Some believe that freelance work is an escape from the pressures of a corporate job, a sanctuary from having to report to someone above you, or perhaps even a getaway from the repetitive tasks of a desk job- and generally, this is true as you’re starting out. However, just like any job, freelance work requires a certain work ethic and level of self-discipline where self-imposed pressure often becomes a sort of necessity to get your productivity flowing. Just like any job, you may find yourself in situations that are detrimental to your mental state. Here we talk about things you’d typically experience as a freelancer, and how it may affect your mental health and what you can do to counter these common experiences:
1. Being Alone
If you work at home, chances are you’ll be alone for most of the time you’re doing your projects. This may sound like an introvert’s dream but this lack of human contact can actually affect your health. You’ll be more susceptible to depression, your sleep patterns can be interrupted by bouts of insomnia, and because of that, your immune system would also likely start to get compromised. To counter this, you may want to work in shared workspaces (or co-working spaces) where you can still work independently while simulating the more familiar office environment with other people inside. Or perhaps try your local cafe or library where you can work in people with a bunch of people around you.
2. Not Having a Fixed Schedule and Process
All that newfound freedom often comes bathed in the temptation to do all the things you couldn’t with your typical 9-5 like sleeping late and eating whenever you want. Worse, you may find yourself putting off work and do everything a few hours before the client needs it. These are telling signs that you’re falling into the trap of having too much freedom and starting on some bad habits that are actually detrimental to you. Allowing your body clock and eating habits to change can lead to swings in weight and your body’s inability to do and process things when you get enough sleep. You’ll likely burn out and become less productive. You need to set boundaries for yourself and find ways to create a productive work environment. This can be accomplished by adhering to a definitive work schedule that works for you and a space you make for yourself where you can really get into the zone without distractions.
Being your own boss and master of your business, you’ll be procuring clients by yourself and likely face rejection from potential clients head-on. Sometimes you’ll have lulls where you don’t get as many clients as you’re used to and this often leads to doubt in your own skills and self-worth if you aren’t able to process rejection in a healthy way. You’ll need to prepare yourself by managing your expectations, learning from past failures and mistakes, and remind yourself that rejections from clients aren’t a reflection of your worth as a person. It’s worth remembering some of your own accomplishments and how you got to where you are now.
We know that mental health is not a light topic anyone can just browse over for a few words, but we think it’s important to know the signs when you’re feeling any sort of negativity and counter it by finding the right kind of help at the right moment.
Have you been feeling any of these negative thoughts? Don’t be afraid to reach out to the NCMH CRISIS HOTLINE, which can be reached at 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP) operated 24/7.