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Looking After Your Mental Health As A Freelancer

Being a freelancer can be exciting but also mentally exhausting. You often need to wear all the hats, which can take its toll on your mental health. In fact, 55% of freelancers said they’ve suffered from depression as a result of their job.

Mental health issues affect millions of people every year and with most people spending one-third of their lives at work, it’s no wonder that our jobs have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day—a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues, supporting those who need it most, and educating people on how to look after their mental health.

In this article, we discuss 5 ways that you can look after your mental health when working as a freelancer.

Have Realistic Expectations

As a freelancer, it’s important to have realistic expectations, both for yourself and your clients. It’s very easy to say yes to work without thinking about your current workload and your capacity. Taking on too much can lead to burnout, which impacts a staggering 96 per cent of people every day.

As a freelancer or small business owner, you often need to wear all the hats. This can be a huge mental burden so be kind to yourself and try to think of ways you can lighten the load; are there things you can outsource, delegate or even say ‘no’ to?

Don’t be afraid to say no to projects, as this will free up time to allow you to focus on the work at hand and will keep your stress levels down. 

Be Active

Being physically active is proven to not only improve our mental-wellbeing but also our overall health. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to get outside and do some exercise decreases stress, depression, and anxiety. It also boosts energy levels and releases all those feel-good endorphins that we need more of in our lives.

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, it could be simply going for a walk or a light jog. So, whether it’s running, walking, or playing a sport that you like, just make sure you do what you can to move your mood.


When working as a freelancer, you often find yourself working remotely, which can have its benefits but can also have its downsides too. In fact, 64% of freelancers said that their job makes them feel lonely.

Let’s face it, human beings are social animals, and we crave connection. Feeling connected and valued by others at work is really important for boosting our mental health. But how can we achieve this when working in a predominantly digital world?

  • Join a creative community, whether that’s online or in person, it’s a good way to connect with like-minded people. At Envato, we have a huge community of creatives that you can connect with on our Forums or through our LinkedIn Author page.
  • Maintain a healthy social life. When working from home it’s quite easy to remain isolated, so be sure to use your free time to see friends and family or meet new people and make new connections.

Even if it feels hard, it’s worth making an effort to create and sustain connections because of the benefits this can have for you and your mind. So, sign up for that book club, attend that meet-up, volunteer your time—your mind will certainly reap the rewards.

Keep Learning

Learning keeps your brain active and can give you a sense of purpose, helping you to develop new ideas. While the idea of learning can be associated with stress, it doesn’t have to be. We’re not talking about exams and stressful tests, instead, tune into what kind of learning you enjoy, it could be reading about something new, discovering new places, or listening to a podcast.

We have heaps of learning opportunities on Envatotuts+ for you to enjoy! 

Make Time For Yourself

Refill your cup with all the wonderful things that you enjoy. Think about the things that recharge you, relax you, and bring you joy and incorporate more of these into your life.

Check-in with yourself to see how you’re feeling, and if you need to take some ‘you’ time, do it—keep that cup full and your mental health will thank you.

Mental health issues are still widely misunderstood and stigmatized in our society – especially in the workplace. Mental Health Awareness Day aims to bring these issues to the forefront, raise funds and awareness, and break down the stigma around discussing mental health openly. Find out how Envato is getting involved here.

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