As a freelancer, it’s likely that you work from home without a manager or colleagues around telling you to take a break or giving you that motivational pep talk we all need sometimes. Without these prompts and classic 9 – 5 office hours, it’s easy to let self-care fall off the priority list.
When this happens, you may find yourself piling on the work, feeling overwhelmed, uninspired and burnt out. And of course, this does not lead to great work. So while the idea of ‘self-care’ may feel like yet another thing to add to your to-do list, we promise – it’s worth it.
Here are some simple, actionable tips you can use to get your self-care practice on track:
Get to know yourself
Becoming aware of how you work best and what you need to feel happy is key to forming your self-care practice. Get to know your working rhythms – do you get your best work done at the break of dawn or are you more of a night owl? Do you thrive when surrounded by others or do you need alone time to feel inspired?
Once you get these basics down, you can make sure you’re giving yourself what you need every day.
Plan out your week
Here at Life Coach Directory, we’ve become fans of planning our week ahead on Friday afternoons. Putting together your to-do list and what you need to do before the weekend gives you a head start when Monday comes around and it’s less likely to play on your mind over the weekend.
When you plan your week, plan in your days off, breaks and downtime too. Remember these are just as important as your work tasks!
Nourish and hydrate yourself
Without a standard ‘lunchtime’ and ‘home time’ there can be some days when work seems to take priority over eating and you may even go a whole day without stopping to eat. This is not only bad for your physical health, it makes your mind sluggish and less productive.
Try and start every day with a nutritious breakfast before you sit down to start work. Have a plan for your lunches throughout the week so you don’t suddenly find yourself starving with no food in the house. And finally, keep your work-space filled with healthy snacks and a big bottle of water to stay hydrated.
Have a logging-off time
When you’ve figured out what times of day you work best, make sure you set yourself a logging off (or ‘home’) time. Set yourself an alarm if you need to, but try your best to stop working at this time, review your to-do list for the following day and shut down your computer.
Enjoy some relaxation and do what makes you happy. Try and log off social media an hour before you go to bed to give your mind a rest. Try reading a book or listening to some calming music instead.
Know when to say no
As a freelancer, you are responsible for your own workload and it can feel like you need to say yes to every job offer that comes your way. Remember your worth here, not just financially but energetically. Be confident enough to say no when you need to and defend your time.
Having too many commitments leads to overwhelm and again, you may well see that self-care practice slipping. Remember, you’re worth taking time away from work to look after yourself.
Know when to get support
Sometimes, we simply need to reach out and get some support. This may come from a virtual assistant, a chat with a friend or even an online platform for freelancers. If you feel like you’re struggling to move forward in your career and self-care practice, consider hiring a coach.
Having a coach offers you an accountability buddy, someone to provide support and someone who, essentially, helps you get out of your own way.