If you run your own freelance editorial business, you’re probably working too hard. This is because freelancers wear many hats: marketer, bookkeeper, sales professional, project manager, webmaster, customer service representative…the list goes on. Even when you’re not working on client projects, you’re still working.
All this work, work, work can lead to fatigue and burnout, and it can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
This holiday season, put your health first by treating yourself to some rest and relaxation and making good habits for the new year. Here are four ways to get started:
1. Take Some Time Off
Schedule a few days of “me” time to do whatever you need to feel recharged again. Maybe this is quality time with your loved ones, a day at the spa, a road trip with an old friend, or a meditation retreat.
Don’t have the funds to plan a true getaway right now? Schedule a “staycation” for a few days where you get away from your gadgets (hello, email autoresponder!), create your own in-home spa or movie theater, explore your hometown, or do other fun (and entirely non-work-related) activities, either alone or with your family.
2. Get Better at Leaving Work at Work
Does it feel like your work never ends? As a freelancer, it can be difficult to stop working at the end of the day. (This is why many freelancers chuckle at the idea of actual work–life balance!)
Start thinking of ways you can turn off your freelancer’s brain and switch into personal or family mode. Having set work hours can help, as can having a dedicated office space.
The most important thing to practice here is to try to give your full attention to whatever “mode” you’re in at the time. For example, make sure your full attention is with your family during family game night (and stop checking that phone!).
3. Schedule Daily Restorative Breaks
As freelancers, it can feel like we don’t actually get breaks. Our entrepreneurial gears are still in overdrive, even when we’re supposed to be relaxing and taking some time off. This unhealthy pattern taxes our mental resources and leads to poor performance, stress, and burnout.
For the new year, start planning out small, restorative breaks that you can schedule into every day. These breaks can’t be chores or errands—they should be things that refresh your mind and body, like a nap, lunch with a friend, or a walk or workout.
Try to have at least one restorative break every workday.
4. Indulge Your Hobbies
Hobbies, by definition, are the activities we do for pleasure and relaxation. As a busy freelancer, what hobbies have you been neglecting?
Do you love to cook, but just don’t have time anymore? Make the time to cook one meal a week to start. Or maybe you love to read or knit? Make sure you’re doing these activities on a regular basis. (You can even sign up for an evening or weekend class to improve your skills or meet new people!)
Make time to do the things that relax and inspire you—you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re slogging through every day.
As you rest and recharge this holiday season, be thinking of ways you can bring this frame of mind into 2017. What can you do on a regular basis to make sure you’re refueling your mind and body and treating yourself right?
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