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8 Ways to Manage Anxiety as a Full-Time Freelancer

You don't need to be perfect to make up for anxiety symptoms. You just need a system that works for you.

March 23, 2022
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Lunch break
Photo Credit: Namphuong Van | Unsplash

Disclaimer: The following information and suggestions are for educational purposes only. This article is not intended to substitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you struggle with anxiety or another setback, please seek help from a qualified health provider.


Managing anxiety in your personal life is one thing. But managing anxiety as a freelancer is tough. Scary, even. Tasks like scheduling calls, sending proposals, and managing invoices can be stressful. Not to mention the looming fear of the unknown.


Whether you work as a blogger, photographer, graphic designer, writer, or something else, you can still thrive as a freelancer, even with anxiety.

Here are eight ways to manage anxiety as a full-time freelancer.

We'll start with a tough one:

1. See a counselor

We know this isn't an easy process, both financially and emotionally. And it may be hard to tell if you need to take this step. Am I really stressed beyond my limits or am I just going through a rough patch right now?


Apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace are a great way to seek professional help in the comfort of your own home. After creating an account, you can customize appointments to fit your schedule, and find a counselor based on your needs and preferences.


Seeing a counselor may be scary. But if you’re struggling to reach your goals, manage stress, or regulate your emotions, a counselor may be helpful for you. It’s vital to have people in your corner as you start a new chapter in your life—a counselor can be one of those people.

2. Start journaling

Not everyone is into journaling, and that's okay. But it would be a disservice not to include this tip since there are many mental and physical health benefits of journaling. Journaling can help you reduce stress, track progress and personal growth, organize your goals and priorities, find inspiration, and even strengthen your memory.


And the best part? You don’t need to be a skilled writer to journal. Journaling means writing down your thoughts and feelings to help you understand them more clearly.


Journaling can take many forms, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can write down your thoughts as they come to you or use templates such as prayers, meditation, gratitude, or affirmations. You can journal as often as you like.


Learn how to journal and your anxiety will melt away. It’s not just a high-school-girls “dear diary” stereotype. It’s scientifically proven to help manage anxiety.

3. Eat well

The food you eat can play a massive role in your anxiety symptoms. There are many ways to eat well for anxiety.


You don't need to overhaul your current eating habits with a brand-new diet. You can start with small habits like drinking water to stay hydrated, or avoiding anxiety-triggering ingredients like sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. Small changes can make a noticeable difference.

4. Enjoy time outside

Whether at a state park or ten minutes on the patio, getting fresh air has many benefits. Again, there's no right or wrong way to enjoy time outside. Walk by yourself, or drive to a local nature center.

Depending on the weather and where you live, you may find yourself stuck indoors from time to time, but don't let it get to you. Even an outdoor adventure once in a while helps ease anxiety symptoms.

5. Improve your organizational skills

Organization is critical to freelancing without feeling stressed. It also calms your anxiety.


Productivity apps like Trello or Asana help with managing projects and tasks. You can also use timers, digital wellbeing apps on your phone, website blockers, and tons of other resources to keep your job organized.


Unsure where to start? We recommend starting with one habit or task at a time, rather than trying to change several areas of your workday at once.


Time management apps are excellent tools, but they can't organize your life and workload for you. Start implementing small, simple organizational practices every day and you’ll feel a difference on and off the clock.

6. Get moving

According to Harvard Health Publishing, a recent meta-analysis in the journal Anxiety-Depression found that people with anxiety disorders who reported high-level physical activity were better protected against developing anxiety symptoms than those who reported low physical activity.


Even activities as simple as walking around the block are helpful. Movement gets your blood pumping, helps improve brain activity, loosens up tight muscles, and releases endorphins. Find an activity you love and get movin’!

7. Take breaks

It’s easy to overwork as a freelancer. It’s hard to take breaks without the guilt or concern that you’ll fall behind on tasks. But breaks are super important, whether it’s a ten-minute breather in the middle of a large project or clocking out at the end of the day.


With breaks, you can spot areas of improvement within your work much easier. The process of writing or creating becomes less stressful or frustrating, which allows you to enjoy your work all the more.


Large companies have taken notice of the benefits of giving their employees breaks, and you should too.

8. Enjoy your days off

Like breaks during work, days off and vacations serve as an opportunity to rest and recharge.


Make the most of your days off. Don't let the pressure of getting work done stop you from taking care of yourself. Regular time off work makes you more productive, not less. Get some exercise, dive into your hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or finish that house project. Have fun!

Conclusion

It's normal to experience anxiety, even as a freelancer in a comfortable work-at-home environment. With these tips, you can help reduce anxiety and find joy in your business rather than stress.


We believe you have what it takes to succeed as a freelancer, even with anxiety. You got this!