Top 6 Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Freelance Career
Freelance is a new trend, especially in Western Europe and the USA. According to a survey conducted in 2017 by Kingston University, the amount of UK members who gave up the 9 to 5 schedule in favor of freelance has grown drastically within the last 10 years. There are roughly 35% million freelancers in the USA, reports Forbes. About 80% of office workers claimed to be willing to take some extra freelance work to earn more money and 65% want to go freelance in the future.
So why do more and more employees choose to set up a freelance business? As usual, it’s a matter of flexibility and freedom. People prefer to manage their own time rather than being told what to do. The times when society thought of a freelancer as a Uber driver or an unemployed at all have finally passed.
So what does being a freelancer mean for our mental health and is it really that good for our psychological welfare? Having gathered statistics data and read the personal experience of former office employees we are now ready to prove that freelance workers tend to be more mentally stable for several reasons and here they are. Read to the end to find a pleasant bonus.
1) You arrange your working space
Productivity is a half key to success. Any job demands an effective worker who knows to focus on the subject and produce a worthy result. A modest desk with a computer and a tiny cactus is not the place that can bring much inspiration and efficiency during the working schedule. Working from home gives you so much space for creativity that you can hardly resist from creating a cozy little corner that will encourage you to work. No need to restrict yourself from lighting an aroma candle just because your college can’t stand the smell of any or to get dressed in your suit & tie just because your boss will fine you otherwise. As a freelancer, you can work from the comfort of your house, in pajamas, or even in bed.
But it’s not only about the aesthetic or style preferences. The sound matters most of all. In fact, we all know how dramatically unpleasant noise impacts our productivity. We recommend you to listen to Julian Treasure’s speech “The 4 ways sound affects us” for TED talks to immerse in this topic. In the video, Julian declares that sound influences people in four major ways: physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral ways. Suppressing the unpleasant sound may be extremely stressful. Treasure also states that the productivity of the employees who work in offices especially of the open plan type reduces by 66%. In a quiet room, you’re thrice as productive as in the noisy office.
2) Your time management is your own concern
Time is money, especially if you’re a freelancer. A commonly held belief says “The more you work, the more you earn”. To become a successful freelancer you should know to organize your time properly and separate leisure from work. Freelancers work from home, hence they don’t have a fixed schedule. Again, it’s all about the sense of freedom to run your own time. Self-employed people don’t ask permission to leave work to meet the dentist and don’t cancel the appointment just because their boss is not in the mood. Besides, the flexible schedule is the real benefit for those with sleeping disorders or simply evening people. Isn’t there a place for them in this world? How many times did you have to wake up after a sleepless night to be at work at 9:00 and no minute late?
Several freelance workers admit that having a sleeping disorder is at odds with a 9 to 5 schedule. They are exhausted even before the working day starts and feel extremely tired throughout the daytime. Can you only imagine what stress they need to overcome? Thus, freelance has greatly improved their mental and physical well-being, giving these individuals a precious opportunity to work whenever they want to.
However, we advise you to plan your day and not get distracted while working. Only in this case, a freelancer will be able to successfully run the career causing no harm to health, house duties, and self-care. A little self-discipline will result in pleasant perks. One more large perk about working from home is
3) You can avoid toxic colleagues
There’s hardly any more destructive factor at work than colleagues. We all know how people master to create drama out of nothing. Conflict of interests, constant gossip, and unhealthy competition can become genuinely challenging. It’s not easy to get along with every single person in the team. It’s a human factor and there’s nothing you can do with the diversity of characters around you at work. Unfriendly relationships inside the collectivity seriously affect the mental welfare of its every member. To demonstrate how debilitating the impact of occupational drama can be, just imagine the following situation. You’re the head of a prosperous corporation, a serious and respected person in your circles. Hence, you feel obliged to maintain your status by wearing brandy clothes, going to fancy resorts, and driving only expensive cars. Otherwise, they may think you’re not as successful as you say and the things aren’t really going that good in your business. Trying to correspond to the expectations of the others depletes your inner resources and sooner or later you risk to end up feeling shattered.
The problem of drama and gossip inside the team is unfamiliar to freelancers. Working from home allows them to minimize contact with the toxic people and not to dedicate time trying to solve the conflicts with colleagues.
4) Physical health is also relevant
Healthy mind, healthy body, they say. You may be surprised, but freelance is extremely beneficial for your physical comfort. Within this crazy rushing atmosphere of an office, employees often forget to take care of themselves. They grab one coffee after another, fill in their stomachs with junk food from the nearby delivery, and forget about any kind of physical activity. Working from home with a flexible curriculum gives you more time for morning exercises, healthy breakfast, and maintaining water balance. Moreover, a freelance worker can go for a run with a dog, which some office employees can’t afford due to the lack of time and resources to give it proper care.
Pets are one more advantage of being self-employed. You can adopt or buy a 4-legged friend and don’t be scared that this tiny creature may spoil the apartment or get bored in four walls.
5) You’re the boss
One of the most significant pros of being self-employed is the ability to choose the clients and suggest the deadlines. Of course, the newbies first prefer to create the image of a high-class specialist rather than sorting the clients, no matter how unpleasant they may seem. Freelance writers, graphic designers, front-end developers look for clients, do their work properly, and only after that clients are looking for them. The process of the professional establishment can be lengthy, compared to applying to a vacation in a company, but the game is worth the candles. You’re your own boss, you have higher control over what you do and you can reject naughty projects, suggest the deadlines and payment conditions directly with the customers.
You decide when and where to work, contribute to the job as much as you need, you’re not forced to report to no third party about the results of your work. The direct contact with the customer lets a freelancer understand their demands and requests better, a constructive discussion of the most delicate aspects of the task gives mutual profit to both sides. You waste fewer inner resources, receive favorable recommendations to potential clients and the customer gets a job done flawlessly.
Thus, freelancers feel more morally stable and motivated, they do their job for themselves, they are particularly intended for the result and tend to comprehend the value of time. Why did we mention the motivational aspect? That’s a no-brainer. In most cases, occupational stress is caused by a lack of motivation. Motivation means the perspective of promotion, increase in salary, and the stability of the occupied position.
6) Your hobby is your job
How many of you dreamt of being paid for doing the things you love. How much of you felt deeply frustrated and suppressed having to choose the “real” profession and give up your hobby. The self-employed don’t suffer from the torture of choice as they have already learned to earn from what they love. Photographers, interpreters, designers, content writers, and advertisers all now earn decent money from offering their services to companies. At a student age, we all wanted to perform the job that we were passionate about. The craft that evokes genuine interest and the flock of inspiration was all that we could dream of.
Why not make a school dream come true and substitute a boring work with a work that you’ve always dreamt of, and get tones of positive vibes from performing it? Your mental health will be extremely grateful for that. Besides, don’t underestimate the profit that business owners receive from hiring a freelancer. For them, it’s much more efficient to employ such workers than to support the entire division. No strange that customers treat freelance workers with more respect than a staff worker.
Bonus: What to do if I lost the interest to work?
Despite all the myths about the “lazy freelancers”, recent studies prove that those who work sitting on their comfortable sofas are more effective than their office comrades. Even though freelance is beneficial for mental welfare, occupational stress might become inevitable in any profession. Each of us can experience symptoms of emotional and professional burnout. The American Psychological Association describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”
Dr.Ballard, the psychologist of the APA, distinguishes 10 signs of burnout: lack of motivation, chronic fatigue, not taking care of oneself, frustration and the sense of own irrelevance, cognitive problems (problems with concentration), reduce in productivity, preoccupation with work even if you’re not at work, decreased satisfaction, health problems.
According to Dr.Ballard, if you face any of these symptoms, you should take measures immediately. So what can be done to minimize the impact of occupational stress and resume the interest in work? Here are a few useful tips for preventing overcoming burnout.
- Don’t neglect relaxation: Our bodies are not perpetual motion machines, people are not robots and they need some time to put the thoughts in order. No matter what it would be, SPA, cinema, or sweet-doing-nothing, afford yourself a day off and your body mindset will be grateful for that.
- Set your boundaries: Draw the imaginary line between your labor and personal time and have enough self-respect not to let anyone cross it.
- Arrange rich leisure life: The Earth doesn’t revolve around your work and capricious clients. You’re an individual with its own needs and interests, so why sacrifice them for the sake of your job? Knowing that work is only a small part of the diverse lifestyle greatly helps to hold on and don’t lose yourself in the routine.
- Unplug: While the bloggers literally scream about the importance of productivity, your mind begs you to calm down and relax. Switch off thoughts about work, house duties and spend the day as you want it, even if you spend the whole day in bed or waste money at a local mall.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is principal, no need to deny that. Due to the flexible schedule, freelancers can have more sleep than 9 to 5 employees. In bedtime, our bodies and minds recharge and so you wake up chipper and ready to further work.
- Prioritize your time: Create a schedule and stick to it. A simple rule that will prevent you from feeling stressed and exhausted.
To sum up
Abusive bosses, lack of freedom, and unsustainable curriculum are the factors that actuate office clerks to replace noisy offices with cozy couches, pajamas, and laptops. Recent studies prove that even though there is a great percentage of self-employed people in modern society, their number is constantly increasing. What is more, in the modern world of individualism, people prefer to work on their own selves and to achieve their own dreams rather than working for someone else’s. More and more employees want to enrich personal knowledge and skills to invest them into their own business and contribute personal resources for their own sake.
Being a freelancer is truly beneficial for health, namely mental. Nevertheless, keep in mind that even the most stable workers can also be prone to suffer from stress, and suppressing it will bring irreparable damage to their welfare. Hence, they can follow a few simple rules to avoid burnout.
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