Self-employment can seem like a wonderful choice. An idyllic way to work, where there’s no one to tell you what to do, no set times to work, no uniform or office. Just total freedom. There are plenty of ways to do it too. You could work as a freelancer, offering your skills in a flexible way. You could start your own business, either in or out of the house. You could even do a combination of different things, utilising different income streams to make money.
But, while most self-employed workers go into it with these big dreams of how fantastic their lives will be without having to work for the man anymore, the reality is often quite different. Making money for yourself is stressful. There’s no one to help when you are stuck, or to cover your job when you are sick. There’s no holiday pay or sick pay, and no guaranteed source of work. There’s no one to push you or to make sure you do enough work in a day. Everything is on you. So, far from finding self-employment relaxing and fun, many people find that it leads to stress and ill health.
It doesn’t have to be like this, however. Self-employment can be everything that you want it to be. As long as you put your health first and take the time to look after yourself.
If you work from home, doing it in a home office is ideal. It can be tempting to sit and work on the sofa, and sometimes you might have to. But this can hurt your back, wrists, and eyes. If you can’t make the space for an office, at least add a desk and create a workspace using online health and safety DSE training to ensure you are able to work safely and comfortably.
A big problem many people have when they first start working for themselves is weight gain. Without structured breaks, they are free to snack whenever they want. They start picking at cookies and other unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain and energy slumps. Try to avoid snacking as much as you can, but have some healthy options prepared in case you need a quick boost.
Another problem is the lack of activity. Sitting behind a desk all day isn’t just bad for your weight and fitness levels, it’s also bad for your posture, your circulation, your mood and your ability to sleep. Take regular breaks throughout your working day and get up to move. Working out of the house when you can will also keep you moving.
Stick to a Routine
Most self-employed people, and home workers especially, struggle to stop working. They work into the night, they work when they are meant to be with their families and they never take proper time off. Try to stick to a work routine to avoid this. Work set times when possible (flexing up when you need to), and make sure you take at least one full day off every week. Sticking to a routine will make it easier to switch off and relax at the end of the day.