How to look after your mental health as a freelancer

Wellbeing and lifestyle coach Michelle Pratt shares her advice on looking after your mental health as a freelancer.

Here are some of the tops tips she mentions:

1. Observe how you work best

If you’ve previously worked 9-5 for an employer, you might automatically follow these hours when you go freelance. However, there’s no reason why you can’t experiment with working patterns. It’s also a good idea to play with where you work best – is it at home, in a café, or with friends? Do you work more productively when you’re trying to stick to deadlines, or when you give yourself space to take as long as you need on a project? Test things out and discover what suits you.

2. Take regular breaks

As a driven freelancer, it’s all too easy to push through the day’s tasks without taking a breather. Think about including more breaks throughout your working day, as this could really boost your productivity when you are on tasks. You could also consider switching up your environments halfway through the day or changing tasks more frequently.

3. Grow a support network

Freelancing can be really tough, so it’s important to have people around you who encourage you through the bad times and celebrate you in the good times. Though messaging friends can boost your mood, nothing compares to face-to-face meet-ups. If this isn’t possible, try phoning those in your network on a regular basis.

4. Separate your work life and home life

There are a number of ways this can be achieved. One obvious method is to set up a dedicated office space away from where you would usually relax. A second is to mark your leisure time with set hours of the day, so you know when you’re meant to be working and when you can enjoy recuperation time. A third (slightly quirky) method is to demarcate your work time through your clothing choices: wear more professional clothing when working and change into casual clothes for your leisure time. Whichever way works best for you, it’s important to ringfence those relaxation hours.

For more tips from Michelle, watch the video above.