In 2016, there’s been a noticeable rise in topics about educating bloggers and freelancers to take care of themselves and avoid burnout. Let’s face it — the world of blogging and freelancing doesn’t start with glitz and glam. It starts with four walls, an idea, and a lot of time to build a great reputation with readers and clientele. It’s often a world of struggle that can wear down the solopreneur, especially if there’s a lot of frustration and lack in earning money.
While many bloggers and freelancers build successful businesses, some burn out and quit, and some even get obsessed and forget about their basic needs. That can lead to:
- Chronic illness
- Lack of motivation or creativity
- Losing concept of time
- Pushing friends and family away
To help bloggers and freelancers avoid burnout and worse, their experienced colleagues in the line of teaching have been reminding us throughout the year about the importance of self-care.
Jessie Kwak: Look within
For example, freelance writer and novelist Jessie Kwak said that she’s learned that most writing problems start on the personal level. You have to address those core issues to be truly successful. Writer’s block? You can probably attribute it to something lacking in your life.
Topher DeRosia: Take control of YOU
Many freelancers have expressed their struggles, and how they overcame them, on the HeroPress WordPress community website. Some also have given tips to take control of your own experience in the community. Topher DeRosia points out that you are responsible for your own awesome:
“WordPress will NOT change your life. YOU will, and the people with whom you form relationships will guide and and impact you. WordPress is an excellent tool, and comes with a generally positive community, but never forget that you’re responsible for your own awesome.”
It’s up to you to be a hero to yourself, Topher says. Do it.
Cory Miller: You aren’t alone
HeroPress gathers stories together to show that you are not alone as a blogger or freelancer — and iThemes founder and CEO Cory Miller has dedicated space on his own blog to assure entrepreneurs of the same thing. In 5 Ways to Better Manage the Lows in Business, he writes:
“We all go through low times. We all have our downs. It’s part of the experience, which is why I think entrepreneurship can be one of the toughest, loneliest jobs I’ve had. We’re a rare breed. Most of the people we know and love aren’t entrepreneurs.
But simply knowing others go through the same experiences helps me a lot.
At some point, we’ve all had cashflow issues. We’ve all had down months in sales. We’ve all had team and client conflicts that sucked. We’ve all had competition come in and threaten us.
So please know … you’re not alone.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you feel alone — and freelancing can be a lonely gig. So do yourself a favor to avoid burnout: find a friend … or 50. There are plenty of online communities, meetups and other opportunities to connect with like-minded freelancers and bloggers.
Sheryl Crow: Nourish your body
At one such gathering of bloggers, #BlogHer16, singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow stressed the importance of being more conscious about what you put in your body, and how it can affect your life. She said, “We need to be aware of what’s in our food, and we need to fight to get our food as healthy as possible.”
While Sheryl, a breast cancer survivor, was speaking primarily about women’s health, men should also take note of her message. All the talent and motivation to succeed in the world won’t matter if you’re unhealthy. Eat well. Get regular checkups. All those things your mom probably told you to do.
9 tips to help bloggers and freelancers avoid burnout and feel better
Of course, there are countless other experts who have strongly expressed the importance of self-care for the self-employed. Here are some more top tips dedicated to helping you take care of yourself — whether you call yourself a blogger, a freelancer, a solopreneur, or whatever title you go by.
1. Schedule your blogging or work time.
Setting a schedule will allow you to separate blogging and work time from your personal time. If you don’t have a schedule, you will feel stuck behind the computer all of the time. This should also reduce burnout from overworking.
To help, Google Calendar is a nice start for scheduling projects. For blogging, you can create an editorial calendar.
2. Do something for yourself at least once a week.
You need time for yourself that doesn’t involve the internet. Head to your favorite ice cream shop, go window shopping, take up an old or new hobby, discover a new place, or find some fun event you’ve always wanted to do. Just do something for yourself that breaks you away from a computer screen.
3. Find ways to streamline your workflow.
Adopt the mantra of “work smarter, not harder.” See what you can do to make your work more efficient. There’s always a better way, and that can save you time for the things that really need to be done.
Whether it’s keyword research, automating your social media promotions, hiring a virtual assistant, or investing in project management software, you’ll find yourself more focused.
4. Unplug and get involved in local meetups and groups.
Sure, you see a lot of people online, through your computer screen. However, after some time, in those four corners of your home or office, the lack of human interaction can be detrimental. Humans are social creatures, and even if you are an introvert, you need at least some non-virtual interaction with other people.
There are hundreds of local meetup groups on Meetup.com that give you a chance to connect with like-minded individuals. You can use it to collaborate, network for more business, or even to learn something new.
5. Reach out to friends and family if you’re having problems coping.
Your friends and family love you. They are your first line of support. If they are available, reach out to them and let them know what’s going on in your life. Sometimes this may be difficult to do, but even if they can’t give you savvy business or blog advice, they can at least comfort and support you.
6. Don’t be afraid to seek professional counselling.
If you feel depressed, lost or unstable, you don’t have to handle it alone. Seek out professional counselling. A professional can offer unbiased support to help you sort out your emotional and mental issues, so that you can focus on making positive plans — like getting a mentor or coach who can set you in the right direction.
7. Find a mentor or coach for your business or blog.
A mentor or coach can help you know where you’re at in your business, and direct you in the right direction depending on your business plan. They can also give you advice on what you’re currently doing wrong, and how to fix it. Most mentors or coaches do cost, but they can be hired on an hourly basis and as-needed.
When you’re online, you’re most likely sitting down for an extended amount of time. It’s important to get a little exercise. Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be extreme, but you need to get up and off of your desk chair from time to time.
9. Put together a healthier meal plan.
When you’re working like a mad scientist in that dark cave that you call an office, it’s so easy to just grab junk food. Try creating a meal plan and snacks that are better for your body. If you know you’ve got a busy week ahead of you, prep a bunch of small meals on Sunday and refrigerate or freeze them so they’re ready to go when you’re ready to grab.
Are you a blogger or freelancer? What tips or tools can you share that can help with a solopreneur’s self-care regimen?
Also published on Medium.