Freelance self-care has been taken, chewed up and made to feel really weird about itself. Self-care is not the perfumed bubble bath or the trinkets you buy. It’s not a guilty tub of popcorn at the cinema on tight arse Tuesday. These moments, whilst good on occasion, are self-soothing. They are about making us feel better when we don’t feel that great. They are about the little luxuries in life we add on when we do feel great.
Freelance self-care is different. It’s a daily ritual, like brushing your teeth or having something to eat. It’s about putting your emotional and intellectual needs first. And connecting to your body, community, family, creativity and the things that matter.
It is, at the very heart, about caring for yourself.
When we freelance, our basic self-care floats away. It’s often the first one to go when we run out of time or our clients ramp up the demands.
But freelance self-care is what we need the most when we’re time poor or under pressure. It’s what helps guide us through the times that trial us. And it’s what helps us become stronger.
That’s why write so much about freelance self-care. To keep us both on the right track and share that accountability.
Things to think about:
a) Self-care is about what works for you. We’re need to recover and even uncover a new meaning in freelance self-care. And there may be things that appeal to you and things that don’t. That’s OK
b) You may find think of things along the way. One of the most wonderful things in the world is something reminding you of things you used to love to do. And then finding your new, modern ‘now you’ twist. Rollerblading through the park may become walking the kids there. Or it may become joining a roller derby league. Don’t be afraid to take them on!
c) Developing good freelance self-care habits takes time. Like any good habit, the more you repeat it, the more it becomes automatic. Try habit stacking, where you swap a bad habit for a good one. Instead of that biscuit at your desk over email, eat nuts in the kitchen while you wait for the kettle to boil. Look for the little moments and subtle wins
d) Be prepared to practice. Our tastes develop and change. The same is with self-care. I find that once I start doing one good thing well, other things start to follow. I also find that some things lose their sheen over time. My aim with this challenge is to give you 30 ideas but pick the few that work for you now and others in the future. Be flexible – and set up a baseline to give yourself the chance to excel
e) Match it to your purpose. What do you want to get out of time spent on self-care? What feeling do you want to result- e.g. do you want to feel excited and energised or calm and free? Is it about challenging yourself or a reward? Is it about stimulating your brain or giving your brain a break? All these kinds of questions help you choose the best boost for you.
The main thing? Make a commitment to making self-care a priority. Write down why you you have neglected self-care in the past. Look at the reasons you have written and plan out how you will challenge those barriers. And get started!