I’ve been successfully freelancing in terms of work and life for the last three years, and while my friends and family, as well as so many people I’ve met, have told me that I am perhaps the luckiest and bravest person to be able to roam free, live and travel where I want, and work at any time, there are definitely some struggles that come with being a digital nomad.
Sure, I don’t go into work every day, and I don’t have to endure the monotony that comes with that, but it’s still possible to have mental health issues in terms of work, regardless of where that may be. Here are my top three reasons that affect my mental health as a digital nomad freelancer:
1. There is always an uncertainty about whether you will get enough work to get through the month, unless you’ve set yourself up with some great long term clients. At the moment, I am completely blessed to have trusted clients, but I have definitely felt the pinch when it comes to finding work and making ends meet.
2. It can also be difficult to set your own schedule when you’re a freelancer. Working at your own pace can be detrimental – almost like trying to get an essay paper in on-time after procrastinating for an entire evening.
3. Another stressor as a freelancer, is working with clients who continuously pay late, or taking on new clients who don’t bother to pay you at all. I’ve also experienced clients who are so unbelievably vague in their needs, that I end up doing far more than I should.
– By contrast however, I have also experienced amazing clients who go above and beyond to make me feel happy within their business, who pay me well and regularly, and who know just how hard it can be to be a freelancer. There is such a difference in my mental state when it comes to dealing with happy, encouraging and helpful clients. In fact, there are several studies that’ve been done to prove just how important work is when it comes to one’s mental health.
Alas, I really do love my work and I love the fact that I am completely free. I’ve been traveling Asia and Europe for the last seven years and the memories, skills and lessons I have learned are completely invaluable. I don’t think I would be the person that I am today without these experiences – they’ve made me a better, braver, and more confident person.
But as the saying goes, “where ever you go, there you’ll be”. And by that I mean, I do struggle. I am continuing to find my happy place in the world, and doing work by trial and error to find the perfect fit for me. But, I would love to find a healthier balance. Have the energy to take on self-compassion when it comes to my anxieties surrounding work, life, love.
It’s weird how I analyze myself. For the longest time I’ve wanted to become a psychologist, in fact I even have a degree in it, but the older I get, the less patience and energy I have for other people and their problems. Perhaps I’m not the one who should be counseling, but rather should be seeking some sort of life coach or professional to give me my motivation? Without sounding privileged, and while I still admit to loving my freelance work and life, I still struggle with forms of anxiety when it comes to the workplace — it’s just a different kind to what the average a 9-5’er may be experiencing.
Basically, what I am trying to say is – and forgive me for my negativity – with freelance life, there too are struggles when it comes to the “work place”, even when your work place is your home. I guess I am seeking a gentle push to appreciate the things around me more, to find great clients who motivate me to be the best.
We are all a work in progress, and I will say that life has been undeniably kind to me. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and gifts I’ve received. Here’s to positive thinking and great mental health as a digital nomad!