12 Steps To Prioritize Your Mental Health As A Freelancer


There’s a common misconception that freelance life involves a relaxed schedule and more free time, but this isn’t always true. When you commit to a freelance career, there’s a lot more pressure to be self-reliant and this can result in feeling more anxious than usual. 

When asked, 57.36% of workers stated that their workload increased when they moved to remote working, proving that working from home can be more stressful than office solutions. When you switch to a freelance career there are certain steps you need to take to protect your mental health and to avoid any unnecessary stress.

If you’re looking for some tried and tested ways to improve your work-from-home routine, look no further! We’ve researched the best steps you can take to protect your health when working alone.

Keep reading to explore the top 12 tips for your mental health when remote working!

Top Tips For Working From Home

In need of some stress-busting work tips? Follow some of these methods to make your freelance career more enjoyable. 

1. Make A Plan

No matter what industry you’re in, a freelance business plan will make your life easier. Whether you’re a photographer, writer, or accountant, a business plan will keep you in check and hold you accountable when things get tough. 

This may not sound relaxing, but to make sure your career progresses smoothly, a well-thought-out plan is what you need. This should include your plans for the year, clients you are working with, your income and spending, any tax information, and emergency savings. 

Making sure you’re protected will save any further stress down the road. Details are important when you start working for yourself, always file well and keep information that’s important. The ultimate self-care is protecting yourself financially!  

Luckily, there’s a wealth of information online to help any new freelancer set up financial plans and business trackers from scratch. Spend some time organizing yourself and we promise you’ll feel a lot less stress once you’re done!

2. Invest In Your Home Office

When many of us had to embrace remote work in March 2020, sales of home office supplies went through the roof. But why is it so important to put effort into your work from the home area? Well, when you’re spending more time at home you’ll want to optimize your home as much as possible. It’s proven that we are all more productive and focused when we are in a pleasing environment, so embrace this data and go shopping! 

Popular work from home purchases include:

  • Ergonomic chairs to prevent back pain.
  • Motivational posters. 
  • A mouse for your laptop.
  • A good filing system.
  • Blue light glasses.
  • & more!

Investing in your home workspace also means keeping it clean and tidy! It can be hard to keep on top of cleaning when you’re on your own, however, this is extremely important for mental health. Spend 10 minutes a day removing any unneeded items or trash and spend a further hour per week deep cleaning. You’ll thank yourself when it’s done.

3. Take Regular Breaks

It’s common to get carried away with work when you’re working alone at home. Instead of taking an hour-long break for lunch, you can get caught up answering emails and without realizing you’ve worked all day. 

While this sounds productive, not taking breaks actually harms your productivity instead of boosting it. When you focus for too long, you’ll end up losing energy and you may even get a bit sloppy with work. If you stop and take a 30-minute screen break your brain gets a chance to process information better. This results in a fresh mindset when returning to work later on and more productivity too!

Try to take an hour for lunch, and a coffee break in the morning too. Another break in the afternoon is advised, but it’s best to experiment with breaks to see what works for you. Though we all need rest, some of us can work for longer than others. 

4. Work Out What Self-Care Means To You

Implementing a good self-care routine into your workweek will help you de-stress and it’ll also boost your mood. Self-care can mean different things to different people, so take a moment to explore what self-care you enjoy. 

From watching your favorite films to doing an intense workout, take time to assess your hobbies. Make sure your work-life isn’t stopping you from having fun, as these moments of bliss clear our minds and boost our self-esteem too. 

If you’re unsure what self-care methods suit you, try researching popular ways to chill out online. These often range from simple skincare routines to spa nights, baking, or even reading a book too. Whatever you enjoy doing, always schedule it into your day for some harmless fun. Remember – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

5. Nourish Yourself 

When working from home, it can be hard to take time to eat nourishing food. This sounds silly, however, we’re all guilty of reaching for a bag of chips instead of a balanced meal. When you’re in the office it can be easy to grab a sandwich from a cafe, but at home, you’re less likely to leave for lunch.

A good solution to this issue is taking time on the weekend to prepare for the week. Even if you don’t enjoy cooking, try to create a meal plan that uses varied ingredients and tastes. If you take a few hours on a Sunday evening to batch cook food you’ll be able to eat well in the week without any preparation. Batch cooking is also a great way to save money.

Meal plans may seem like a lot of effort, but they make a big difference when it comes to physical and mental health. A good variety of nutrients and vitamins will help your brain function better and you’ll experience less anxiety too.

6. Hydrate Often

Similarly to nourishing yourself, getting the right amount of water daily will improve your mental health. This is a tip we hear all the time, but in reality, how many of us drink eight cups a day?

If you find that you struggle to drink enough, you can try hydrating on the hour or you can even buy water bottles that remind you when to drink! Some complain that they’d rather drink flavored beverages, if this sounds familiar then try switching to herbal teas instead. Herbal teas with no caffeine give the same hydrating benefits as water but they have more exciting flavors to enjoy.

7. Get Moving

Freelancers are always told to keep moving when working from home, but what does this mean? Why would you get up and move away from your laptop?

Well, even a 30-minute walk can reduce anxiety and depression, so taking time to move every day will boost your mood and mental health in general. It can be tough to get up and going, but once you get into a routine of movement you’ll feel much better.

This can also be done with some morning yoga or an evening gym session too, so don’t worry if you’re not into sports. Just make sure you set some time at least three times a week to get active. Many freelancers find that a simple 30-45 minute walk at the end of the day helps them switch off and leaves their work stress at the desk. 

8. Call Friends And Family

One of the main complaints about a freelance career is the lack of social interaction. Office workers may not always like their co-workers, but they do benefit from the day-to-day chats. As a freelancer, you may know how lonely it gets, so try building up a support network of friends and family to call when it gets tough.

Taking time during a lunch break or after you finish work to have a chat will do wonders for your stress levels. Talking through problems or having a laugh with a loved one is a great way to cool your brain off when work is getting tough.

9. Protect Your Downtime

When you’re working at home as your own boss, it can be difficult to draw a line between chilling out and getting stuff done. Working in your home blurs the lines between personal life and work time, so creating a reliable schedule is a good way to stop work bleeding into your downtime. 

Though it’s common for remote workers to continue working in the evenings or on weekends, this should be avoided if possible. You need time off on the weekends to reset your brain before the next work week. Working around the clock without a break is a great way to accidentally end up burnt out. 

Make sure you set boundaries with clients so they don’t contact you after office hours. The unfortunate downside about being a freelancer is clients often expect you to reply at any time, but this shouldn’t be the case. Set work hours for yourself and don’t reply to any work or work on any projects outside of these times. 

10. Create A Sleep Schedule 

Another important step to take to look after your mental wellbeing is creating a good sleep schedule. Many workers found that working from home caused them to stay up later in the evenings, resulting in a wonky sleep schedule. You’ll never be productive and stress-free if you’re awake in the middle of the night and asleep when the sun’s out!

To get your sleep schedule back in order, set a bedtime and stick to it. This will be difficult at first when you’re used to staying up later but stick with it. It can help to stay screen-free for an hour before you sleep. Replace your scrolling time with a hot tea and a good book and you’ll find that you will drift off much easier than if you spend the time before bed on your Facebook feed. 

You can also buy earplugs, sleep masks, silk pillowcases, lavender oils, and even blackout curtains to help you get a better night’s sleep. These may sound frivolous at first, but when you spend your work hours with less anxiety you’ll be glad you invested in them!

11. Listen To Your Gut

When you’re freelancing, it can be tempting to take on large projects that are time-consuming even though your schedule is already full. When work isn’t always guaranteed, freelancers can overwhelm themselves with too many projects at once. Not only is this a bad business move, but your anxiety levels go through the roof!

Instead of scrambling through a lot of projects and rushing deadlines, choose projects that suit your niche and pay your rate. This will result in better work from you and a reliable source of income too. Though it can be tempting, taking on low-paid projects will only cause you to stress in the long term as you’ll be over-worked and under-paid. Your gut will usually tell you when something feels off or if it feels overwhelming, so don’t ignore these signals. 

12. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Mental wellbeing is a serious topic, if freelance life is making you feel anxious or depressed always seek professional help if needed. There’s never any shame in consulting a professional when your health is involved! Whether you opt for counseling, a life coach, or a therapist, a professional can help to improve your work-life balance and give you a better mental health outlook too. 

Make The Most Of Your Freelance Career

Looking out for your mental health is important when freelancing. Working for yourself is rewarding and this career path has endless perks, but there are certain steps you need to take to keep yourself healthy too. Hopefully, these tips have inspired you to invest in some self-care and relaxation time! Have you tried any of these tips before? Let us know your favorite mental health hacks in the comments!

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