Few things are more rewarding than making a full-time career out of working for yourself. You set your own hours. You can work in your pajamas. You have more flexibility in being able to live your life. Others envy you tremendously, but what they don’t realize is freelancing isn’t free of stress.
In fact, sometimes it can be more stressful than anything else. After all, you’re your own boss now, and there’s no one else to schedule your appointments, delegate to, or even take over when you need assistance.
So, what can you do to manage the stress of freelancing? These 11 little tricks will help you bust freelancing stress fast so you can stay on track!
1. Know When to Say When
Freelancers notoriously start off in feast or famine mode. And suddenly, when you’ve got a huge client base, you find it’s hard to say you’re booked up. Work will always come your way, so don’t overload your plate like at Thanksgiving dinner. Be realistic about your schedule and what you can accommodate. When you take on too much, you will only stress about not having enough time to get it done. Side note: the best clients will know your worth and will wait for you.
2. Set Your On and Off Times
Working as a freelancer is awesome for not having to fight that rush hour traffic or wear boring business clothes. But you still need to set hours for working and hours that are off bounds. Maybe you have kids to pick up mid-day, so you might schedule your workday around it. Whatever works for you is fine, but don’t forget to make time for yourself. Your schedule might be more flexible, but that doesn’t mean you should have zero time to take care of your needs and live your life.
3. Take Breaks
In the office, it’s easy to take a break. When you work for yourself as a freelancer, you might feel so much pressure to get things done that you forget this simple right. Every 45 minutes, make yourself get up to stretch, drink some water, refill your coffee, or otherwise not work for 10 whole minutes. Breaks help us clear our mind and wind up, making us more productive in the long run.
4. Focus on Your Current Project Only
Every freelancer knows what it’s like to sit in front of their laptop, toiling away on a project when you get alerts from other clients. Tempting as it is to respond, stay focused on what you’re doing. If possible, silence those alerts so they don’t interrupt you at all. By staying on task, you’ll get through the current project and reduce your stress. Besides, it’s a waste of time to respond to every email as it arrives. Pick a time in the morning and in the afternoon to reply to inquiries so you can manage your deadlines.
5. Get a Hobby
Hobbies are wonderful ways of channeling our energy and personality. They make us better spouses, parents, and freelancers all in one. It doesn’t matter what the hobby is – art, knitting, gardening, skateboarding, dancing – it just matters that you do it daily to get the lead out.
6. Read a Real Book Unrelated to Your Career
Books with pages to turn are the ultimate soul-soother. Choose books that immerse you into another world so that you feel like you’re getting away. Make time to read a little each night before bed, though you can certainly sneak in a few pages during one of your scheduled breaks.
7. Take a Disco Nap
While it’s certainly ideal that you get quality sleep every night by unplugging and getting yourself to bed at a reasonable time, even when you do, a quick nap can be very helpful. The trick is to limit it to just 20 minutes (no more than 30!) and not do it too late in the day. Put on healing frequencies with it, and you’ll wake up feeling incredibly refreshed and ready to rock!
8. Try Walking on the Sunshine
Your body needs sunshine to create vitamin D. Chances are, you’re likely deficient in this necessary nutrient. Fix that by taking your cup of coffee outside. While prolonged exposure to strong rays does require broad-spectrum sunscreen, a little sunshine will go a long way for your health as well as your mood.
9. Work it Out
There are few things better than an intensive workout to get rid of stress. Plus, it makes up for all that time you’re sitting around working. You’ll live a longer and healthier life if you make the time for exercise. And should you have any difficult clients, you can blow off some steam lifting weights, running, kickboxing or whatever works.
10. Just Breathe
Deep breathing is a wonderful way to get your body back on an even keel. If you feel like you might hyperventilate over a deadline, center yourself with breathing. Inhale through your nose as you count to 4, then hold it for a count of 7. Finally, exhale loudly out your mouth as you count to 8 silently. Repeat this process several times until you feel the stress melt away.
11. Try Aromatherapy
Scents can really help inspire the way we feel. If you doubt this for even a second, just head over to the mall during Christmastime, and you’ll smell all those seasonal things that evoke feelings of happiness. When you do this during working, you can help lower your stress significantly!
Stress can always get the best of freelancers, but with these effective strategies, you can put it to rest!