People who choose to work independently as a freelancer or consultant, often times do so to harness flexibility and freedom. Remote and consulting work can be just as stressful as being chained to the same office and hours as a traditional worker, especially if you don’t know how to stave off the dreaded burnout.
International Journal of Work, Health & Organisations published a recent study that reported the higher workload and lower reward structures, such as salary, promotion prospects, and benefits can be detrimental to mental health.A study by Dr. Michael Freeman says, 30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression at some point of their careers.
Working remotely or for yourself definitely has it’s perks, however; freelancing will never stress-free. If you’re passionate about making freelancing the career path for you, try these techniques next time you feel the burn out creeping in:
1. Take time to exercise
While technically you can work at all hours of the day, being glued to the screen for hours at a time can affect the way you sleep, communicate and pay-attention to details.
Schedule time to be physically active, because it is necessary to reduce stress and the risk of job burnout. It’s been scientifically proven that exercise is key to helping reduce the impacts of stress. You may not want to hit the gym every day, but incorporating light exercise such as walking regularly or doing some stretching can also get the job done.
2. Reduce expenses where possible
Without a steady, guaranteed income finances can be a real source of stress for freelancers. Earning as much money as possible is one way to ensure that finances don’t become an issue. However, it’s easy to bet overworked when taking that path. This can create a very short path to burnout.
Another way to reduce or eliminate money-related stress is to reduce expenses. Here are a few things to consider:
Keep a low-profile life while your freelance business is at early stages and continuously work on improving the lifetime value of your clients to eliminate financial stress in the long term perspective.
3. Create a comfortable workspace
There are few things more frustrating that trying to work at your kitchen table surrounded by noisy family members, or being constantly disrupted by that cookie in the cupboard. It’s frustrating, and it’s difficult to be productive. Add poor lighting and a less than comfortable environment, and you’ll get increasingly irritated throughout the day.
If you choose to work from home, make every effort to find a place to work that has a door. Even if it’s not a dedicated office space, you will be able to close off from the rest of the household and work in relative peace. It also sends a clear signal that you’re working and should be left alone. Previously, I also shared some organizational hacks to create a productive workspace.
If that still doesn’t work, consider finding a coworking space. For a relatively low amount per month you can have dedicated desk in a space with other freelancers. These spaces often provide access to conference rooms and lounges as well. Some even hold networking events.
4. Maintain a social life
As unappealing as it may have been, going to the office each day did ensure that you were among people. As a freelancer, you may find that your social life dwindles significantly between that and simply being busy. That can bring on a sense of isolation that can aggravate feelings of stress.
Without built in opportunities to socialize, you’ll need to make a dedicated effort to spend time with friends and engage in activities that get you out of the house. Consider scheduling a weekly night out with pals. You might also join a local, professional association, or getting active as a volunteer in your community.
Just about everybody could benefit from a day spent offline every so often. Keep in mind that as a freelancer you spend more time connected than most. Give yourself a breather every so often and commit to spending time engaged with the people around you, and away from anything remotely connected to a screen.
Burnout is a real concern among freelancers. Fortunately, it is an avoidable state. Put the tips here into use to reduce your stress, and cope better with your heavy workload.