Freelance SelfcareWarding off the burn out through looking after the now
The importance of selfcare
Peak mental health body Beyond Blue and researchers at Price Waterhouse Coopers conducted research in 2014 into the impact of mentally unhealthy workplaces. The report found 6 million days of lost productivity were attributed to depression. That’s without even looking at other mental health conditions or the impact of continued stress.
Conversely, Beyond Blue and PWC found for each $1 spent on wellness activities saw an average return of $2.30 in productivity.
In the UK, similar research found that wellness programs can improve productivity in the workplace ten fold.
As Australian freelancers, we may not have an organisation to set the framework for mentally healthy workplaces. We don’t have the luxury of wellness officers or HR helping us through the tough times.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make wellness a priority.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard to acheive wellness and to exercise a little freelance selfcare.
Make use of the Freelance Jungle
The Freelance Jungle was founded to end isolation. At the core of our being is the principle of creating a connected, vibrant community.
We don’t just do this to shoot the breeze by the virtual watercooler or to get that little extra bit of advice needed to make great freelance decisions.
The focus is on freelance selfcare. The beating heart of the jungle drum is about looking after you online and in-person. It is a safe space for you to bring stresses, troubles and ask for all kinds of help. Always.
Sister project Hacking Happiness
The idea behind Hacking Happiness is to use content and events to remind all kinds of white collar professionals that stress has a productivity cost. It also examines the myths related to what it means to be happy, successful and prosperous in a modern world.
The aim is to help enhance freelance selfcare and provide solace to the professional who has started questioning the “why?” related to chasing money, prestige and fame.
It includes events such as ‘the myth of worklife balance in a get ahead culture’ at Vivid Ideas 2015 and micro-events in Wollongong, Sydney and online.
The future of freelance selfcare is here
The Freelance Jungle team are working behind the scenes to improve freelance selfcare right across the country. We have some amazing opportunities coming up to enhance your selfcare and wellness. We’re keeping them on the downlow for the moment, but rest assured, you are going to love them.
Think about relaxing freelance festivals where both mind and body can be nourished. Imagine days that are as lovely as a big warm hug. The jungle vines are also swinging us into other parts of the Australian freelance world to bring you a true voice in front of stakeholders, business, mental health bodies, politicians and more.
Sit tight little minkeys, there’s a whole lotta freelance selfcare and love on the Freelance Jungle horizon.
Why is freelance selfcare important?
Australia is reaching critically high numbers with suicide. It’s the leading killer of Australians aged 17 to 44. Yet it in no way receives the funding, media profile or support it deserves.
In fact, many of you may be shocked to know that even though Lifeline is an international organisation with a proven model that in Australia alone takes 1 million calls a year, it only received some form of government funding for the first time this year. Australia also has one of the highest workplace bullying rates in the world at 6%.
Australian freelancers are often hidden statistics in these sorts of surveys because we don’t have the workplace or the visbility behind us. But we do know through anecdotal evidence that freelancers often struggle with issues related to self doubt, financial crisis, bad clients and overwork. All of these things can lead to emotional issues, mental health problems and thoughts of suicide.
What we currently know about about workplace issues and a lack of selfcare
1) Through founder Rebekah’s years working with freelancers online and off, she knows that many of Australia’s freelancers and small business owners have lost someone to suicide within their personal or professional sphere
2) 17% of all suicides are estimated to be workplace related in Australia. Our relationship with work is difficult and is often peppered with compassion fatigue, burn out, continued low level stress and suicidal thoughts
3) Small business owners, startups and freelancers are classified in the “high risk” category of stress related mental health issues, self injury and suicidal tendencies
4) Part of the reason we were seen as a high risk group by Beyond Blue and the COSBA taskforce established in 2015 was the impact financial hardship and business failure plays on our susceptibility to thoughts of suicide, hopelessness and isolation
Rebekah has worked with both Lifeline and Beyond Blue to highlight the risks freelancers face as a group. Rebekah was also partly motivated to volunteer with both organisations because of the increased need she saw in the Freelance Jungle for her to be better skilled at helping people in crisis.
This is something that affects as people and as business owners. And that is why the Freelance Jungle is an advocate for mentally healthy workplaces and freelance selfcare.