As freelance writers, we are entrepreneurs trying to grow a business. But, growing a successful freelance writing business isn't easy. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and we often feel like we have to do it all at once. Our time, focus, and energy is all over the place trying to get our business off the ground and reach our own definition of success. We sacrifice time with friends and family and enjoying hobbies in pursuit of our dreams.
While passion and drive are important to finding success, it also results in a lot of pressure. Pressure to do this or be that. We constantly compare ourselves to others in the industry to see how we measure up and if our paths don't align, we consider it a failure. So we take on more and put more pressure on ourselves. This cycle doesn't just impact freelance writers either. From graphic designers to virtual assistants and everything in between, many creative entrepreneurs are stuck in the same cycle.
So, how do we break the cycle? By practicing self-care!
Self-care, me-time, personal care…it goes by many names but they all have the same meaning; making time to care for yourself and improve your overall happiness and well-being.
Whatever you want to call it, making time to practice self-care is so important. Above all, self-care gives you the opportunity to reset your mind and center yourself. This is essential to maintaining your well-being and preventing burnout. Whether you're balancing your side hustle with a full-time job or freelancing full-time, self-care for freelance writers is necessary to achieving success.
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6 Ways to Practice Self-Care for Freelance Writers
1. Set Office Hours
One of the biggest problems a lot of freelancers face is working long hours late into the night. Without the physical act of clocking out and heading home for the day, it can be difficult to call it quits for the day. We often find ourselves trading in free time to continue working.
Any easy way to fix this it to implement office hours. This doesn't mean you need to adhere to the strict 9-5 timeline, though. The point is to have a cut off time to quit working and stick to it. Figure out when you're the most productive and build your schedule around that time.
Office hours have another perk, too. They let clients and prospects know when they can and can't reach you. This helps to set boundaries and prevents calls at odd hours.
2. Take a Break
Incorporating breaks into your workday is just as important as determining a quitting time. I know what you're thinking. Breaks can disrupt your flow and ruin your productivity. Trust me, I get how tempting it can be to work through lunch when you're swamped with projects. Surprisingly, taking breaks can actually increase your productivity. Stepping away from a task for 15-30 minutes not only leaves you feeling refreshed, but can also give you the fresh perspective and creative boost you needed.
3. Make Time for Exercise
Freelance writing means spending the majority of your day sitting in front of your computer screen. Making time to get up and move throughout the day is crucial to your mental and physical health. Don't just say you'll exercise, either. Build it into your schedule! Add it to your morning routine or schedule in extra time during your lunch to go to the gym. Whatever works for you, do it.
There are a lot of ways you can move your body during the day but to get you started, here are a few suggestions.
- Follow along to a workout DVD
- Take a walk around the neighborhood
- Go for a run
- Attend a class at the gym
- Get up and stretch
- Make a few trips up and down your stairs
4. Learn to Say No
You may feel like you need to take on every project that comes your way but you don't. Learn to say no! Being intentional about what you work on and who you work with is a good thing. Not only do you avoid overextending yourself, but it lets you focus on what you actually enjoy doing. Less stress, more joy…what's not like?
5. Spark Your Creativity
Writing for a living can take a toll on your creativity. I'm not just talking about writer's block either. It's bigger than that. I'm talking about a total creative block. Writing content for clients day in and day out can cause your brain to feel utterly fried. So, when it comes time to work on a project for your own business, you feel uninspired and unmotived. To combat this, take time to do something that gets your creativity flowing again.
- Read just to read
- Free write in a journal
- Visit a museum
- Have a brainstorming session with a friend
- Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Listen to an inspiring podcast
6. Give Yourself Permission to Chill
Unless you're a robot, you can't be ON all the time. Sometimes you just need to take a breather and unwind. Make time to do something that makes you happy and helps you to relax. For some people that may mean sipping on some wine in the bathtub. Others may prefer vegging out with Netflix. Whatever you enjoy doing, give yourself permission to chill without feeling guilty about it.
Make Self-Care a Habit
Regardless of how you practice it, self-care for freelance writers is important. Find what works for you and make it a habit by incorporating into your daily and weekly routine. Doing so will keep burnout at bay, boost creativity, and help your business continue to thrive.
Do you have other self-care tips for freelance writers? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment down below and tell me how you make time for yourself.