Freeing the mind for freelancers during the Coronavirus
“I have plenty on my plate but I can’t concentrate!”
“My work seems to pile up while I remain petrified by the Coronavirus news.”
“The only thing I can follow up is my Twitter feed these days.”
“My mind seems blank. I cannot focus and I feel prone to mistakes.”
With the Covid-19 crisis occupying a great portion of our minds, these are pretty much what we all hear from our peer freelancers nowadays. While taking up a new hobby, playing games, or DIY activities sound appealing, they don’t seem to be the priority when freelancers are run off their feet with a growing to-do list.
If you also find coping with Coronavirus challenging and you are looking for ways to deal with anxiety and improve your motivation for work.
Here are 5 practices that will help you maintain your psychological health and focus better:
#1 Get up and stand up
Try sticking to a daily routine. The bed is comfy and alluring for sure, but avoid working in bed as much as you can. It has a negative effect on your posture, your psychology, and your sleep. Separating the domain of work and sleep is very essential for a healthy day and night routine.
Start your day with a shower if you need to and get dressed. Even if you won’t be going out, putting some makeup, shaving, or puffing a little bit of perfume at home can motivate you. Attend to yourself and your skin. With bearing the recommended hygiene practices against the virus in mind, do wash your hands and keep the most used surfaces at home clean.
However, washing your hands and using alcohol-based sanitizing materials too often can irritate your skin. If you have an existing condition of OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) or any health/contamination anxieties, you are probably already sensitive about your hygiene. In this case, try to stay in the limits of what is advised by the health authorities and don’t go above and beyond your cleaning routine.
#2 Be on the same page with your clients
It is perfectly normal not to be able to perform in your standards during this extraordinary period. If you see a slight downfall, don’t distress yourself. Remember that as a freelancer, you have already mastered the skills of flexibility and you got this. You may have been a morning person earlier, but perhaps at the heart of the Coronavirus crisis, you focus better after the dark. Embrace this change and be open to experimenting.
If you see your to-do list piling up at an unmanageable pace and you can’t meet your deadlines, reach out to your clients. Talk to them about your current state and find out if you can reschedule or temporarily pause some of your tasks. If you feel like you need a break, gently ask for it.
If tracking and managing your payments is an issue, instead of letting it be an issue on top of everything bothering you right now, talk to your clients to work this out. You may be used to the financial obscurity, but you may also realize that it is harder to take in these days with all the other uncertainties Coronavirus brought in. Performance rears up when you feel reassured.
Remember that once you issue your invoice and your payment is received by Ruul, you will promptly be paid in 24 hours.
#3 Restrict the screen time
It is a strain to stay away from your computer when your work is all about the computer. However, if you see no progress in your work, switch yourself off. Don’t linger in front of your laptop and start browsing the news. Take some rest or jump on to something else and come back to your work later.
News about infected cases and the death toll can be demoralizing. Try to choose the right resources and follow the facts instead of speculations. Recommended sources are as following:
Regional WHO website regarding the virus (e.g. WHO Europe Coronavirus page)
Local health authorities (e.g. Ministry of Health)
Limit your news intake
There is a difference between being well-informed and over-informed. To protect your mental health and to use your time wisely, set an upper limit for the number of your news sources as well as the time you spend on them. For example, choose 3 newspapers and 3 blogs to follow for the week ahead. Try not to click on every news piece your friends share on social media.
Set a time frame for Corona related content
Follow the developments in a set time period instead of spontaneously digging for breaking news. An hour at the end of the day would be ideal for this. If you keep coming across intriguing materials that cannot be avoided, motivate yourself to bookmark and read them later. To effectively archive content for reading later, you can try out apps such as Pocket, Evernote, or Onenote.
Kiss your phone goodnight
Put your phone away before bedtime. Allowing your phone in your bedroom may trigger scrolling news to sleep. Instead, you can revisit your bookcase and keep one book of your preference on your nightstand.
If you need an alarm clock to wake up, dive into your nostalgic boxes of belongings for a bedside alarm. If you must keep your phone close for personal reasons, try utilizing it as a sleep assistant with some meditative apps and music that will ease your transition to a night of good sleep.
#4 Spare some time to relax and exercise
Check out what relaxation strategies are out there. Doing yoga, meditating, exercising breathing techniques, or listening to sleep talk down and nature sounds can help you remain calm and soothe your mind. Don’t hold your distance even if you are new to these practices. Give them a try for 15 minutes a day and see what works for you.
Here is some online content broken down according to your needs:
15-minute calming yoga for stress relief and anxiety by Sara Beth Yoga
3 breathing exercises for anxiety by Caren Baginski
15-minute meditation for anxiety by Yoga with Adriene
Guided sleep talk down for anxiety, worry, and depression by Meditation Vacation
2 hours of forest sounds with birds singing by The Silent Watcher
While some find peace by slowing down, some need an energizing and activating practice instead. Short workout routines can drastically improve your sense of wellbeing and your mood. From energizing yoga and pilates sequences to Zumba or cardio workouts, everything is virtually available. No matter what you do, avoid watching the news channel as you workout!
#5 Seek support from your community
It is true that we need to distance ourselves from our loved ones during this delicate time; however, physical distancing does not prevent us from connecting socially. Virtual companionship with friends, extended family members, and fellow freelancers from your business network can help you keep your morale up and fight isolation.
With the blessing of digital technologies, sipping your morning coffee together with friends is still an option. You may have fallen out of touch with some people before the virus outbreak. See if you can think of some acquaintances living abroad. Now is a perfect time to reconnect.
Fear, anxiety, sadness, insecurity, or loneliness. Whatever feelings you may have at this point, remember that you are not alone. All around the world, people from very diverse backgrounds are feeling just the same at the very same moment.
If bringing familiar faces to your home through the screen does not seem to set you at ease, you can give professional psychological assistance a go. Finding a therapist is the last thing you need to worry about since many psychologists have already started offering online sessions.
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