If you’re a work-from-home freelancer, lucky you! You get to set your own schedules and pick your own projects from the comfort of your home. It is still important, however, to take care of your mental health – especially since there is still not as much awareness about it as there should be.
Today, about 1 in every 5 Americans suffers from some form of mental illness – and freelancers and work-from-home professionals are at particularly high risk. The lack of a structured organizational setup, along with mostly solitary work time and irregular hours, typically lead to higher stress levels and thus increase the likelihood of mental illness.
If you’re looking for more work-from-home projects, you have dozens of marketplaces like JobCompass to find suitable work. However, you’re on your own when it comes to taking care of your mental health and self-motivation, and that’s where we are happy to help.
Establish A Schedule That Works Best For You
When you first start out as a freelancer, you often end up struggling to find a balance as you search for new projects and live an irregular lifestyle. This, however, will only end up burning you out.
It’s crucial to put effort into eating regular and healthy meals, establishing a sleep pattern that works for you and scheduling tasks to complete throughout the day. Take out the time to figure out your natural rhythm – your peak hours for work, your sleep pattern and your dietary requirements – and build a schedule around it.
Devote Some Time To Physical Activity
As a freelancer, it is tempting to lie around on the couch all day in your pajamas. However, this will ultimately lead to sluggishness, reduced productivity and multiple health issues. Devote some time each day to physical activity – not only will it help you stay in shape, but it’s also a great stress-buster and can help you sleep better at night.
If possible, you can enroll in a gym class outside your home – that way, you get to connect with new people and have a greater incentive to step outside. Choose a form of exercise that works for you, be it Zumba or weightlifting or running, and stick to it.
Find A Supportive Circle Of People
When you’re working from home, you’ll typically spend much of your time alone. It is important, therefore, to have a circle of trusted people whom you can reach out to if you’re feeling low.
Connect with close friends and family members who know you well and who can give you time when you need it. You can also try connecting with other freelancers in your area who can empathize with your situation.
If you don’t have anyone nearby, you can also connect with online support groups to chat with when you need company. And if you feel like your mental health is spiraling downwards faster than you can handle alone, you can also seek professional help by visiting a psychologist or talking to a counselor online.
The benefits of meditation for your mental health have been documented multiple times. Meditation is well known for enabling you to focus better, let go of negative emotions and infuse your mind with calmness.
Set aside a time to quietly meditate every day – early morning works best, before the stress of work weighs your mind down. There are several tutorials and texts available online to help you make the most of meditation. You can also play some soothing music or light a scented candle to create a more conducive atmosphere as you meditate.
Do Things You Enjoy
It is often easy to lose interest in doing something you normally enjoy – such as kickboxing or swimming – because it has become more of a task for you. Try to examine your routine and identify such activities, and make a conscious effort to do them without setting targets or feeling compelled.
In addition, make sure you devote a healthy amount of time towards recreational activities, like going to the movies or lunching with friends – even if it’s just half an hour of reading every day, ensure that you carve out time for it.
Set Boundaries For Yourself
It is very easy for freelancers to completely forget about boundaries and end up working all week. This leads to added stress and mental unease. Take a step back and chalk out certain boundaries that involve regular works hours and also allow you time off. For instance, you can take weekends off from work and not check email after 7 PM each day.
It also helps to have a dedicated workspace at your home, so that when you get up you can truly feel like you are leaving your work behind and going to relax.
Mental health is still a widely misunderstood subject, which can lead to confusion on how to handle it. By allowing yourself to find the right balance and celebrate small improvements, however, you will be well on your way to a happy, productive and fulfilling life.