Burnout as a freelancer is all too common, but you can avoid it with impactful preventative measures and self-care, including these five strategies:
1. Lift That Loneliness
Loneliness is known to be bad for our emotional and physical health, and sadly, freelancers are far too familiar with experiencing loneliness. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid feeling isolated and alone as a freelancer.
You can work around others in person by heading down to a coworking space, library, or coffee shop. There are even online coworking opportunities if you need some company and encouragement from like-minded people to hold you accountable for getting work done.
2. Learn How to Switch from Work to Play
In the UK, one in ten freelancers hasn’t taken a single day off in the last year. This continual grind habit is becoming the global standard. Though we know it’s not healthy, as freelancers, we often struggle to switch off because every hour of the day offers the potential to earn money and build our brand.
The problem with this degree of dedication is that there is no time for recharging, and the burn is continual. Nobody can keep that up. So to improve your work/life balance, turn off notifications, lock the office door after hours, have end-of-day rituals to flip your mind into relax mode, and make time for friends, family, and yourself.
3. Manage Expectations
Nearly 70% of workers say their employer contacts them outside working hours at least once a week. Two in five people work outside working hours because their boss expects it from them. As a freelancer, you will find these kinds of figures decidedly mild because freelancing can sometimes feel more like a ‘free-for-all’ when it comes to clients getting in touch. This way of life can quickly get exhausting if you’re not careful, so manage expectations early to ensure clients know your boundaries right from the start.
4. Recharge Your Brain with Nature
When it comes to avoiding burnout as a freelancer, time in nature is an amazing tool you should use daily. You can go for something as minimal as a walk around the block or repotting a plant. Or you could dial it up with wild swimming or long hikes in the hills – whatever you have time to do.
Science strongly supports the idea that nature reduces the impact of all kinds of nasties we experience. From loneliness and low mood to anxiety and anger, nature can soothe it all. In the process, it will improve your outlook and sense of connection with the world. Exposure to nature has even been shown to lower levels of crime and aggression in some communities – it’s that powerful! So to avoid burnout, get amongst the trees, gaze at the sky, and let nature recharge your soul.
5. Get Therapy
Over 40 million adults in America had therapy within the last year, and all will have benefitted from the ability to offload. Therapy is not just something you have if you are struggling – it is also a preventative measure. Regular appointments give you the chance to share how you’re feeling with somebody who won’t tell anyone, won’t judge you, and won’t interrupt. This process is highly beneficial, especially when your job as a freelancer is dependent on your brain staying in good shape. Have therapy to prevent burnout, not just to deal with the fallout if you experience it.
Freelancing doesn’t have to leave you feeling like a sucked-dry juice box, but you must start looking out for yourself right now. Deep breath – you got this.