Everyone goes on and on about the benefits and joys of being a freelancer, but barely anyone is willing to talk about how stressful the whole thing can be. Sure, you’ve got the freedom to do everything you want when you want, but with this great power comes great responsibility. Everything is up to you. Things can be tense for freelancers, so it’s important they know how to take time to rest and relax.
Not only does relaxation make your personal life better, but it can also improve the quality of your work. There’s literally no reason to not relax more.
Think You’re Too Busy for Rest?
Of course, most people would argue that they are just too busy to relax. It’s all too tempting to ignore the advice to take some time for yourself if you don’t think you have it. You may be swamped with a big project right now yourself, actually. You’ve not got the time to think about taking a break, much less actually take one. But that next project is looming, and if you don’t plan ahead for it then you’re never going to get time to take a break.
You’ve got to work resting and relaxation into your schedule to ensure that you get it. Plan it ahead of time and put it in your calendar like everything else. Then get to work and relax when the time comes.
Get to Know Yourself
What comes after knowing you need to relax, is knowing how to relax. This comes with knowing yourself.
Some people are introverts and they need to be by themselves in order to relax. Then there are extroverts who can only relax by going out and spending time with others. You should know yourself so you know the best way to relax for you.
Not everyone can relax in the same ways.
Some people think that jumping out of an airplane (with a parachute of course) is a fantastic vacation. Others would enjoy curling up with a great book. It’s about finding out what is right for you.
Long and Short Term Rest
Another important thing to understand is the difference between a short break and a long break. There are some days when you need a little bit of quiet time to pick yourself back up. Then there are times you need several days to yourself and need a serious break or vacation.
A short-term break is much easier to handle. If you’re having a long day and things are dragging on, then take a quick break. Spend the afternoon reading a book or go on a walk around the block. Recognize that the immediate challenges are getting to you and you need to rest. You’ll come back from your rest feeling much better and ready to get back to work.
You also have to be able to recognize when taking 20 minutes to read and enjoy a book won’t be enough to get rid of the sane amounts of stress that are keeping you up at night. If you aren’t getting the relaxation you need from a short break, it may be time to take a longer break.
Get to know your body and understand when you need to take a vacation. Vacations are harder to fit into your schedule, so learn to recognize when you need them ahead of time and plan around them. It’s even better if you can fit it around your family schedule, such as taking a vacation as a family during the summer when the kids are off school. You’re going to get less work done with the kids around anyway, so why not go all out with it?
If it would be too much for you to take a major vacation, then consider taking a smaller and shorter one. Pack up your laptop, take it with you, and do a little work in the mornings. Then spend the rest of the day resting and relaxing knowing that you’ve done enough to not fall too far behind on your projects. The danger is that working for a few hours a day can soon build up and before you know it you’ve turned your hotel room into a mobile office. Don’t forget to actually vacation while on vacation!
Take a Break
No matter what kind of break you need, whether you need something short-term or long-term, make sure that you make time for it. Here are some other tips on how to relax as a freelancer;
•Get yourself a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and help you sleep at night. Good rest begins with good sleep. Wake up feeling fresher and ready to take on the challenges of a new day with a weighted blanket.
•Consider your healthy habits and think about improving your diet and exercise. Do you eat properly? Do you get enough exercise? Sometimes all you need to get back into things is light exercise or some healthy brain food.
•Get a good book and read it. The book can be work related if you want, or it can be your favorite novel. What matters is that you give your brain a little time to rest.
•Go to an event. Once again, this can be something related to your work. Is there an industry event on? Suit up and swap stories with people in your field. Or just go to an event related to a hobby.
•Take a vacation. Book a cabin for a few nights and have a quick retreat away from everything.
•Enjoy some of your favorite video games and take some time to yourself to relax.
Rest and Relax
Whatever gets you feeling rested and relax as a freelancer, make sure that you find some time to fit it into your schedule. Write it down in your calendar if you have to. Just make sure that it happens.
Resting improves the quality of your work. Your clients are going to thank you. Your family are going to thank you. Most importantly though, you’re going to thank yourself.