Freelancing Stress 3.0

Are freelancers more stressed than ever before? Do you feel stress building, building, building…until you feel nearly overwhelmed?

While we freelancers do have some natural stress reduction built into their job (such as no commute, control over hours and projects, not dealing with coworkers, etc., …), there is some evidence that freelancers may be facing more stress than ever before.

If you’re feeling more stressed than ever, you are probably part of this growing trend. You may be facing Freelancing Stress 3.0. Yet, despite the prevalence of stress, we freelancers don’t talk about it nearly enough.

In this post, I’ll explain why you may be feeling more tension now than before. I’ll also gather some resources about handling freelancing stress that you might find helpful.


The Usual Suspects

Some stress has always been a part of freelancing and will likely always be a part of freelancing. Here are some of the usual suspects that cause freelancers to experience stress:

  • Project Deadlines (crunch time)
  • Finances (or lack thereof)
  • Finding Work (also known as the feast or famine cycle)
  • Illness (sometimes caused by stress)

To be honest, many of these stressors exist for non-freelancers too. For example, non-freelancers may face project deadlines, have trouble with their finances, or get sick. Everyone, whether they are freelancing or not, has to deal with some stress in life.

The usual suspects have been stressing us out for a long time and aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

The New Players

In the past year, or so, global factors have emerged that may cause freelancers to experience additional stress that they may not have experienced in the past.

  • The Economy. It’s no secret that the global economy is floundering. The effects of a weakened economy can be felt in the freelance marketplace. I am seeing more and more “freelancers” state that they have been forced to turn to freelancing after losing a traditional job. (I hate to think of someone being “forced” to become a freelancer if they don’t really want that lifestyle for themselves.) A weakened economy also means more freelancers competing for fewer opportunities.
  • The Technology. Technology is changing more rapidly than ever before. Not only are there constantly new software tools a freelancer must learn to use and master, but also new hardware and new platforms as well. In fact, things are changing so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to keep up. Plus, we are constantly being bombarded with information that we can’t use and don’t need and it takes time to filter through everything we are exposed to.
  • The Social Clutter. One of the greatest relational changes that humankind has faced has occurred in the past ten years. I’m talking about social media. Before social media, must adults were lucky if they met two dozen new people in a year. Maybe, if they really worked at it, they could meet three dozen new people in a year’s time. Suddenly, through social media magic, all of us are getting to “know” not dozens, but possibly hundreds of new “friends” each year from all over the world. This sudden access to the multitudes has stretched and strained what friendship really means.

The new players are stressors that have developed as a result of the rapidly changing world freelancers (and everybody) lives in. While these specific stressors may change over time, change is accelerating and you can expect others to take their place.

11 More Resources to Help You Handle Stress

Stress is a huge problem and it seems inevitable, but what can you do about it? I’ve put together 11 helpful resources to provide you with more information. Bookmark these lists and return to them when you are feeling especially stressed. Some of these tips may help you cope.

Here are five posts on stress from Freelance Folder that you might find helpful:

  1. How to Overcome Freelancing Stress
  2. 10 Ways to Zap Freelancing Stress Now
  3. Stress and the Freelance Writer
  4. 7 Freelancer Stress-Busters You Can Use Today
  5. 8 Worries That May Cause You to Miss Out on Your Freelancing Journey

Here are six additional posts about stress from other blogs:

  1. Give Money Away to Relieve Financial Stress from LifeHacker
  2. Technostress – The Freelancers Disease? from Specky Boy
  3. How To Beat The Stress When Working From Home from Dumb Little Man
  4. This Wednesday: 20 very easy tips for lowering your daily stress level. from The Happiness Project blog
  5. 27 Secrets to Avoid Internet Burnout from Men with Pens
  6. About.com Stress Management from About.com’s Stress Management site

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes overcoming stress requires professional help. If your stress levels don’t seem to be manageable no matter what you do, then you may need to seek out the services of a mental health professional.

Your Turn

How do you handle freelancing stress? Do you feel more, or less, stressed than you did a year ago?

Share your answers in the comments.