AU REVOIR L’OBSURITÉ

 Freelancing can have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing – it’s a topic I’ve seen cropping up a lot lately, and one that I’ve been eager to discuss.The rise of social media has meant that more and more people are able to build their own empires, set up that business they always dreamed about, and start being their own boss. I’ve now been working for myself just long enough to have had a true taste of what it all entails. I wanted to write this post because working in fashion/social media is often glamorised by the online world, and not always a true depiction of what goes on behind the edited Instagram photos and the shiny new spring/summer look book…

Freelancing is tough. You’re essentially a small fish in an ever growing pond, and there’s times when it takes a huge strength of character to pick yourself back up and continue believing in yourself and what you have to offer. I scroll through my Twitter feed daily and see various tweets from content creators/small business owners that are suffering in some way – whether that’s the overwhelming pressure of their current workload, or perhaps they are eighty days into an email argument with a company who still hasn’t paid them for their services. Maybe they have been caught comparing themselves to others, or maybe it’s just as simple as the dreaded creative block…

A creative block doesn’t feel so simple when your business is basically built around creativity. It’s the backbone of everything, and creative flare and mental health can affect each other massively. There was a time towards the end of last year where I felt completely out of my depth – I was recovering physically from a minor operation, but I’d forgotten that the impact on my mental health was major. I was overcoming a personal health hurdle, whilst trying to complete deadlines on time, and somehow have a social life/continue being a normal twenty five year old. It was the biggest test of running my own business so far, and in hindsight, I should have allowed myself a couple of weeks off. However, I paid for the operation myself, so I was constantly haunted with the fact that I needed to be earning money to stay afloat…

Looking back now, I feel proud of myself that I got through that time and soldiered on despite my better judgement, but would I advise someone else to do the same? Absolutely not. We seldom take our own advice when it comes to overworking and looking after our mental wellbeing – we all need to take note of that little voice that’s telling us to slow down, to minimise the screen time, to stress a little less over what we can’t control… 

The nature of working for yourself usually means giving up an environment where you’re surrounded by other people. Not always, but usually at first in most cases – many might go from a buzzing office situation to a cluttered kitchen table – it can be a shock to the system until you find a routine that works for you, and you often have to work much harder to maintain a healthy work/social life balance. It’s funny, but I’m so keen to just have a bit of mindless conversation with anyone after a day of working by myself – it’s enough to drive you insane sometimes, and if you’re not someone who’s great at self motivation, it can massively affect your mental health. It’s important to do simple things each day that can make a huge difference long term – getting out in the fresh air for a walk, having time away from social media, and interacting with the real world, not just the online one.

Freelancing is a gamble – sometimes you have to make decisions that are tough, but will hopefully benefit your business in the long run. It can often feel like a game of Jengaadding building blocks one piece at a time, knowing that it could all crash down at any given second. There is no guarantee….

Freelancing will sometimes be eating cereal for tea at 11pm and wondering where the hell the next project is coming from, but it can also be one of the most rewarding journeys of self discovery you’ll ever take…

It sounds offensively cheesy, but I really feel as though I only got to know myself properly once I started working for myself. I learnt quickly that I’m a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for, and although there will always be another time where I mutter ‘I cant do this’ – there always comes a time soon after when I can. To freelancers everywhere, I say never put anything before your own mental health, but believe in yourself and your worth and keep sharing. Being open and honest is the best way to ensure others don’t feel alone, nor get sidetracked by unrealistic standards. To people who want to start the journey of working for themselves, be prepared for ups and downs, but don’t be disheartened. There is magic to be found in being your own boss, but it’s true what they say, nothing worth having ever comes easy…

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana

Sweater c/o – Fan Club Clothing

Jeans – Whistles

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7 Comments

  1. This post perfectly sums up how I often feel. It isn’t easy, and while it has its struggles, it has taught me so much that I wouldn’t have otherwise learnt. I now know how to persevere when I am struggling, and how to balance time. It can be so difficult, but as you said, it can be so rewarding! I have only just started out, but I know this is the career path I want to take. I tried a 9 to 5 job and it wasn’t for me. I understand every job has its downfalls, thats life, but these are the struggles and the stress I am prepared to take.

  2. Totally needed to read this today! A creative block is a nightmare when your job is a creative one – like you say! But SO TRUE that there will always be a day when the creativity comes back and you feel content again xxx

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