Freelancers go through periods of time where they are so focused on the task at hand that they forget to take care of themselves properly. This usually happens while beginning their career path, but can happen at any time.
This process may last a day, a few days or even weeks. We forget about everything else, such as cooking, cleaning and, at times, even proper grooming. We just don’t seem to make room for much else, starting work on a project as soon as we get up in the morning and continuing until the wee hours of the next morning when we just cannot seem to stay awake any longer.
This is good way to burn ourselves out, however, and we need to remember to take regular breaks – even if it means setting timers for ourselves. We need to be able to give our brain a little rest, and to accomplish other things.
Set a timer for every 1 to 2 hours during the day, and commit yourself to having a good lunch at one of those times, as well as a healthy snack once or twice. Dinner will also be needed, and breakfast should be eaten before starting work in the morning. Use each break to also perform another task:
Take 10 minutes to clean each room in the house. Ten minutes PER room, split up by breaks. This will aid you in keeping a healthy home.
Spend a few minutes out in the garden. This is exercise during planting and harvesting time, and a chance to relax any other time.
Read an article or a chapter in a book. A great way to relax.
Journaling is great for mental health.
Shower. Clean is healthy, and you won’t offend visitors with odd odors.
Run errands. Done on foot or using a bike, this is also great exercise.
Exercise, even if just doing three mini workouts a day. Great for both physical and mental health.
Return phone calls.
There are other ways in which you can take time for yourself. Schedule them if you must, but keep them in your routine to be at your best:
Take at least one day a week off from work. Two would be better. I try to take at least one day off during the week.
If no full days can be taken, then portions of days should. I usually do not start work until 9:00 AM or later. I also take a few hours in the afternoon off from work tasks at least once a week.
Each morning or evening, shower and pamper yourself a bit. Relax for at least 30 minutes after this.
Quick Writing Tip
Write about what you know. What you live.
5 Writing Prompts
- Article Idea: Your spa experience.
- Novella: Self-centered man meets all American girl at a spa.
- Article Idea: Massage therapy.
- Article Idea: Relaxation techniques.
- Short Story Idea: What happens when Chris does not take a break from work, other than for a few hours of sleep during the wee hours of the morning, for three weeks straight?
Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
Schedule at least 2 evenings a month just for you. No work and no responsibilities.
Copyright 2011 Shannon L. Buck: How to Live the Freelance Life