deal is that they have a fixed working schedule so they can plan their other commitments accordingly. Freelancers don't!
All of this combined adds a lot of stress.
Effects of stress?
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It is your body's reaction to a challenge. It can be both positive and negative. Positively it encourages you to work better. But negatively it leads to other mental health issues like loneliness, depression, reduce self-esteem, and increases self-doubt.
Stress has many negative effects. It reduces your productivity, and quality of work.
That is why it is crucial to handle it correctly.
How to handle stress?
Firstly, you need to have a work-life balance. Draw your boundaries, it is crucial to managing stress. Time management helps in reducing stress. Divide your work throughout the week and keep time for leisure too! Make a daily planner dairy so that you can plan.
Don't overburden yourself - as the saying 'don't bite off more than you can chew'. Be realistic while taking up new projects and see if you can manage them along with your pre-existing work or not.
Prioritize your work - when you have tons of work the best thing to do is sort out which one is more important, or what you have to submit first. Accordingly, you prioritize all your work. So, your stress will reduce.
Take breaks when required-
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Taking breaks and indulging in recreational activities is a must to reduce and balance stress. It mentally refreshes you so that you work better.
Taking breaks as a freelancer is crucial. Don't think that you are missing out on work or income. In today's world, you need to work smarter not harder.
Seek out help- if you think that you cannot handle the stress or are suffering from any mental illness then seek out help from your friends and family. Seek professional help from psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists. It will help you control your symptoms and lead a happy, healthy life.
Do not fall for the stigma that society has created regarding mental health. If you need help never shy away from it.
Simple stress-relieving techniques
- Get active – it is important to include some sort of physical activity in your schedule. Go for a run, do yoga, or follow simple YouTube exercise videos.
Most freelancers have a very sedentary lifestyle which has a lot of negative effects. If you can't do any form of exercise then I recommend you walk. Walking is the best exercise. Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
- Eat healthily – eating a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for managing stress. Include lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid stress eating carbs. If you are craving sweets or junk food such as chips, pizza, etc due to stress try to replace them with healthier alternatives.
For example, you can have makhana, popcorn, banana chips, dark chocolate, gluten-free goodies, dates, prunes, fruits, and fresh juices.
- Connect with people- connect with other freelancers and talk about the problems you are facing. Talking to people reduces stress as you realize that others are facing similar issues too.
- Sleep on time – sleep is crucial for your body to get rest and release the right hormones for your well-being. Fix your sleep schedules. Keep a fixed time for yourself to sleep and wake up every day.
- Get a journal – research shows that journaling, doodling, and painting have positive effects on stress reduction. If you have any other hobbies, you can do that too!
- Meditate- Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to tackle stress issues. 20-30 minutes of meditation can help you a lot.
These are some of the ways you can reduce and deal with the stress that comes along with freelancing.
Do you have other ways of dealing with it? Then let us know in the comments section below!
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