Freelancing and working from home definitely have their ups and downs. On one hand, you can choose to spend the day working on your cozy couch snuggled with your favorite pet buddy. On the other hand, a big client could close up shop or go in a different direction and suddenly you’re left scrambling with no safety net.
For me, the pros of running my own business outweigh the cons, but the cons do feed my natural worrywart tendencies intensely.
To be honest, I actually struggled with more anxiety as a non-freelancer than I do now. Regular 9 to 5 jobs have their own set of challenges, like office politics and being at the mercy of someone else to determine your pay rate, etc. I’ll take the freelancer anxiety over the other type any day of the week, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments of panic. Here are 3 tips for coping with anxiety when you work from home, although to be honest, these should help no matter what your work situation.
3 Tips for Coping with Anxiety When You Work from Home
1. Meditation and mindfulness.
You’ve probably been hearing nonstop about meditation for all sorts of things, but there is a reason: It works. Meditation is one of the best treatments for anxiety there is, and it’s free!
I find meditation works immediately to lessen my anxiety and worry, but the real benefits happen over time. Since you train your brain to not immediately react to sensations that arise, but to explore them and feel into them, over time you begin to break the connection of feeling fear and heading straight into panic and anxiety. You can feel the fear (or any other emotion or sensation) without immediately reacting to it. I’m not at that level, but I can disrupt the anxiety cycle in my mind more easily now.
When I feel anxious, I try to go into observer mode, notice the color of the objects in the room around me, sounds I’m hearing, etc., anything so that I don’t just start spinning in my own thoughts. It is a conscious effort that is by no means easy for me, but I’m hoping with continued meditation and mindfulness practice, it eventually will be.
2. Morning pages.
This is my favorite morning activity, and it comes from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Over coffee each morning, I make an effort to resist hopping right onto my computer and instead open my journal and start my morning pages. It’s basically a brain dump, and you just empty your head of whatever is swirling around in there. It helps me process my fears, come up with action plans, inspire and motivate myself, and also gives me space to just let out my anxieties and fears, my gripes, my most petty thoughts, and it clears my head. The amount that a morning pages is supposed to be is 3 full pages, which I don’t always do. Sometimes, I just write a page and I feel better for having done so.
We’ve talked about aromatherapy before. I’m going to mention it here again because I love it. Get yourself some lavender oil or another that calms you down. Put it in a diffuser, rub it on your hands and breathe, however you want to do it. Just spend some time breathing in a beautiful scent, and you’ll feel instantly lighter.
There are so many great ways to work through anxiety, and these are some of my favorites. I actually feel like learning new ways to calm down and take care of myself has become one of my hobbies. Do some experimenting to see which ways work best for you. I feel like they’re all good and that taking the time to care for yourself and process your worries, in any capacity, is worthwhile.
Do you suffer from anxiety? If so, what’s your self-care practice of choice? I’d love to chat about it in a comment below.
This is a guest post from Alison Willoughby. Ali is a virtual assistant, freelance writer, and self-care enthusiast. Visit her at Ali The Happy VA.
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