The 6 Biggest Obstacles to Wellness for Freelancers

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Let’s face it, the life of a freelancer definitely has its perks! No 9-5 grind, no living for the weekends, working when you want to, playing when you want to, living life on your terms.

But… Not so fast!

As any freelancer knows all too well, there’s a lot of pressure that comes along with working for yourself. No steady income, periods of insane amounts of work followed by stressful dry spells, no corporate workplace benefits, and “forgetting” to take proper care of yourself between it all.

These are the biggest obstacles to wellness for freelancers, and how to help work around them.

1. No Regimented Schedule

One of the most appealing aspects of the freelancer lifestyle is not having to report somewhere at any specific time. The trap in this is that many people struggle to motivate themselves to stay consistent in their scheduling without having someone else manage their time.

Try to create a schedule that works well for you and stick with it daily. We are creatures of habit after all, and though the break in the action occasionally is a welcomed benefit to freelancers everywhere, it’s still beneficial from a wellbeing and productivity standpoint to keep on some sort of consistent schedule each day.

Whether that means you begin your morning routine at 9am regardless of what’s on the docket, start the day clearing your head with a nice walk around the neighborhood, or wait until the late morning to check your emails with coffee in hand on the couch, try to come up with a structure that will help you thrive.

Periods of focused work followed by enjoyable breaks to get moving and clear your head will do wonders for your efficiency and overall well-being.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “The Introverted Musician’s Guide to Showing Up Authentically.”

2. Unsteady Income Stream

This one goes without saying, but the ups and downs of freelancing are certainly not for the faint of heart. It is so stressful to not be able to count on a steady income stream to cover your expenses and overhead.

Try to do long-term planning with your regular clients, so you can get an idea of what the next 6-12 months working with them will generate. Set aside some time each week to strategize your business and work on generating new leads.

And finally, see what services you may be able to add on for your existing clientele in order to maximize profits without the additional customer acquisition costs and time. Also consider what your marketing tactics are currently, how your web presence exists on social media and search engines, and think of ways you can grow in these areas to earn new opportunities from potential future clients.

3. Not Prioritizing Your Health, Physically or Mentally

Tale as old as time here… how often do freelancers “forget to eat” or “not have time to work out?”

For most, the answer is unfortunately “very often.” You must make the time to prioritize your health, both physically and mentally, to avoid burnout and health issues that will inevitably make the joys of freelancing impossible to reap.

The answer to these problems is scheduling. Force yourself to stop what you’re doing and take that walk, visit the gym, participate in an online class, read, join a club or recreational sports league, or make regular-standing meal or coffee dates with friends, colleagues, and family.

Treat these things as you would any other appointments. These seemingly “small” choices day to day will make big differences down the line, and future you will thank you!

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4. No “Coworker Camaraderie” or Sense of Community

Freelancing can be an isolating experience. Once the allure of the “I do what I want” vibes wear off, it’s easy to find yourself feeling isolated day-to-day, especially if you live alone. Make sure to make and keep plans with loved ones multiple times a week, if not daily.

You can still enjoy going out to lunch or looking forward to happy hour just as much as your non-freelancer friends! The sense of community is something all humans need, and it is never selfish or unimportant to prioritize that part of wellness into your life.

5. Becoming a “Homebody”

Work-from-home life is great. Who wouldn’t love the flexibility of not having to leave the house to make a living and work in their jammies?!

But the dark side of freelancing is getting stuck in the rut of becoming a homebody. You have got to get dressed and get out of the house every. single. day. This is a must for your mental health!

Even just 20 minutes of sunshine daily does wonders for your serotonin production (mood booster!), in addition to numerous other health benefits for your body overall. Many freelancers enjoy taking trips to their favorite coffee shop, park, or shopping center as part of their routine.

Make time to get out each day and do something you enjoy! Bonus points if you can move work locations from time to time too to get a change of scenery.

+ Read more on Flypaper: 7 Tips for Staying Inspired When You’re Feeling Off.”

6. Running Out of Time to Fulfill Your Other Interests

Even though freelancing often gives us the best of both worlds, many people I know tend to work harder and longer hours than they did when working a regular 9-5!

You can’t lose yourself in your work and forget the importance of being a healthy, well-rounded person. Always, always make time to do the things you love. Even if it’s only once a day, week, or month, I implore you to take that pottery class, join that book club, train for that marathon, etc.

Create line items in your schedule that you get to look forward to and that will also break up your work schedule. So much happiness comes from variety.

Your journey to wellness is lifelong, and you should never feel guilty for taking time away from the thing that earns you money to do the things that make life worth living!

Keep on Grooving…

Continue your learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with artist-led courses by Kimbra, Com TruiseJlinKiefer, RJD2, and our new The Pocket Queen: Moving at Your Own Tempo.

Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability

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