I often get asked what is the hardest part about being a freelance writer or self-employed. While I might initially say it is the daily grind of pitching, writing and networking, I think the hardest part is actually making time for myself and focusing on health and wellness.
I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for about six and a half years now and it has definitely been the most fulfilling experience of my working career. While working for yourself can give you an incredible sense of freedom, you can also end up falling into a workaholic pattern and never allow yourself the freedom you had originally expected in this career move. Focusing on your health and wellness should be just as important as invoicing for your work. To maintain your creativity, ambition and energy you definitely need to be thinking about your physical and mental health at the same time.
Since becoming a freelancer, my life has gone through a number of personal changes—the most important of which was becoming a mother. There are so many benefits to being a self-employed parent but it also means constantly evolving and being adaptable with how you work. It is easy to let your health and wellness slide to the wayside while you are caring for another human as well as putting in so much effort and time to your career or business.
In partnership with Alberta Blue Cross, I am sharing a few of my tips for maintaining your health and wellness as well as ways to ensure that you make preventative healthcare measures a part of your daily life. I was previously an Alberta Blue Cross plan member when I was first starting out as a freelancer and have been a plan member again since the start of the year. I feel like ensuring that you have health benefits as a self-employed or freelance person is very important. I treat it just like another yearly business expense and it has given me the freedom to get massages, buy new glasses and contacts, seek counselling when I need it and not be out of pocket for prescriptions. It is a small cost to pay (either monthly or yearly) to have that piece of mind of not having to come up with the cash for prescription medication when you get sick or be thrown by a medical emergency.
Alberta Blue Cross offers an online wellness program for their plan members called Balance. This program helps plan members take control of their health and wellness by giving them the opportunity to receive wellness-inspired rewards as well as take part in health risk assessments, gain access to health trackers and educate themselves with interactive tutorials. It is all part of their “Blue For Life” vision at Alberta Blue Cross, and their expanded focus on wellness—to ensure that the individuals and communities they serve are not only healthy but also well.
Besides being a freelance writer, I am also a work-from-home mom. Daily exercise is not only important to me but also to my preschooler. We make an effort to get out of the house every day to run around—whether it is just to run errands or to run around our neighbourhood park or playground. We love going for long walks together so I try to make sure we fit one or two in every week. Beyond the benefits of being active everyday, I find it does wonders for my creativity and motivation to step back from the computer and get some fresh air. Some of my best ideas are visualized when out in nature, exercising or taking some sort of technology break.
Which brings me to rest and mental health; your mind is powerful and it is what your entire business relies on so it is very important to keep your mental health in good shape too. I highly recommend seeking counseling at anytime in your life to talk to an unbiased trained individual about your concerns, whether it be business or personal.
Another way I keep my health and wellness in check is ensuring I make time for myself to seek out inspiration or let my creativity flow. Anytime I’ve felt stagnant or stuck on an idea, it has been because I hadn’t made my creativity a priority. It sounds really simple to carve out time in your schedule to be strictly creative or seek out new ways of looking at or thinking about things, but personally I always feel a twinge of guilt for doing so. It is something I’ve heard from many of my fellow freelancers: it is hard to break free from the “must-always-be-working” feeling of being self-employed. Without taking that time however, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself by not allowing yourself to form new ideas, experience new things and find new ways of doing things. Wellness is a definitely a word that gets thrown around a lot these days and can mean very different things to different people. For me, the definition of wellness is anything you are doing to actively prevent future health issues. It could be anything from taking yoga and pilates classes weekly to seeing a psychologist once a month to reading self-care books. You get to choose what wellness means to you and how it affects your personal health.
This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.