• Ashley Poynter

Mental health tips for freelancers and the self-employed

Working from home as a freelancer or otherwise self-employed person has many benefits.

Some prefer this to working in a chaotic corporate environment. Other love the flexibility. Some simply like choosing who they work with. While there are many positive aspects to working for yourself, there can be some drawbacks, too.


While others who work the traditional 9-to-5 jobs must shower, commute, and work in an office with others, self-employed people who work from home don’t necessarily have to do these things. This can contribute to a lack of routine, a lack of socialization, and a lack of separation between work and non-work time. Unfortunately, these things can sometimes lead to increased anxiety or depression. But that’s not why we got into this self-employed business in the first place, so let’s look at some self-care tips to keep you happy and healthy!


1. Have a routine

Keeping a steady schedule can be a great way to remind yourself that there is a beginning and an end to the work day and help establish a separation between work and play. While you have complete control over your schedule and the flexibility to amend it for things that may come up, sticking to a routine has its benefits.


By waking up, showering, getting dressed, working, shutting down for the day, eating meals, and going to bed at similar times each day, you can reduce stress. You can also improve the amount and quality of sleep you get and ensure proper nutrition. By setting boundaries for work (with a few exceptions where needed), you can make time for other things that keep you balanced, like working out, enjoying a hobby, or just relaxing.


2. Get out for a bit

When we work from home, it gets really easy to fall into too much of some bad routines, too. It can be easy to never leave the house unless we absolutely need to. This problem can sometimes be exacerbated during the winter for those of us that live in colder climates. While it may be tempting to enjoy the comforts of home, well, indefinitely...it’s important to get outside.


Take a break during your day to go on a short, brisk walk. Even if you only get outside for fifteen minutes, being in nature can improve your mental health. For those who easily fall into the workaholic trap, try starting the day with a walk to ensure you get self-care in for the day. This can get the blood flowing and make it easier to focus on the tasks at hand for the day.


3. Get organized

Working amidst clutter can be a real downer. Rather than trudging through clutter, spend some time getting organized. Be sure that you have a separate space set aside for your work. That means no working from your pajamas in bed!


Use a designated work space that is cleared of non-work items. Start each day by creating a to-do list to organize your thoughts and tasks. This can help you get a clear picture of what your day will look like and help you prioritize for the day and week. Use a calendar and set deadlines for yourself to keep things on track. Adding this type of structure to your day can keep you from becoming disorganized, falling behind, and stressing out over unfinished business.


3. Get social

Being self-employed often means we don’t get the same access to social events as our 9-to-5 counterparts. While they are out enjoying company happy hours, we are scurrying around in bunny slippers trying to hit that last deadline for the day. But it doesn’t need to be this way! Working from home as a freelancer doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from the rest of the world; it just means you might have to make an extra effort to get plugged in.


First, make sure to make time for your friends. Working from home can make it easy for inertia to take hold, but fight the urge to turn down plans. Also consider tapping meetup.com for the opportunity to meet new people while doing things you enjoy. Finally, consider joining a co-working space or even just checking out activities they may host. Many will hold their own happy hours that are open to both members and non-members who are interested in joining.


Check in with a doctor or specialist

Sometimes there’s no way around it: we get anxious or depressed and need some extra help navigating our way through and out of it. Many self-employed people are no strangers to anxiety. Having to keep a business afloat, clients happy, and mouths fed is a tall order for anyone. It can be especially hard when you don’t have a support team in your corner, cheering you on. The weight of the challenges that freelancers and self-employed people face can also drag things down from time to time.


Whether you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or otherwise out of sorts, it can be helpful to check in with a mental health specialist or even your primary care doctor to get things back on track. Checking in with your primary care doctor can help ensure that you don’t have any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to the way you’re feeling. From there, checking in with a mental health professional can ensure you get the support you need to start feeling like your best self again.


Pro tip: Decent’s health plans offer free primary care. That means you get unlimited access to your primary care physician, all for $0. We believe in the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, so we centered our plans around the Direct Primary Care model. We want you to have all the support you need, so we make it easy (and free!) to see your doctor.


Get a free quote today to see if one of our plans might be an awesome fit for your self-employed lifestyle.

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