I’ve been a freelance web designer and developer for about 2 years now, and from my experience, I have had my share of ups and downs along the way. You can receive huge highs when you land a client or wrap up a project successfully, and you can also see deep lows when you lose a contract or are suffering from imposter syndrome.
One thing to be sure to stay in touch with is yourself and your mental health. If you are suffering from feeling depressed, rejected, or that you are not a “good enough” designer or developer, it might be helpful to take some time to check in with yourself and see what you need in order to get out of those ruts.
From my time as a freelancer, I have found that I tend to be very hard on myself when it comes to performance and results. Raised by an extremely hardworking father, I have developed a high-standard for my personal performance and the kind of work I produce. This can be a great thing, but it can also be an avenue that leads to some unhappiness if you allow it to.
Another thing that can become far too familiar while freelancing is rejection. You are always marketing yourself and trying to plant seeds for the future as a freelancer, and with outbound marketing or cold outreach, the frequency of rejection when you are starting out can be very high.
Don’t be discouraged; keep building and learning, hone your craft and skills, and you will eventually start to land clients. In the meantime, if you are dealing with rejection or other struggles as a freelancer, try some of these suggestions to help bring you out of your mental rut and back on track in your personal and professional life.
When I am feeling like I am struggling with these kinds of issues, I like to do a few things that help bring me back to a good mindset and set a different trajectory for my days. Here are a few options to try out and explore if you are dealing with some mental health struggles recently.
1. Do something that makes you happy
When I need to get out and clear my mind, I love to go camping. There is just something about being in the mountains, surrounded by nature and far from civilization that helps to restore some inner balance in my mind and life. A night under the stars is usually a sure fire way to bring me back to where I need to be and helps to inspire me in a lot of ways with my projects. Camping can be a great way to get out of your normal environment and reconnect with yourself, loved ones, and nature. If you like to camp or hike to help clear your mind and recenter, be sure to practice Leave No Trace guidelines and help keep our wild places special.
2. Take some time to meditate and stretch
When I can’t escape to the mountains for a hard mental-reset, I am mindful to find a quiet space and take a few minutes to breathe and find that inner place that I can connect and check in with myself. It’s amazing what a few minutes of quiet meditation can do for your mindset. One plus to the COVID-19 pandemic is that there has been a large shift in attention towards being mindful and there have been some great apps that have emerged to help out those who are new or like guidance. Be sure to check out Headspace’s app if you are looking for a tool to help you discover the benefits of regular meditation. Stretching also has many health benefits and can help you get the blood flowing.
3. Going for a walk
I am thankful for having some furry friends that need walks throughout the day, as it gives me a chance to step away from work and take a few minutes to recharge. If I am struggling with a build or trying to figure out a unique approach or a solution to a problem I’m working on, sometimes all I need to do is go for a walk with my dog and I can come back with a fresh mind or set of eyes and figure it out. Or perhaps, if I am having a bad day, this is a great opportunity to break away and have some moments to reflect and be grateful for the things that are going my way.
4. Talk to someone
Talking to someone can be very beneficial if you have a good support network of friends and family. They are empathetic and want to see you succeed, so they are a good source of positivity if you are in need of a boost. They can also help you see situations from different perspectives and experiences, so maybe you just need to see things in a different light and these people will help lift you up.
Even if you don’t have a large support network, there are resources for those that want to talk to someone if they need it. There is nothing wrong with going to see a professional or seeking assistance with a therapist. If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health and you don’t have a big support team, please don’t hesitate to seek support through various programs in your area.
Disclaimer: These suggestions are my own, and not that of a medical professional. If you are struggling with any issues, be that of a physical or mental nature, consult a licensed medical professional. This article is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional, and individual results will vary.