Freelancing is a diverse, exciting world. But what impact does it have on psychological well-being, and is it a better option for those with mental health problems? If you are trying to weight it up – here are a few factors to consider:
Benefitting from flexible working hours:
One of the major perks of freelancing is that you can set your own hours. This allows you to attend doctors’ appointments and take a mental health day from work if needed.
It also allows you to work fewer hours until you feel better.
On the other hand, it requires discipline. It can be hard to summon the motivation to sit down and get on with a task. This is a way that an office job can help you stay productive, which in turn will boost your self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Having finances to cope with job insecurity:
You can’t deny the fact that a freelancers’ income is irregular. Clients can hire and fire you at will, while a traditional office job offers greater job security, which is better for your mental health. If your financial situation is shaky, the stress that comes with finding enough work each month can be considerable.
The need for communication:
Social interaction is important to maintain a good mental state. On the other hand, many people find office environments to be quite stressful places.
If you choose to work for yourself, be sure to cultivate and keep a social life. You could also rent shared workspaces with other freelancers and join business networks to exchange support and ideas.
Being comfortable with marketing and networking:
It’s common for freelancers to work online, but you will still need to market yourself via social media, and have some difficult conversations about pricing, projects, and deadlines.
Ask yourself whether you have these skills. If this makes you feel stressed out and it isn’t a barrier you want to overcome, freelancing may not be the best option for you.
Benefitting from employee assistance program (EAP):
As a freelancer, you’d likely need to pay for your own health insurance, but if you can find a traditional job with good benefits this may be a better option for you. So if you have a choice, consider choosing a company based on the support they offer employees.
Drawing boundaries and “switching off” outside of working hours:
Worrying about projects can lead to heightened levels of stress, which may worsen mental health conditions. Office time is more structured and it can be easier to leave your work at the door when you leave. This should definitely be a consideration when you are deciding between freelance and office.
So, is it better to be a freelancer or office worker?
“The right answer for you will depend on your personality, circumstances, and mental health status” – mentions Mary, a freelance translator of The Word Point. If you still aren’t sure, be open-minded and try a few different arrangements.
Be prepared to experiment to find what works for you. Whatever you do, always put your mental health first and seek support if you start to feel overwhelmed.
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