freelance stress

Freelance Stress: How to Maintain Your Mental Health When You Work From Home

Working as a freelancer can be a big issue depending on your personality.  Although there are many people who are able to work from home comfortably, it is definitely not for everyone. There can be many factors that disturb us and affect our general state of mind. This unpleasant feeling can be described as  ‘freelance stress’.

Freelance stress mostly depends on the loneliness and passivity that comes with working in a restricted territory. Isolation from the outside world can be tricky and may cause depression and anxiety. Being physically disconnected from teammates may lead to a sense of alienation. Furthermore, if your only method of communication is emailing or texting, that may deepen your feelings of loneliness.

Changing work hours and the lack of job security are other issues that may cause freelance stress. Feelings of increased responsibility can be extremely stressful as well. These conditions may affect physiological needs such as sleeping hours, maintaining a healthy diet, and a decreased desire to socialize… On the other hand, there are many ways to boost your mood when dealing with freelance stress. Working from home could be a great opportunity for building your mental health and well-being.

Benefits of Working from Home

freelance stress

Varying work hours can be difficult when working from home. But it can actually be a great way to increase your efficiency.  If you don’t have to sit in front of your laptop for specific working hours, you can choose the time periods when you feel most productive. This choice may lead you to work more efficiently. Freelance stress may decrease if there are no specific working hours in a day when it comes to meeting a deadline. Moreover, your quality of sleep may improve when you are able to select your working hours as it might be easier to squeeze in time for self-care.

The ability to cook and serve your own food while working may lead you to have a healthier lifestyle, as long as you remember to eat and sleep regularly. Having a chance to change the temperature or the lighting in your space whenever you want or designing the space you need is another benefit to working from home. The best way to benefit from freelance work is to use your time efficiently and have fun in the environment you are in, whether you are alone or not.

Here are some helpful tips to deal with your freelance stress:

1) Define Your Working Environment

freelance stress working at home


Working from home as a freelancer could be a great opportunity to hone your efficiency.  Although it requires some discipline to work from home, once you get set up, your productivity during working hours may increase.
Establishing a dedicated workspace that meets your physical and mental needs is especially important.

Whether you work alone or live with your family or roommates, identifying your ‘working area’ in a home environment is essential to preventing freelance stress. Creating a well-designed but satisfying working space could be a great start to boosting efficiency, just like creating a separate space for sleeping or eating. A small table positioned in front of the window, a floor cushion in the corner of your living room, or a desk on your balcony could be just what you need to jumpstart your productivity… 

Once you set up your space for working, be sure to organize your desk. Good music and a cup of tea or coffee might be your best company as well.

2) Define Your ‘Work’ Time

Defining your ‘working’ hours versus your ‘resting’ hours is very important to stay mentally healthy while working from home. If you set up your work schedule wisely, it may give you more time to take care of yourself and prevent freelance stress.  When you are ‘online’ at work all the time, it may feel as though you are always working, which could result in burnout. The line between work and life blurs, and you feel like you can’t take time to sleep, socialize or even eat a healthy meal. Setting boundaries about when to work, when to sleep, or when to socialize are very important for a feeling of normalcy. When you finish your work, try to leave it behind by physically walking away from your work area.

3) Best Workmates Ever: Pets

freelance stress

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but any kind of pet can be a great companion…  If you are a freelancer and have fears of loneliness, adopting an animal could be a way to balance your freelance stress. The company of a pet can boost your mood during working hours, and caring for it could help you break the boundaries of feeling socially isolated.  Playing games with your pet will make you move around and may even give you a little exercise.

 4) Dealing with Freelance Stress Through Physical Activity

Having time for physical activity as a freelancer is very important for balancing freelance stress. Starting your day with some basic physical activities allows you to be more focused during your working hours. Whether you like to sweat or not, there are thousands of options to get moving in a home environment. 

Practicing yoga could be one of the best options for dealing with the stress of working from home. You can start your day with some basic stretches and awaken your spine.  Yin practices could be a great start to your day while yang practices help keep your body energized throughout the afternoon. Maintaining a regular exercise routine will decrease your lower and upper back issues, including sciatica or neck pains due to working long hours on the laptop.  You don’t have to take much time to exercise. Even doing some basic stretching exercises during your break time can be beneficial.

On the other hand, making time for exercise will improve your quality of sleep. That’s why it’s important to add an exercise routine in your daily life, especially if you are a freelancer.  YouTube is an amazing resource if you don’t know where to start. There are many channels for online yoga, zumba, pilates, and aerobic classes, many provided by teachers. Take a look and see if you can find one that is enjoyable and motivating.

5) Meditate

Meditation can be a very effective way to deal with freelance stress. Studies have shown that meditation is very beneficial for mental health. The reduction in stress levels brought about by a regular meditation practice can help you focus better while working.

One of the basic principles of a simple meditation is to follow the breath in and out. When you focus on your breathing, it allows you to let go of other thoughts and feelings or a while. The point of meditation is to recognize what is going on in your body and mind. Although it takes time to build up your focus, meditating for even 2-5 minutes can have relaxing effects.

If you notice that you are experiencing deep feelings of loneliness or stress, a short meditation break can be a good choice to relax. If you want to build a regular meditation practice, there are many apps available to help you get started. You can choose between which consist of many guided or unguided meditation practices, whichever suits your needs best. Insight timer is one of the most popular free apps out there. There are also several guided meditations you can practice if you have sleeping issues.

6) Cook for Yourself

cooking at home

Working from home can affect your diet as well. It’s very easy to order takeout from a restaurant, and junk foods may quickly become your best friend. This habit can have a harmful impact on your physical health. That’s why setting a cooking routine is so important for both your physical and mental health.  Too much stress may make you eat more junk food and dissuade you from working out. Motivating yourself to prepare your own healthy foods and increase your physical activity will have benefits in the long run.

Finally, being a freelancer is not easy if you don’t control your ‘me’ time. Defining your work hours and space in the first place is very crucial in preventing freelance stress. Although it may seem hard to do, it is essential to feel like you are physically in a different environment for working hours and not let that work bleed over into your non-working time.  Setting healthy boundaries and sparing some time specifically for your well-being will help you cope with the poor concentration and the feeling of loneliness brought about by freelance stress…

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