Self-Employed Life: How to Stay Balanced through the Ups and Downs

jeremy-thomas-FO7bKvgETgQ-unsplash

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I created any sort of lifestyle content on the blog, so today I wanted to talk about a topic that’s close to my heart: how to keep your head up when things feel stagnant or overwhelming. This blog post will cover aspects that are more common if you’re a freelancer (like me), but I hope the tips will be helpful overall. Let’s dive right in:

Freelancer Life

Although it’s an amazing feeling to be your own boss, there are definitely some ups and downs involved with freelancing/running your own business(es).

Isolation/Loneliness

One major downside that I’ve noticed is that freelancing life can sometimes feel isolating if you aren’t constantly going to a coworking space or coffee shop. If you work from a home office pretty often, you might find that there are days when you don’t even leave the house! When you notice this pattern emerging, make a plan to get outside of your home (and head). Go for a short walk, head out for a long hike, or perhaps meet a friend for lunch. You’ll find that you feel more balanced when you’re interacting with the outside world.

Read more: How Going Outside can Improve Your Mood

Financial Considerations

Another potential pain-point of freelancing is that your income stream can be quite sporadic. Depending on your trade, you could obtain a contract that lasts for months; one-off projects that either pay a lot or a little; or both. As a result, it’s imperative to keep your finances in order to the best of your ability. Obviously, it’s a lot harder to budget if you don’t know exactly how much money you’ll be bringing in month-to-month. So, I recommend setting a baseline for yourself by calculating your monthly expenses. This way, you’ll know what you need to make in order to be financially healthy.

Helpful budgeting apps: Qapital and QuickBooks Self Employed

Keeping Up Appearances

Another aspect of being your own boss, especially if a lot of your work is remote or online, is that you might find yourself not feeling a need to dress up. Here’s what I mean by that: when we’re surrounded by others, it can create more motivation to make good use of our clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. because there are people around to appreciate them. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that you should dress solely for other people. But I’ll use myself as an example below.

When I worked in an office environment, I knew there was a dress-code and I had fun creating outfits that fit the dress-code while also expressing my own sense of style. Now that I’m self-employed – and especially since I often work from home – I easily find myself gravitating toward casual clothes that I can work comfortably in. Since I discovered this pattern of behavior, I decided to make more of an effort to “dress up” in my daily life. For example, I recently wore a black turtleneck dress and statement earrings to go out and run errands, simply because they made me feel good. Did I have to? No. But I felt better knowing that I was making use of what I have, instead of defaulting to the same old style.

Blogging and Social Media

One last thing that I would like to note in this section directly involves blogging and social media usage. As Wit & Wishes has become another “job” for me (which I’m so thankful for!), I find myself fretting about social media more and more since that’s where I build and interact with my audience, outside of the W&W website.

In addition to my blog’s Instagram (and other SM), I also run Instagram accounts for my acting and modeling, my marketing business, and a newer travel-related business. In case you’re keeping count, that’s 4 social media accounts just on one platform alone!

As I’m sure my fellow bloggers can relate, that’s a lot of screen-time and time spent scrolling through a platform that quite frankly pushes out a lot of superficial content. It’s so easy to go down rabbit holes and start comparing yourself, wondering if you should be doing something different or if you should alter your appearance in some way.

Read more: When do we start feeling the pressure to be beautiful?

When social media is essentially part of your job, it’s imperative to find ways to keep perspective on your own self-worth. When you start feeling down about what you’re seeing, it’s time to cut through the BS. Limit your scrolling time. Decide to only hop on the social accounts when you need to post and interact. Remember that so so (SO) many of the images that you see are nipped, tucked, Facetuned, and more. No one else can give you that perspective except you.

Mental and Physical Health

Now that we’ve talked about some of the pitfalls of living that freelance life, I wanted to wrap this up by focusing on a few mental/physical health tips that have helped me in both the past and present.

Take Care of Your Body

Here’s the thing: none of us are at our best if we’re not treating our bodies well. In fact, a large proportion of serotonin (the chemical that makes us feel happy) is produced in your gut. So imagine how your brain might be affected if your gut is always unhappy with what you’re feeding it!

Realistically, there are endless diets and treatments and workouts out there that all claim to be the “right” way. But at the end of the day, I believe it’s important to feed your body the food that will give it fuel, and find workouts that make you happy to exercise. For me, that has been hiking and barre-type classes lately. For others, it could be bootcamp and Crossfit.

FREE At-Home Fitness App: FitOn

We’re all different, but I for one feel the most out-of-whack when my mind and body are disrupted. When I’m exercising regularly and eating good, healthy food, it automatically makes my mind feel better as well.

Take Care of Your Mind

Just as important as taking care of your physical being, your mind needs some TLC as well. Here are some of my favorite apps, books, and self-care methods that I’ve been using lately:

Mindfulness Apps

ThinkUp: I love ThinkUp because it allows me to set and record affirmations in my own voice. Affirmations/goal-setting is always a great idea for forward momentum, but being able to hear yourself recite these affirmations enhances your subconscious desire to fulfill them.

Headspace: Headspace is great for those who are new to meditation, as it takes you through the process of focusing on your breathing and shutting out the outside world. That said, there are limited free options, so keep that in mind.

Calm: Calm is similar to Headspace in that it has limited free options, but the cool thing about this app is that you can view different “scenes” on the page to have a more visual meditation experience (if closing your eyes doesn’t work for you). Calm is especially good for inspiring sleep as well.

Stop, Breathe, Think: This app is the newest one that I’ve tried, and is my current favorite! To me, what truly sets SBT apart is that on the welcome screen, you have the option of determining what your current mood is. Once you input some basic information and your top 5 emotions in the moment, the app will recommend targeted meditations to you. Amazing!

Recommended Reading

I have a more extensive list a separate blog post (link below), but I recently started The Untethered Soul and it’s already begun to open my mind and help me see things differently. Although the book can be very “woo-woo”, it prompts you to reexamine your perspective and how you can create a more peaceful existence. Furthermore, it helps open your mind to the idea that you truly can take control of your happiness. So far, I love it!

Click here for more book recommendations

A Note on Self-Care

When it comes to self-care, there are a lot of different ways that you can do it to best fit your needs. However, I firmly believe that one thing we all need to do more is give ourselves permission to just be “off”. When I say this, I mean the following: it’s okay to not go on social media, it’s okay to not make plans, it’s okay to not even change out of your pajamas if you don’t have anywhere to be.

So much of the human experience is about always doing something, so it’s important to give yourself permission to do nothing sometimes – and not feel guilty about it. It’s okay to have a day of just “being” instead of “doing”.

I also am a firm believer in appreciating the small joys, no matter how frivolous. For example, if you have a skincare routine that you love doing – awesome! No shame in loving every moment of slathering various products on your face (I’ve currently been loving a 3-step routine from clean K-Beauty brand Primera). If you love drawing or writing, then set aside time to do that each day or every week. Whatever it is that puts a smile on your face, make time to do it.

That said: beware the trap of falling into a mindless routine. That is: binge-watcing Netflix shows or playing the same game on your phone because you don’t have to think and it blocks out your stress. I say this as someone who has been guilty of both! While neither of these activities are bad in moderation, it’s important to keep things balanced.

~

I hope some of these considerations were helpful! Whether you work in an office, do freelance work, or maybe a little bit of both, life is all about balance. When things start feeling overwhelming, always remember that you can make a plan and make a change.

Until next time! What other lifestyle content would you like to see on the blog? Let me know!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on stumbleupon
Share on print
Share on email
Share on tumblr
Share on google

Share your Thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.