Articles - 18th June 2020

Maintaining self-care as a freelancer

Words by The UP team
Illustration by Will Francis

With lockdown slowly easing, freelancers nationwide are being forced to find creative ways to adapt to what will be the ‘new normal’. Most of us are well aware of the importance of self-care, particularly if you were already working remotely before the pandemic. But how can freelancers keep their sanity and still stay productive during quarantine? If you feel like you’ve already exhausted yourself with everything from baking to home workouts, why not check out some of these more creative and unique tips suggested by freelancers instead?



Chantal Renn, founder of Renn Designs

‘I’ve taken the time to do things that I’ve been meaning to get round to; lino printing and paper marbling for example. If you are in a less creative industry, this could be a great time to indulge yourself in creative arts and crafts whether that’s knitting or joining Grayson’s Art Club. I’ve found that having the space to research future projects and other artists has been really helpful and motivating. Plus having music or podcasts on helps provide much needed company too. I would also recommend checking out The School of Life which is a global organisation helping people to find perspective and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. They’ve developed a range of physical and digital tools to help you keep your mind occupied, stay connected with those you love, and secure the calm you deserve. I suggest their virtual classes, virtual business workshops and even online therapy if you are finding things particularly difficult at the moment.



Letitiah Obiri, founder of Polkadot Digital

It is important that you make the time to celebrate the small wins by working to a ‘rewards system’, similar to the gold star chart you used to get at school. So if you’ve done something productive like cleaning the house or completing a home workout, treat yourself to a movie with a glass of wine or maybe a facial and a manicure. If you have a bigger win to celebrate, maybe you finally met a deadline or secured a new project go wild and have a disco for one. I love having a bit of a boogie alone in my room with the stereo on full blast and working up a sweat for at least an hour as I put on a live show in the mirror! If that makes you too self-conscious, there is an endless stream of Instagram Lives happening most nights with your favourite celebrities and DJ’s. Make it extra special by dressing up as if you were partying with them too!



Izzy Obeng, founder of Foundervine

Now is the perfect time for a spot of redecorating, especially if you’ve been putting it off for as long as I have! Don’t overwhelm yourself with redecorating the whole house, choose a room that needs the most attention and spruce things up with anything from a fresh lick of paint to new cushions or some stencilling on the wall. It doesn’t need to be a huge change, just something small to make the room more inviting, especially if that’s a room you spend most of your time in. Also, once that room is more of a welcoming space you could be encouraged to use it more creatively. After redecorating my spare room, I dug out my old keyboard from the loft and decided to take up playing again, something I haven’t done since school!



Lee Chambers, Enviormental Psychologist at Essentialise

Helping others is one of the keys to boosting your wellbeing. In these tough times, many people need a bit of help. Maybe you can spare some groceries for your elderly or vulnerable neighbour? How about calling another freelancer you know and seeing if they are okay? Perhaps you could consider offering a skill of yours for free to a charitable organisation if you’ve been furloughed. Don’t forget that whatever you are feeling, you are not alone, it is part of a shared human experience many others will be feeling.



Sam Orrin, Business Development Lead at Worksome

Remember that you’re not alone, enjoy your Zoom calls with clients, download Houseparty and chat to your friends and loved ones across the world. If you’re struggling to be positive, there are some amazing community organisations and charities like Mind, CALM, Shelter and Money Advice. These are all available online for free, impartial and confidential advice for when things aren’t so positive.



Matthew Knight, Community Host at LEAPERS

Being part of a support group is a hugely beneficial way of looking after your own, and the mental health of others. Don’t keep things in your head, find a tribe and share how you’re doing. Even if you feel absolutely great, asking others how they’re getting on, creating space and time to listen to others, helps everyone feel they can speak up if they’re struggling. Whether it’s (a support community for freelancers) or a tribe directly related to your career, being part of a group where you can share is a critical part of our collective wellbeing. Make a weekly digital coffee date with other freelancers, to break up your day and get out of your head. If you’re working on a multi person project, keep your Zoom on while you work alongside each other, it’s not dissimilar to being in a coworking space.



Rose Hill, Contributor at Crunch Accounting

I’ve taken up EFT or ‘tapping’ which is a combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology that works to physically alter your brain, energy system and body all at once. I recommend using an app called Tapping Solution which makes it easy to do yourself at home. I usually have acupuncture once a month so this is a good alternative. Finding it really helpful in dark moments!


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