How to keep your mental health in check as a freelancer?


23 February 2023
Are you a freelancer and feel your mental health declining? See how to keep your mood and health in check!

What is mental health made of?

We heard about mental health, mental well-being, and mental health issues that are generalized and classified in documents by organizations like the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization.

Mental health itself is a concept that encompasses mental well-being of many types, such as emotional, social, and psychological, which in turn can affect many aspects of people in general and freelancers in particular, like work-life balance, physical health, personal life, self-care, the social aspect, energy levels and so on.

Freelance work and mental health

It is known that even though freelancing work comes with many advantages, such as being our own boss and a flexible schedule, mental health as a freelancer is also affected by not having enough sleep, the possible lack of physical activity, or the stress of having to compete with other freelancers. Having to search sometimes for other contractors, working indoors for a long time, and not spending so much time with family or friends also can lead to feelings of sadness or anxiety. With all that in mind, there are ways to reduce the mental health concerns of self-employed people and to take control of one’s own future.

There are many aspects and factors that contribute to one’s mental health, like stressors, physical health, social factors, emotions, cognition, and different practices. Let’s talk a bit about each of them!

0de0e452 3f76 40f8 9c5f 8114334e0b6b How to keep your mental health in check as a freelancer?

The many factors of mental health

Stress and more stress! We can’t avoid it, as to live in a connected society, we’ll meet with different problems, which in turn need solutions, so stress is inevitable. And sadly, it is such an important contributor to many mental health problems. The main stressors of many freelancers are the lack of safety, the lack of money, and abrupt changes in one’s life not taking enough care of their mind.

Regarding spending money, it’s important to have a bank account and an emergency fund that one can tap into without problem in needing times. Safety and changes in one’s life go hand in hand, but some preparation makes all the difference in this case. Whenever we have time, we can research a bit about what’s happening in the outside world and try spending time outside our business hours to prepare for possible events.

Physical needs constitute another big factor in our health and mental stability. The most important ones here are related to having and eating healthy food, drinking enough water, and not only. It’s easy to get lost in our own heads outside of working hours, as we are constantly exposed to a stream of information and thus neglect our sleeping patterns and needs. Long periods of sleep deprivation are known to increase the risk of depression and anxiety, among other things.

Physical exercise is such an important aspect, and the lack of it has a negative impact on the whole human experience as well being drops, and extra pressure cannot be relieved purely because the lack of regular exercise puts people in a most vulnerable state. Regarding this, there are many things one could try on their own: swimming, going to the gym, calisthenics, running, climbing, yoga, and so on. We just have to take the first step and see for ourselves which one we resonate with.

Social life is part of our mental system as well! Whatever we do or do not do, be it in a professional setting, during the week, or in our own time, during the weekend, humans are social creatures, and the lack of contact affects us. Face-to-face interaction has been proven to help one’s mood and having a few close friends can be such a powerful experience in the face of a fast society. If one is lacking a bit in this department, try to think about what you enjoy doing and see if there are people somewhere in your vicinity doing that, then contact them. Since the dawn of the internet, creating relationships has been easier than ever because we can search for like-minded people.

Emotions and our emotional side have a big impact on our well-being. Thus, it is important, especially for creative freelancers, to try setting boundaries with clients and do work from a balanced emotional state. But sometimes, feeling lonely, sad, fearful, or in another way leads to more stressful days, a lack of focus, and a worse time dealing with them.

If emotions stop working on our side, it’s time to stop for a bit and really look at what we have in our lives. Is it only the professional side, the business, and the clients that affect us? Or is it also related to our personal relationships with family, peers, lovers, and so on? A bit of introspection, a well-deserved break, and the ability to set boundaries to go a long way in managing emotions.

Thoughts and the intellectual side are too one of the most important things in our daily lives. It is said that our thoughts become our reality, so it’s really important to think about our business mentally wise and try to “catch” thoughts that hurt us. Are we too mean to ourselves? Do we underappreciate our achievements? Do we have a whole host of repetitive thoughts that come to us every day? Journaling is a great tool to counteract this phenomenon. Even 5 minutes of daily journaling can help in observing thoughts and thought patterns, which later can be changed through effort and determination.


774a13e4 0897 4c90 b022 1045d26bc825 How to keep your mental health in check as a freelancer?

Helpful practices for a good mental health

We talked about quite a few factors, but for freelancers in special, who are remote workers, who have other interests than some of the general population, who have their own work hours and their own time of respite, perhaps some other strategies can create a better work-life balance.

There are a few practices that can be used by the self-employed to manage the work tasks better, the client’s work but also their free time and personal relationships. These practices are meditation, yoga, journaling, creating art, playing an instrument, inventing something, and so on.

The most different from the bunch is meditation, which will bring benefits in all areas of the person’s life. Yoga is beneficial for the body-mind connection, and for the other ones, even one could be perfect, but zero might not be enough mentally wise.


807c1ec8 436f 4959 aeb3 f915d65d527d How to keep your mental health in check as a freelancer?

A final perspective

Mental health is a difficult topic, especially for someone who will work remotely for clients, who is basically small business owner taking care of their own business because stressful events will surely appear. Even though that’s the case, successful freelance business entrepreneurs have a plethora of options to keep their health, sanity, and mental well-being intact.

Sometimes stating something is even harder than doing the thing, but even so, for our own benefit, it’s really important to try our best with determination, openness, and responsibility for our own lives!

More on blog