We’ve all had those days when just getting to the end feels heroic. Freelancers regularly face rejection, interact with toxic clients and experience income irregularity. Throw on top of that imposter syndrome, working from home without any real human interaction, and not having the supports of the traditional workplace, and you have a recipe for feelings of worry, doubt, and sadness.
If you’re feeling mired in the day-to-day, you’re not alone. Mental health struggles affect all of us, and thankfully, there are resources to lend support and offer connection. (Even ones designed specifically for freelancers!)
Mental wellness is possible
Cultivating a healthy mental state helps you live in full, productive mode as a freelancer. Without it, it’s hard to maintain creativity, focus, and a positive mindset—or even produce your best work. Devoting time to your well-being isn’t a luxury; it’s smart business. To get started, check out some of our favorite mental health resources:
Future Health offers access to unlimited virtual therapy sessions for a $35 flat monthly membership fee (no insurance needed). Members can choose from a network of licensed therapists and talk to someone without worrying about copays, deductibles, or exceeding a set number of sessions. In addition, monthly membership includes unlimited virtual doctor visits and free generic prescriptions. Readers of The Freelance Creative can sign up here for the $35 partner rate.
Leapers is a free and inclusive community for freelancers and the self-employed. Its mission is to support mental health through an 8,000-strong, peer-support community for conversation and connection. The organization boasts a virtual freelancer lounge and local channel connections. The space is designed for its members to share their feelings, ask for advice, and feel a little more connected.
Freelancer Union’s SPARK
SPARK is Freelancer Union’s monthly member meetup for freelancers to unite, learn, and cultivate a local community. SPARK meets online and at various locations throughout the country. With SPARK meetings, you can workshop your business, hear an expert panel of speakers discuss common freelancer pain points, and build a comradeship with the freelance community.
If you want to opt in to learning more about SPARK and signing up to engage in events in your city? You can complete an interest form.
Interacting with others is therapeutic; it allows you to commiserate with like-minded people, feel a sense of belonging, seek advice, share experiences, learn more about the industry, and even reduce feelings of isolation.
Platforms like Facebook groups, Reddit communities, and dedicated forums are great places to connect with other freelancers and build your network. Go to meetup.com, type “freelance” or “freelance writers” in the search bar, and set your location.
While not freelancer-specific, mental health hotlines are available to all. They serve as a good starting point for getting help, as operators have a wealth of knowledge and provide support to those affected by mental illness. Hotline calls are confidential and private, which can ease the discomfort of making the call in the first place. The NAMI HelpLine, in particular, can help you answer questions, offer support, and provide practical next steps.
Reach the NAMI HelpLine Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (EST) by calling 1-800-950-6264, texting “HelpLine” to 62640, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leverage mental health resources
Freelancing can be a demanding career, and giving your mental health attention and care is critical. By utilizing the resources mentioned above, you can nurture your well-being, build resilience in the face of challenges, and even discover new opportunities. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Reach out for support, implement self-care practices, and continue investing in your personal and professional growth.
What we’ve called out are just some things you can do to help manage your mental load. You can also level set with regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and periodic time off. Engaging in hobbies and activities unrelated to work can also provide much-needed mental refreshment. Head to our self-wellness section on The Freelancer for more guidance.