I have been freelancing for three years now, and one of the biggest aspects that I have completely put aside was my health. Beforehand, I was working full time at CVS, either working a register and running around doing projects near the front of the store, or working full shifts of putting up stock from trucks. In short, I was moving around a lot and not so much sitting in one spot for hours and hours at a time. As a result, I have really let my health get away from me, and this week was a big reality check.
The nature of this business is generally quick turnaround times and inconsistent work. Sometimes, there is not a lot booked. Other times, I am working 16+ hour days for a week straight. Last week, was one of those weeks. I recall working a full day, just to go to sleep at 9. Back up at midnight, and working straight until 8am to meet a morning deadline. I tend to go the extra mile for my clients and meet every deadline possible, but I don't factor in my own health at times. Throw in some quick fast food, and you can assume the rest. That following night was not a solid one but I had to wake up the next morning to tackle the next set of projects and revisions.
I think I just wrote this off as 'one bad week' and I'll get over it, but the continued strain of my wrist from working all weekend came full force and this is where I really thought about this. My wrist has been a bit sore the past few weeks, but I didn't think anything of it. Recently though, this pain began to spread up into my thumb and all the way back into my elbow. My only assumption is that this is caused by the continued use of my computer for way longer than I should, but we'll find out when my doctors appointment comes around in a couple months. This really hit me hard though. I need to find the balance between meeting all my client's needs, but giving myself plenty of time to recharge, eat real meals, and exercise.
Freelancing is one of the best decisions I could have ever made, but it comes with it's own set of difficulties. If I am going to do this for the long haul, which I plan on doing, I need to reevaluate my current situation. I have to uphold my health so that I can make this career last and take care of my family.