You did it. You started your freelance business and you’re ready to kill it, or maybe already are! Freelancing can be very liberating - working for yourself, setting your own schedule and spending your time doing what you love. Creating and growing a thriving business can also set you on the fast track to burnout if self-care isn’t at the top of your priority list.
When you’re not feeling your best, your business will suffer the consequences. As a freelancer, it’s almost certain that the lines between your personal and professional life have been blurred, making self-care absolutely crucial to your daily routine.
Burnout is sneaky. It happens quickly and can come out of nowhere, especially for freelancers who often live where they work. When you’re working for yourself and passionate about your craft, it’s easy to pour everything you have into your work and put yourself on the back burner. Having an actionable plan for self-care is critical to your success. When you feel good, you do good!
Here are five self-care tips to help you keep you at the top of your freelance game.
As a freelancer, there’s nothing more thrilling than landing a new client. It’s now your job to set the tone and take full ownership of the relationship. In your business. You are now the head of every department and have full responsibility for managing every aspect of the process. It’s also your job to protect your own energy at all costs.
There will come a time when a shiny new client proves to be more difficult than you bargained for and you may have to let them go. That is perfectly fine. One of the benefits of working for yourself is being in control of who you work with and you don’t need toxic work relationships in your life. Saying goodbye to a client you’re not vibing with is protecting your peace and an act of self-care.
In a corporate job, you’re likely only responsible for a few functions in a specific department. As a freelancer, you’re running them all - bookkeeping, marketing, accounting, human resources - it’s all you. Block scheduling can help reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by setting aside specific times throughout the week to tackle certain items on the to-do list.
Time blocking your work schedule and your personal life helps you protect your most important resources - your time, energy and focus. When you have a finite amount of time dedicated to one thing, it also helps you understand where you may be taking on too much and in what areas you may need to bring in help. Using your calendar as a form of self-care helps you feel more in flow, less distracted, more productive and ultimately happier.
Food is fuel and what we put in our bodies is the single most important decision we make every day. Adequately nourishing yourself is one of the best ways to practice self-care.
As freelancers, deciding what you’re going to eat is more often than not a game time decision. A little time spent meal planning or prepping for the week can save you a lot of time and stress. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on a Sunday cooking and packaging up all of your meals. If that works for you, awesome.
At the base level, it can simply look like having a few snacks and easy to put together meals on hand so that you’ll end up making healthier choices that give you energy and make you feel your best. Your dreams will not be adequately fueled on a meal plan of coffee, energy drinks and packaged snacks.
Also, don’t forget to hydrate!
Freelancing probably means you’ve gotten real comfortable in your home office space. Chances are you’ve had days where you sit at your desk for hours at a time, look up and wonder where the day went. Our bodies weren’t designed to spend all day sitting at a desk, we need to move!
Regular movement throughout the day is an essential component of a good self-care routine. Movement can help you clear your head, improve your memory and mood, get better sleep and maintain a healthy weight. No time to squeeze in a full workout? Take your next call on the move and walk around the block while you’re on the phone. Dance around while you tidy-up or consider investing in a standing desk. Working from home often means less moving around throughout the day so set a reminder to get up and move! Your body and your brain will thank you.
The freelancing life can be lonely. It takes a certain type of person to run a company of one, because most people are too scared to take the leap. It’s easy to fall into the space of questioning your every move and wondering if you’re making the right decisions. It doesn’t have to be like this. Seeking out an accountability partner, mentor or like-minded community can be essential to your emotional well-being and ultimately the health of your business.
Find people and spaces where you can bounce around ideas, get feedback, celebrate your wins, be open and honest about your setbacks and engage in meaningful conversations with your peers. You’ll feel so much better knowing that you’re not alone on this amazing freelancing journey.
As you start, run, or grow your freelance business, actively managing your mental and physical health should be at the top of your priority list so that you can do your job, take care of the people you love and tackle your daily to-do list with a sense of purpose, ease and joy. Read our full guide on self-care for freelancers here.
If you’re new to freelancing or ready to take your business to the next level, join Hectic, for free. It’s everything you need to start, run, and grow your freelancing business.