We’ve spent the last few weeks exploring what it means to be a freelancer on our blog. We’ve looked at tax and finance, home office space, networking and legislation. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a lot of practical things that you have to consider when you embark on a career as a freelancer. One thing that is often ignored which plays an equally important role in your success as an independent professional is the effective management of stress.
Tight deadlines, maintaining a steady stream of business and overwork all contribute to increased stress levels. Chronic stress can affect your health, well-being and sense of job satisfaction. While a fast-paced lifestyle can focus you and encourage you to work more efficiently, it is always a good idea to actively manage your stress-levels.
Read on to find out some of top methods of busting stress, both in and out of work.
1. Keep regular office hours
The temptation with freelancing is to work whenever and wherever you want. This can be a bonus when working on a larger project with strict deadlines. However, this should not become the norm for you. It can quickly develop into working anytime something pops up in your inbox. That’s a fast way to burnout. Make sure you have regular working hours and stick to them!
You have to get used to alone time when you work as a freelancer. It’s your business; you generate your own leads and you are responsible for completing the services you are contracted for. However, a growing sense of isolation due to your job can bring about enormous social stress.
So while there may be times when you want to hide away and work until the wee hours, try making plans with friends or organising a day out to take you out of your work environment completely.
3. Take care of your health
Taking time off sick impacts any business, but working when you’re not in the best of health has long term effects that negatively impact both your health and your productivity. Avoid this by ensuring you prioritise your health to avoid getting sick in the first place. Eating well is the best place to start. And if you do get ill? Take the day off! The world and your business won’t come crashing down if you take a day to take care of yourself.
4. Stay active
Exercise is a brilliant stress buster. It releases endorphins and makes you feel good naturally. Complete with improving your overall health, regular exercise is sure to give you boundless energy and will help you work out any work day frustrations. A 30 minute walk is the perfect place to start if you’re gym-phobic!
5. Invest in your hobbies
Hobbies aren’t just the privilege of children or the retired. Hobbies can, in fact, prove to be a brilliant way to keep your mind active in your time away from work. If your preferred hobby includes a social circle, sports such as golfing or playing with a local football team will provide you with a community outside of work with which you can engage.
While the causes of stress when you work as a freelancer may never totally disappear, the way you deal with them is directly in your hands. Make sure stress doesn’t slow you down and leave you burnt out and overworked by following these steps, and creating a healthy work-life balance.
What are some of your favourite ways to relax, unwind and tackle work stress? Let us know in the comments below.
And remember – you still have time to enter our National Freelancers Day competition!
If you want to be in with a chance of winning a brand new iPad mini 2 all you have to do is Tweet us directly at @KingsbridgeProf and finish this sentence, “I love freelancing because…” and use the hashtag #NFD2014.
The competition closes at midnight tonight, so you have all day to get your best answers in to us. You’ve got to be in it to win it so if you fancy your chances get thinking, get creative and send us your best efforts!