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4 Ways to Slow Down and Avoid Burnout as a Freelancer (a Guest Post)

Today we have a guest post from one of my 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success students, Mariana Ruiz. Mariana has actually been freelancing off and on for a couple of years and has decided to make 2015 the year that she takes the leap and becomes a full-time freelance writer. Her post is timely for me, if I’m not careful burnout can/will be knocking at my door!

Just slow down.

I could clearly understand what my body was trying to tell me, yet for weeks now I had denied its frequent urges.

Nope. I had goals to meet, deadlines to make, things to do, emails to write. I didn’t have time to slow down.

What proceeded to follow this phase was inevitable burnout. Suddenly the ideas weren’t churning, it was a chore to respond to emails and putting in the effort to market myself was minimal. Maybe I should’ve listened to myself?

Take A Break

If you’ve found yourself in this position before, then the feeling of everything needing to be accomplished at once and the pressure of always needing to be doing more probably haunts you too—especially if you’re new to the freelance world.

You want to absorb as much information as you can, but also be putting in as much time writing as possible. You want to carve time out to master your craft, but shouldn’t you be seeking out client work? I know this feeling of being pulled in too many directions all too well.

It may feel like it’s necessary to be “on” all the time however, taking a break can really do wonders for productivity levels and help you gain perspective on things. You know the saying, “things are clearer in hindsight”, yea, kind of like that.

Once you step away from whatever it is you are working on or worrying about, things become clearer. Your mind can relax for a bit, get a sense of direction and motivation comes sweeping back in.

Of course, taking a break can’t always mean a week spent soaking up the sun on Caribbean shores. Don’t fret because small breaks at home can do wonders too.

Maybe you need just an hour, maybe two days—whatever feels right. Here are four tips to slow down, take a break, and regain the reigns of your productivity.

1. Socialize

Let’s face it, working from home can get a bit lonely at times. Personally, I work better alone, but it’s always good to see a friendly face outside of my working hours.

Spend some time in good company, whether that’s your family or friends. Call them up and have a chat or meet them out for dinner.

Socializing can help take our minds off of things and refresh us. Not to mention those who care about you are usually great at offering a healthy dose of support.

2. Meditate

Meditation tends to scare people off. Many tend to get overwhelmed with the “rights” and “wrongs” of the practice. But for those of us with busy minds this is a highly beneficial remedy.

Meditation is the epitome of slowing down, as you’re relaxed and focusing on just your breath. As with anything, practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if the first few times you feel like nothing is happening. Even sneaking in 10 minutes is worth it.

There’s an abundance of guided meditations online if you feel like you need some assistance. Or searching “guided meditation” on YouTube has always worked well for me. Seriously. Give it a try.

3. Get Active

Go for a run, do some yoga, join a fitness class, or do whatever prefer to get active. Getting your fitness on is a great way to clear your head and of course stay healthy.

In the summer I really enjoy going for a run or walk outside as nature has a way of recharging me. If you happen to live where it’s warm most of the year, I highly recommend getting in some physical activity outdoors. After all, a healthy body makes for a healthy mind.

4. Be Good to Yourself

Most importantly, be good to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over things and try your hardest not to let any self-doubt that may be creeping into your thoughts get the best of you. Even those people that make running their own business seem like a breeze have moments when they’re not quite sure or need to change directions.

It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Try unplugging for a little bit (as in no social media, email or work distraction) and focus on your what your body needs. Take a nap, work on a passion project, find something that brings you joy and focus your attention there for a while.

In Conclusion

Taking breaks can sometimes make us feel guilty, but in reality they help us actually be more productive. I promise you the online world will be there when you get back and your business will not be in shambles if you decide to take the weekend off! It can be tough navigating the ropes as a freelancer, but taking a step back can allow you to move forward with a clear mind.

Are there any techniques you use to slow down and take a break?

Mariana RuizMariana Ruiz has an insatiable curiosity for the world. Through her writing she hopes to inspire others to find beauty in what surrounds them and to live a more heart-led life. Visit her blog or get in touch through Facebook.

Photo Credit: ian boyd via Compfight cc

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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