Freelancing

Why Freelancers Should Take a Holiday Every Year

I’ve been quite bad at keeping this blog up to date over the latter end of spring. 2018 has been a tough year in several ways. But now, having just returned from a holiday to the northeast of England, I feel refreshed, recharged and ready to go again. Coming back to a lovely and warm Cornish sunshine on Saturday afternoon certainly helped. As did being able to cross off my bucket list two key tourist sites in the NE.

Nobody is saying you should take that Caribbean Cruise every year, but it is why it’s necessary for freelancers regardless of your field, to take a holiday every year, even if it’s to another part of the country and staying in a cheap holiday caravan. The NHS recently criticised an article in The Daily Mail that wildly over-exaggerated the health benefits, but that doesn’t mean they are not beneficial – this article in Pyschology Today points out many.

Lindisfarne Priory, Northumberland.
Copyright MG Mason 2018

Everyone Must Leave the Office

And when the office is also the place where you eat, sleep and live, it’s even more important. Getting out for a few hours or a day or two during good weather at the weekend (or finding something to do in bad weather) is a good start. But what each of us really need is to completely disconnect from normality. We’re not robots and while we’re at home, those reminders of work are there. It’s vital to get away from everything; only when you do so and come back can you realise how much the stresses of everyday life have got on top of you.

Holidays Enable the Lie-In

Popular belief is that freelancing is a ticket to stay in bed until midday and start thinking about doing some work around 2pm. Just because we can it doesn’t mean that we do. On a normal day I am up at 8am, just after my girlfriend goes to work. I will shower, have breakfast and then switch on the laptop to do non-work stuff. I start work any time between 8:30 and 9am. On those days I have a lie-in, even when I don’t have much to do today, I feel guilty about staying in bed. The lie-in while on holiday removes all that guilt unless you have to be somewhere early (as we did visiting Holy Island last week, needing to be up for the tide times).

It’s Good for Your Health and Productivity

There is good reason why businesses are compelled to provide employees with paid holiday. Just because we freelancers don’t get paid holidays it doesn’t mean we don’t get the exact same benefits. Stresses build up over the course of a year, sapping at our mental state, affecting our sleep pattern, making us irritable and forgetful and increasing the risk of depression and illnesses associated with overwork. From a business’ perspective, these things are bad for productivity. Do yourself a favour, and your clients, and take a proper break.

Travel Broadens the Horizons

It can give you a new perspective on things such as how other people live and make a living (if you’re travelling to another country of culture entirely) or simply make you re-evaluate your approach to work through simply stepping away from it all. I’m conscious of how much of a slower pace of life things are down here in Cornwall compared to up country – especially the southeast. The mistake some people make is to assume that because some places have a slower pace of life, they have no work ethic. We are still deeply rooted in our classical liberal approach to work that if you’re not making yourself ill, you’re lazy. That’s a hard act to break and once we must break for our downtime. We might also say that since 2008, we should all re-evaluate that relationship, but that’s another argument entirely.

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