Research has found that independent workers experience significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression in January compared to other months. This increased vulnerability is attributed to several factors unique to the freelance lifestyle.
Blue Monday is often observed on the third Monday in January. In 2024, it falls on January 15th. While the “January Blues” can affect anyone, studies from Upwork, the Journal of Behavioral Economics & Finance and the Journal of Applied Psychology all suggest in some way that freelancers might be particularly susceptible. Why does this happen and what can freelancers do about it?
Firstly, the post-holiday financial dip can be particularly pronounced for freelancers who rely on project-based income. Studies highlight the stress of finding new clients and securing regular work after the holiday season when many businesses slow down. Secondly, the lack of a structured work environment and social isolation often associated with freelancing can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and demotivation in January, a time traditionally linked with self-reflection and potential existential anxieties.
So, how can freelancers combat the January Blues and cultivate a more positive mindset? Research suggests several strategies:
- Proactive budgeting and financial planning: Anticipate the January income slump and build financial buffers during busier months. But even if you are catching up in January, acknowledge that you are doing something about it and that in itself is a great step forward.
- Setting realistic goals and expectations: Break down large projects into smaller, achievable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. This is true in most things in life from work, personal problems and domestic chores!
- Prioritising self-care with others: Regular exercise, socialising with other freelancers, and engaging in hobbies can bolster mental well-being. Don’t just think about it. Do something about it this week! Send out that message out on social media; contact your local business community and support groups or post something on The Freelance Informer LinkedIn , Twitter or Instagram pages!
- Building a strong support network: Connecting with fellow freelancers online or in person can provide a sense of community and belonging. It could also help land another client.
- Investing in professional development: Learning new skills can boost confidence and open up new work opportunities.
By proactively managing finances, setting clear goals, and nurturing their mental and emotional well-being, freelancers can navigate the January Blues and enter the new year with renewed optimism and energy. Remember, even solo work doesn’t mean solo struggles – building a support network and investing in yourself can make all the difference in maintaining a positive outlook and thriving in the dynamic world of freelancing.
This quiz will help you assess your risk of experiencing the January blues, those post-holiday feelings of sadness, fatigue, and lack of motivation.