Working from home is cool. What's not to love about choosing your clients and deciding the working hours? But the isolated feeling of working solo can lead to severe mental health issues. It's a real struggle to keep your spirits up when you don't have others to give you a high-five or a pat on the back.
That's why all self-employed people should be a part of freelancer communities. A supportive community is more than just a hub for like-minded people; it's crucial for your career growth and mental sanity. With technology at our fingertips, staying connected with a freelancer network is easier than ever. In this lesson, we’ll dive into the high-impact benefits of joining a freelance community, and show you the best places to find them!
Community and mental health: How are they connected?
The freelancing community and mental health are closely connected in several ways. According to research, 60% of freelancers believe their mental health has hampered their work capacity.
Let's see how the lack of a supportive community affects your mental health:
Isolation and loneliness
Most freelancers work alone, which can sometimes leave them feeling down in the dumps. Loneliness and depression are no joke; they can take a real toll on your mental health. After all, we humans are social creatures, and connections with others are essential for our overall well-being.
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Some cultures and communities stigmatize mental health issues. It's already a struggle when a person works differently than others. The taboo around mental problems makes it further challenging for these people to open up and seek help. It can be scary to talk about your issues when you're afraid of being judged or discriminated against.
Freelancers work from home, which can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. This can put much pressure on your mental health, leading to overworking, stress, and burnout. It's essential to find ways to disconnect and unwind to avoid feeling the mental load of always being "on."
No employee benefits
Traditional employees get some benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, and a retirement account that freelancers don't. This difference can be a significant source of stress and anxiety, especially when managing your finances and planning for the future.
Financial uncertainty is a common woe that independent workers face, especially when work is inconsistent, or clients are hard to find. The stress and anxiety that come with it can be tough on your mental health.
Pressure to perform constantly
The search for new clients and projects can feel like a never-ending hustle. With bills to pay and income to maintain, the pressure to perform and meet deadlines can quickly become overwhelming. This can lead to mental strain and exhaustion, making it hard to stay motivated and focused on work.
Benefits of a freelance community for your mental health
Working as a freelancer has its ups and downs. When you are your own boss, you can set your schedule and work from wherever you like. On the other hand, anxiety, stress, and loneliness can creep in and take a toll on your mental health. Luckily, joining a community can help you overcome these challenges.
Here's a rundown of the benefits of joining a freelance community for your mental health.
Offers a support network
The lack of in-person interaction when working can make you feel like you are living in a vacuum. However, joining a community can provide a sense of belonging to a support group.
You can connect with people who have gone through the same struggles as you. It's like finding your little tribe! These connections can offer valuable insights, guidance, and encouragement to help you through tough times.
Collaboration, networking, and learning
The freelancing community also brings opportunities to collaborate, network, and learn. Most days, you work alone in a bubble of your ideas and tasks. But when you join a freelancing community, you can break out of this bubble and meet new people.
This can open many doors to potential projects, clients, and business partnerships. Plus, you can learn new skills and strategies by listening to and discussing ideas with peers.
Provides a safe space
The beauty of a freelancing community is that it's a safe space for people to voice their concerns and struggles without fear of judgment. A lot of open dialogue can happen, providing relief to those who feel stressed out and isolated in their work.
Having a place where freelancers can talk about their mental health, struggles with finding clients, and the ups and downs of freelancing are priceless.
Provides Positive Reinforcement
New freelancers often experience a lack of confidence and self-esteem. It can be nerve-wracking to face all the unknowns, not to mention the sheer amount of work you have to tackle can feel overwhelming at times. As a result, anxiety and fear can sneak up to make the process even more challenging. But becoming a community member can help you overcome these initial stressful days.
Working from home alone can make you feel disconnected from the rest of the world. And sometimes it's hard to get motivated when you're all alone with your computer.
Joining a freelance community can make a huge difference, though. You can work with others towards shared goals and support each other along the way. It's all about building a sense of accomplishment as a team, which can be a major game-changer when you're feeling isolated.
Boosts your creativity
If you feel like your creativity is running on fumes, it might be time to tap into the power of community. When you join forces with other freelancers, you'll be amazed at how your ideas can start to flow.
The thing is, when you work solo, it's easy to get stuck in your head. But when you have a team of people to bounce ideas off of, you can feed off each other's energy and come up with some seriously innovative solutions to your problems.
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Where to find a freelance community for your mental health
Joining a freelance online community will connect you with other freelancers who get what you're going through. You can share your experiences, get advice, and feel less alone in your struggles.
And when it comes to mental health, having a supportive community is highly important. That's why we want to share some of the best platforms to find freelance communities:
It's the largest professional networking platform and an excellent resource for freelancers of all levels.
The platform allows you to search for jobs, connect with peers, and join relevant groups to discuss topics related to freelancing. Many freelance-specific discussion topics are also available for you to participate in.
Facebook is the epitome of a social media platform, making connecting with peers and finding freelance jobs a breeze.
You can join many freelance-specific Facebook groups to find new opportunities, ask questions, and get helpful advice from the members.
Slack channels are private chat groups you can join on an invitation-only basis. These are virtual meeting places for people with similar interests, allowing them to share resources and build relationships.
There are numerous Slack channels, such as Online Geniuses, Remotely One, and WorkFromAnywhere. Many freelancers have had great success finding work and networking with other members in these online communities.
It's a nonprofit organization that supports independent workers and advocates for policies that benefit freelancers. They provide their members with a wide range of resources and benefits, including educational webinars, in-person events, health insurance, retirement savings plans, and more.
Through events and online forums, the Freelancers Union provides a space for freelancers to connect, share resources, and support each other. The good news is the organization's membership is entirely free.
The Mighty is a digital health community that allows you to connect with people suffering the same struggles. While the platform is not exclusively for freelancers, it can be an excellent resource for independent workers struggling with health issues or looking for support and inspiration.
Freelancers often work alone and may not have the same facilities in a traditional office setting. However, The Mighty's 24/7 live-moderated app will provide a space for open and honest conversations about mental health and other health conditions.
Maintaining mental well-being can be difficult for freelancers, but it’s not impossible. A supportive and engaged community can be instrumental in keeping it together. And let's not forget the importance of having a network of people who truly get you. When you're part of a larger community, you'll have a sense of openness and understanding that can be hard to come by otherwise. You can share your worries and fears without fear of judgment, which is crucial to maintaining good mental health.
So, if you want to use a little extra support, don't hesitate to join a freelancer community. And what better place to start than right here with Indy? Indy’s freelance network lets you connect and collaborate with freelancers just like you. Check out Indy’s network and tool suite for managing your entire independent business, and get started today!