Freelancing improved my mental and physical health — here is why

It’s been almost two months since I started my full-time freelance life. Still a newbie, I’m at the same time lost and amazed with all the possibilities freelancing offers.

There are a lot of things I’m learning as they come, and I’m pretty sure this process will continue for a long time. But I’m happy — I’m in no rush. For the first time in my professional life, I feel entirely in control. And this feeling came with a whole bunch of other crazy emotions. Honestly, I had some excellent and some fewer fun days, but in general, I noticed how my habits started to change seamlessly and thank god, most of them are good 😁. After sharing with you the reasons why I decided to go freelancing, here is what changed since I jumped into the freelancing world.

1. Hello, running!

Since an early age, I always did a lot of sports — ballet, volleyball, swimming, capoeira, contemporary dance, pilates, yoga, longboarding, etc. But in the last seven years, I “stuck” to yoga. Amazing and beneficial for your body and mind, yoga offered me much more than a physical movement, it became my safe haven, my emotional shelter.

That was until one morning soon after I quit my job, I put on my sneakers and went running. Yep, my friends were in shock when I told them. Can’t blame them — they know me well and they knew I would physically feel an urge to puke when someone said they love running.

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There was no specific reasoning behind my decision to start running — it sort of just happened. I guess I was stuck with familiar (yoga) and didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone. After only one week of freelancing, my world expanded because I was urged to step outside any boxes I built over the years and to go exactly where I never thought I would go.

The biggest surprise is that I actually like running. It became a part of my waking up routine. Usually, mornings are my most productive, so an early morning run fits perfectly in my working schedule.

2. Hello, courses!

Courses. I love taking courses.🤗

Being a freelancer means you need to learn new stuff regularly. Even though I always tried to keep up to date while I was a full-time employee, it was hard to find the time or energy to do courses after a long day in the office or during the weekend when you want to hang out with your friends.

Now it’s an entirely different story. In the last two months, I did three courses about marketing, and I started a new interesting one on web design (kudos to Webflow academy and their Freelancer’s journey). With these courses, I refresh my knowledge and learn about new tips and tricks that will help me deliver better marketing ideas to my clients.

Added to the “business savvy” lessons, I also started following lessons about watercolor painting (on Udemy). My entire life I’ve been doing creative stuff, from writing, painting, photography, collages — and it feels great to have more time I can dedicate to my artistic hobbies.

I can’t explain how it seems like I have more hours in a day as a freelancer, but the truth is I organize better my time to do things I want. I work different hours each day, and this flexibility is great to fill your time with learning new things, establishing the knowledge you have or to express yourself creatively.

3. Hello, saving money!

Money is a huge insecurity trigger if you just started as a full-time freelancer. I’m getting more aware of my expenses, and until the first invoices start cashing in, I realize how I need to put my wallet on a short leash. That means, spending less on eating out, buying stuff for my cats, or purchasing that unnecessary unicorn toothbrush holder. As an employee, after putting a certain amount from my paycheck to my savings, I still had enough money to indulge in fancy food places or to buy a hand-made piece of jewelry.

Today it’s a little bit different story. Considering I still don’t have a monthly recurring stable income, I learned fast how spending less is not that difficult. I invite friends to our home to make dinner instead of going to a restaurant. 

I cleared my closet, and with it, my perception of what I “need”, cleared out too. 

Most of the things I used to spend money on, I don’t miss if I won’t repurchase them. As a vegan and an environmentally aware person, I already obtained a good sense of sustainable living, but with freelancing it became a hardcore daily mantra.

If you need some inspiration for decluttering your life, I would recommend watching the documentary “Minimalism – a documentary about the important things” by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. These guys reinvented the concept of meaningful living by reducing material stuff and emotional baggage we like to carry around.

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4. Hello, better marriage!

This is very personal, but I want to share it as I think a lot of people make the same mistake.

I’m married for four years, and sometimes it was hard to keep my marriage far away from lousy workday breakouts. Usually, the spouses are the ones who get the “shit” we bring home from work. And when the negative vibe starts to creep in, it will chew the tender pieces of your marriage. A healthy dose of chatting about how was your day over a glass of wine while you prepare dinner is beneficial and vital, but complaining every day about your work can be damaging to your relationship.

I’ve learned it the hard way.

I fell into the trap, and complaining to my husband became an everyday outlet, coming home after work and releasing all the frustration to his dinner plate as an unwanted side dish. He was patient and always listened, but one day, he got angry and told me he is tired of listening to my ranting. And he was utterly right. No one, especially your partner, shouldn’t be your boxing bag — don’t bring any bad mojo into the sacred space that is your home and your family.

Today, thanks to freelancing, I’m way more relaxed and happier, which reflects immensely on my relationship. I have more patience, I’m more confident, and overall, I realized there are so many things I want do to help out my partner. 

When your heart is at the right place, it’s easy to share that “good feel” with others.

5. Hello, intuition!

Yes! Intuition.

Or the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.

It’s something that I’m rediscovering within myself — merely listening to the inner voice or “that gut feeling”. I believe intuition led me to make crucial life decisions, and I used to think I was always open to listening to my inner Virgil to guide me through difficult times. Unfortunately, just like any skill, if you don’t practice it, it goes weak.

The problem was that in the past few years, I didn’t listen to my intuition. There were plenty of moments I didn’t feel at ease or would get a sense something is off, but I ignored my gut feeling.

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Becoming a freelancer means you take a lot of decisions by yourself; basically, you depend on your gut feeling when making a choice. There is no manager, colleague or assistant to ask for advice or opinion. And you can’t avoid mistakes along the way, but it’s essential to develop a better understanding of your intuition and act upon it.

By enabling your intuition to guide you, you will never again question any decision even if it seems unreasonable.

If I feel uncertain about something, I take a 15-minute meditation. This practice helps me not only to find my focus, and quiet my mind but also to tune in with what my intuition wants to tell me.

My freelancing journey just started and it already improved the overall quality of my life. Of course, there are certain things I miss about being an employee, like chatting with colleagues, brainstorming with the team on a new project and after-work drinks. But other than occasional and casual human contact, I don’t miss anything about being an employee.

I don’t like to preach around. I believe everyone has to find a customized recipe for their happiness.

But…

Whatever phase you are currently going through, make sure your job doesn’t stop you from living your best life ever.

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