Although our freelancing backgrounds might be quite varied, one thing that we all have in common is the struggle to maintain optimal amounts of energy during any given workday. Of course, some could argue that exhaust is a part of anyone’s work like, freelancer or not. Well, yes, but I would argue each and every time that we freelancers have more exhaustion factors to contend with than many other career paths.
In addition to the usual stresses that inevitably occur with work, there’s the all-too-obvious truth that we regularly have to juggle multiple gigs to put together what might, for others, equate to one regular paycheck for one job. So, in the interest of protecting our productivity and, most importantly, our health, here are some ways to stay excellently energized while combating those little clouds of exhaustion that float over our freelancing heads and work spaces…
Ditch the diet dilemmas.
This does, in fact, go without saying, but the more mindfully we eat, the better our energy levels can become. I know, I know, a lot of people rely on caffeinated beverages, but that’s just going down a road of dependency and stained teeth more than anything else. That being said, though, if there’s one source caffeine to indulge in every so often, chocolate can be a delicious and healthy (ish) option.
- For a list of natural foods that are superb for energy, check out Eat This, Not That! magazine’s article, “23 Best Foods for Energy.”
Hydration is the height of health and happiness.
So, if caffeinated beverages aren’t so great, and many juices contain too much sugar (which, contrary to popular belief, can actually decrease and not increase energy), what’s left to drink? Water for the win, ding, ding, ding! It’s quite true that water is so necessary. Sometimes, exhaustion symptoms are actually signs of dehydration.
Sure, you can purchase those usual big bottles of water and just be all practical about it, but this is such a perfect opportunity to purchase a humorous (BPA-free) water bottle. Even just looking at your saucy new water bottle can provide a little pick-me-up when it seems like exhaustion is swiftly approaching!
- Google “BPA-free funny water bottles” and let the laughs flow freely (pun intended).
Exercise is everything.
Some freelancing niches have more on-the-go elements about them than others. However, many of us freelancers must spend quite a lot of time in one place, staring into our computers and laptops as if we were trying to forecast the future – by the way, that in itself can lead to eye fatigue. Sitting in one place does not happy hamstrings make.
For the sake our eyesight and all-around health, it’s incredibly important to break up the monotony and move. This can mean anything as simple as a walk or dancing around to favorite music. Exercise combats exhaustion and gets those energy-producing endorphins going, reducing stress and even providing a happy glow. Only you know your current physical fitness capabilities, so proceed safely.
- Check out this Technogym article, “The Story of Exercise and Endorphins.”
Know the necessity of “no.”
Nothing could be more important for easing (and preferably eliminating) freelancing exhaustion than setting workday boundaries. Some of us freelancers rely on specificity, while others of us work on platforms on a first come, first served basis – it’s this latter group that will probably need the most structure.
The need for financial security often goes something like this: “I’ll just take one more task or project one before finishing for the day/night,” which leads to more than one, then eventual burnout. When the clock starts its fateful ticking into the wee hours and you realize you’re only, at most, going to get a couple hours of sleep, then it’s most assuredly time to rethink priorities.
I consider self-discipline to be the most essential character trait for anyone who wants to be a successful freelancer. This means knowing when the personal takes precedence over the professional, and vice versa. That work/life balance is elusive, but attainable.
You might want to think of this overall freelancing journey as a process: rest, renew, return to work, then repeat. Some days greet us with more work than others. Once we acknowledge that there’s only so much within our control, that truly frees us up to be mindful of our own self-care and energy levels. We must rest to be our best!
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