Are you happy being a freelancer? This sounds like an odd question, one you probably wouldn’t expect to find on a website that focusses on promoting freelancing, however, we need to address the elephant in the room. Depression.
Freelancing seems like an ideal dream job. Giving up the rat race of ordinary jobs to create your own timetable and earn money as a freelancer looks perfect. Freelancers also get to avoid irritating colleagues, unnecessary meetings and office politics.
The truth is, freelancing is a tough grind. The work can get tedious and extremely exhausting.
A number of global surveys on freelancers have been conducted and studies prove that freelancers are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
When you look at it from the outside, their flexible job status should not lead them to depression. In this article, we’ll reveal some of the reasons why freelancers are tormented by depressive thoughts and how they overcome this and get better.
Working from home on your own all the time can easily lead to depression. A number of freelancers are often closed off in their homes or in their rooms working with no healthy human interaction. Working is good and productive but a lack of constant human interaction definitely contributes to depression.
What many people may not realize is that the annoying colleagues and the office gossip actually adds a lot of structure to your life. For millions of people, the daily office routine forms the basis of their social life. Working at home, all alone for long periods of time can get lonely. Depression slowly seeps in and you could be flustered, sad and upset all the time.
The simplest way to tackle this is to take a break after completing an article or any task. While on break talk to your family members or a friend. Take a short walk and interact with anyone you may know. Over the weekends plan an outing with your friends and family. Ensuring that your social life is active and healthy will steer your mind away from depressive thoughts and will contribute to increased productivity at work.
The freelancing industry definitely has some scammers. A number of freelancers have been tricked by clients into doing their work only for them to disappear as soon as you present the final work. Then there are clients who avoid sending payment for months forcing you to constantly contact them reminding them about your invoice. Such situations ultimately contribute to anger and depression. When you spend a lot of your time and energy completing a task, and you don’t get paid, it makes a freelancer’s life much harder.
There Is no easy way to deal with this kind of setback. Before working on a project, however, it is advisable that you do some research on the client. Talk with other freelancers who have worked with him, learn from their experiences and find out more about payment and non-payment scenarios.
No job security
The sad truth about freelancing is that your job can end at a moment’s notice. The clients you are working for can simply decide to end the contract or close the project. This could be because the client has ended up in deep financial troubles or your client has chosen to replace you with a cheaper freelancer. This situation is definitely one of the largest contributing factors to the depressive state of a freelancer.
In the freelancing community, there are no set guidelines or rules that protect a freelance writer. To ensure that you don’t end up in such situations you will have to create your own rules. You can negotiate a deal making sure that your client is aware that in case he may want to close the project in between, you will have to be compensated for time and energy already spent. The deal should be able to increase trust and transparency.
Most importantly, start saving money that will help cushion you financially.
Long gaps between gigs
Every experienced freelancer has witnessed firsthand how unpredictable the freelance industry is. There are times when you are overloaded with a ton of work and then there are moments where you may experience weeks or even months without any new projects. During this time being impatient and scared is quite normal. You may stay up late, worrying and bidding for new projects that are underpaid. Your mind will run wild with a series of negative and depressive thoughts.
The best way to get through this gap is to relax and always be optimistic. The gap will be short-lived, so take the time to do all the things that you had been putting off. Spend time with your family and friends, work out, travel and prepare for your next big project. Do not ruin your reputation acting like a desperate fellow.
Seek professional help
As a freelancer, your mind acts as your primary tool of work. Ensuring that you are well rested, psychologically healthy and alert is one of the best ways to avoid depression. Inculcating the tips given above is also important in your freelance career.
If the tips above don’t work and your mental health continues to deteriorate, do not be afraid to ask for help from a professional therapist. Your mental health is very important. Listen to motivational talks and take part in mental therapy activities. Dealing with depression and anxiety is not shameful and attending a few therapy sessions can do wonders and help you build yourself again.
Have you ever had to battle depressive thoughts in your freelancing career? How do you deal with depression as a freelancer? Let us know in the comment section below.