Sometimes freelancers have a hard time juggling work, health and life. Often times, we’re tempted to work long, hard hours for days and weeks at a time. This might work for a short time, but eventually, everything catches up with us. Ill health, poor work quality and stress are the results of working long hours, and not taking care of ourselves. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up…there’s hope and there are ways to manage stress!
Nothing helps you juggle work commitments and manage stress better than being organized. You need to use whatever organizing strategies work best for you and your work situation. It helps to have some type of calendar or other means to track your projects’ beginning and end. Tracking your projects by some means will help you to not have to remember everything, it will allow you to see if you have time to take on more work or not. When you get busy, it’s impossible to try to keep the details of more than one project in your head at one time. It will drive you crazy, and increase your stress level. Be sure to find some way to track your projects and schedule new work. Organization is a crucial key to maintaining your sanity when you’re a freelancer.
Take Frequent Breaks
Working long hours, sitting at a computer, can cause your body to fight back in very unpleasant ways. Your shoulders start to become sore, and then cramp. Or your wrists and hands can become overworked, resulting in repetitive stress disorder. And we can’t forget our backs. Too much sitting can also cause numerous back problems. Along with these troubles, sitting too long can make us drowsy and tired, which will directly impact the quality of our work. Well, this is a body’s litany of troubles from being in one position or spot for too long. What can we do to help our bodies avoid these problems?
Frequent breaks, away from your workstation and computer, can help you avoid sore and cramping muscles. Take a walk into another part of your home, or step out onto the balcony or patio for ten or fifteen minutes. You could also play with your kids or pet during a short break. You might even find some bit of housework, such as folding the clothes, to use as a break away from your work. This way you’re not only giving your body and mind a break, but you are also getting a bit of housework done. Moving around is the key to relieving your mind and body after long periods of sitting and working. Not only will you ease up the sore, cramping muscles, but you will also increase the blood to flow from your head to your toes, which helps you to feel more revived and awake.
Care for Yourself
You should take care of your mind, soul and body even when in the midst of a busy work schedule. Be sure to take care of your health by eating healthy foods, exercising, and geting enough sleep each night. Nothing will sabotage your work faster than getting sick and failing to manage stress.
Our electronic age makes it possible to work almost around the clock. We have continuous connection to the Internet, movies and other media. This very amazing technology, however, can quickly wear us down mentally. It’s important to schedule some quiet time into your days. Be sure to have times when you completely unplug from your work. Turn off your cell phone, computer and other devices, and spend time relaxing with a good book or enjoy a favorite hobby. These breaks will do wonders for your mind and body, helping you to relax and recoup energy.
Here, I’m not referring to being social online. No. You need to get out and be with other people in order to stay healthy. Isolation is one of the unpleasant results of working from home. On the one hand, working from home, away from the “cube” aspect of many offices, can bring a sigh of relief to us. We can work in peace and quiet, with fewer interruptions, while not having to listen to someone talking loudly on their cell phone over in the next cube. However, working from home also tends to have a negative impact on our social lives. Humans need to socialize in order to remain happy and healthy (body, mind and soul). If you are busy working long hours at home, you are not getting in enough social time with your friends and family. Getting away from your home office to spend time with others can be a way to freshen your mind and body, while sustaining the important relationships in your life and is a wonderful way to help manage stress.
These are a few simple ideas on to help you to keep stress to a minimum in your life. Following these suggestions will help you to keep on track with your work, providing quality for your clients, and help you to stay healthy, sane and happy in your freelance work.
(c) 2011 by Sher Vacik
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