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November 2, 2022
Mental Health

Top Mental Health Antidotes for Freelancers this 2022

The flexible working hours from random cafes, the comfort of working from home with those fuzzy slippers on, or the freedom of choosing your clients. This is, of course, the blissful scenario of what freelance life feels like. But is this what freelancing always feels like?

You, more than anyone, have the answer to that. Freelancing can sometimes make you feel anxious, lonely, and exhausted- and hey, that's not something we like to show in our Instagram stories, but that doesn't mean we have to hide or deny it. 

This 2022 is all about being brave with our true essence and emotions. Read on to get some insight on some common mental health antidotes you can incorporate into your freelance routine this year. 

Top Mental Health Challenges freelancers will overcome this 2022

Here are the Top Mental Health Challenges that freelancers face according to Freelancer Loneliness: The Ups and Downs of Going Solo and the EpsonTank research studies: 

  • Anxiety and stress: Freelancers often worry about payments, finances, and savings. In fact, 86% of freelancers say that they have an irregular income. And these are some of the few aspects that cause us stress and anxiety.
  • Loneliness: Freelancers often don't have office buddies to vent out with in real teams. 48% of freelancers said they felt lonely. 
  • Fatigue: We suck at disconnecting from work. Over half of freelancers admit reading work emails while on holiday, with 48% saying they reply to those emails. 
  • Sadness: 25% of respondents of EpsonTank experienced "frequent periods of depression."
  • Insecurity: 77% of freelancers said they lack the talent to complete the job, and 80% feel confused about the lack of clarity from clients on projects.

Top Mental Health Antidotes for 2022 

Grounding techniques can you help reduce levels of anxiety and stress.

1. Practice feeling grounded 

Imagine you are standing or sitting barefoot in the grass. What do you feel? The grass blades tickling your skin, the damp dirt, and maybe the cold temperature in the air. You feel the stability of the ground on your body- you are feeling grounded. And that is a sensation we should treasure this 2022. 

Grounding techniques can help you turn off that "fight, flight, or freeze '' response so fondly created to deal with pre-historic predators. They can help alleviate panic attacks, lack of focus, and triggering emotions. They connect your body and mind with the simplicity of the present and carry you away from a distressing make-belief scenario our powerful mind creates. 

Some new activities or habits that can help you feel grounded: 

  • Stop and let yourself be: It can be anything from meditation, mindfulness, or breathing exercises. It doesn't have to be a tremendous spiritual experience. Just sit down a few minutes, close your eyes, and inhale and exhale. Leave your emotions and start noticing your sensations, smell, touch, and sounds. This will only take a few minutes. 
  • Move your body! It doesn't have to be yoga. You can go out for a walk for 20 minutes, dance to your favorite song, or go for a jog. Bring your attention back to your body every day.
  • Connect with nature: Feel the dirt on your hands, go for a walk around the beach or the mountain (we live in Spain, after all!), or even try a little gardening yourself! Nature’s energy is key when it comes to connecting with the present-day sensations and relieving the anxiety of your mind.

This antidote can help you cope with anxiety, stress, insecurity, and lack of focus. 

2. Implement periods of digital detox 

Just like you would start a detox diet to rid yourself of sugar excess, why wouldn't you try some digital detox to focus on real-life social interactions?

Hey- we know that this sometimes seems impossible for freelancers. We connect with clients online and network through social media all the time. But what if every week we try to disconnect from our devices, just a little bit? Our body, mind, and attention will thank us in unimaginable ways. The constant use of devices can affect our sleep patterns, increase feelings of stress, and make us well (contradictory enough) feel disconnected from the real world. 

Some new activities or habits to achieve your digital detox:

  • Set time restrictions on social media: The scrolling is so innocently taking over hours of our day. Not only that, the constant flow of images and videos also deteriorates our sense of focus. Try setting restrictions on social media apps every day and hiding these apps from your phone's main screen. 
  • Don't check your email over the holidays: This can be almost impossible for freelancers. In fact, they say freelancers never take a day off- but try it out. If your clients have an emergency, they will most likely call you. 
  • Read a book! Ink, words, and paper! Books can help us regain a new sense of focus and enhance our cognitive capacities. Take that book to the beach, your favorite coffee place, and get lost in its pages.  
  • Get artistic: Painting, creative writing, ceramics class, or even trying out a new instrument can help us leave our phones and connect with our creativity from another place. Plus, all of these are proven to make our brains sing with joy. 

This antidote can help you cope with anxiety, lack of focus, feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. 

3.  Generate genuine connections and relationships 

No, it's not about having a million likes or comments on social media. It's not about having a thousand friends either. When it comes to intimate and healthy relationships, choose quality over quantity. 

Spanish psychiatrist and Best-seller author Marian Rojas Estapé encourages us to connect with those "vitamin friends." We’re talking about those friends that can make us laugh or smile even on the worst days. When we connect with “vitamin friends” we induce our bodies to produce oxytocin, the social happiness hormone, and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone. 

Ideas  for a year full of meaningful connections and relationships:

  • Connect with yourself first: Imagine the richness of our friendships if we connected with our genuine selves. Set aside some minutes to journal every day, get in tune with your thoughts and feelings, and make time alone- much more pleasurable. 
  • Join the lonely-hearts club! There are plenty of freelancers out there just waiting to make meaningful connections. Connect with people through your interests, hiking, art, or just living the freelance life! Why not join the Coogee community? 
  • Get some furry hugs: Animals can give us that unconditional love we just can't get from humans sometimes. 
  • Help and empathize: Volunteering can turn that narcissistic reputation our generation gets and remind yourself that you are part of something greater. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen, help clean the beach or give English classes at a cultural center near you. 

This antidote can help you cope with loneliness, anxiety, lack of focus, and feelings of sadness.

Let's give our freelance mental health some loving comfort this 2022

Having vital mental health in your day-to-day freelance routine doesn't mean that birds will chirp and sing and dance away as you turn in last month's performance reports to your superior. It also doesn't mean that you have to meet certain expectations of happiness or contentment. Instead, emotional wellness motivates us to unleash our true potential, manage stress, and gain resilience whenever a storm comes. 

But remember, you’re not alone! If you feel like you need a hand taking care of your mental health don't hesitate to reach out to a psychologist, life coach, or mental health professional to get that extra support this year. 

This 2022 it's time to go from anxious to grounded, from exhausted to replenished, and from lonely to genuinely connected. Are you up for the challenge? We want to hear your take on it! For more resources, videos, and books on incorporating these tips, check out our Coogee Newsletter! 

One last thing!

I hope you found this article helpful. If you’re not a part of the Corgee Freelancer community, it’s not too late. Subscribe here and you’ll never miss useful freelancer tips.

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