Dealing With Anxiety As A Freelancer

Almost two weeks ago, I received an exciting email from Upwork.


I remember getting back from grocery shopping, checking my email, and screaming when I got the email with links to the post they published on their social media platforms. Me, small me who joined Upwork last year at the peak of my depression, got a feature that was only possible for top-rated freelancers? Oh, I am a top-rated freelancer on Upwork, by the way.


I’ve gotten a lot of overwhelming dms from people asking, “so, how do I become a freelancer? What is freelancing? How can I start making money? How can I get on Upwork? Why am I not getting jobs on Upwork?” While these questions are cute and these engaging dms make a lot of sense, I don’t have an answer to them.


Many people don’t get that freelancers have lives too. I mean, you work from home all the time, so what could you possibly be doing? Why don’t you reply to texts and messages immediately after they come? Why don’t you want to help me with my personal growth? Why don’t you want to help me with my freelancing? It’s not like you leave the house to get work done. You know, the funny thing is the answers to most of these questions are on the internet, but it’s pretty tricky for most people to do their research. I had someone on Facebook ask me what freelancing is. You can use Facebook, while not Google. Some questions are challenging, but some questions are just not acceptable. If you are a freelancer, full-time or part-time, I’m sure these accusations have crawled their way into your life in one way or the other. Making you feel bad that you are not doing enough for everybody.  


The real question is, do you have to? It might seem like you are available because you call the shots with your time as a freelancer doesn’t mean that you are. If you are a freelancer in a country like Nigeria, it’s hard. These past few days, we’ve been dealing with a lot. The fear that our source of income might be threatened with the Twitter ban. I even have a project that is supposed to involve Twitter, which is hanging because of the ban. On top of that, I have to deal with being overwhelmed with messages here and there, trying to be sane, trying to do with I can to keep a full-time job going, trying to meet my freelancing deadlines, and trying to go above and beyond for the people.

I’m writing this to show you how I deal with anxiety as a freelancer and how you can. Kindly note that this is a tricky subject. Sometimes, the methods work; sometimes, they don’t. That’s why I’m sharing all the strategies that work for me.


Meditation is not that big in Nigeria for reasons best known to us, but it has helped calm me down when I’m on edge. I have a couple of apps that help me stay sane in troubling times. Here is where we say thank God for technology. The Meditation+ app has come in handy for me when I’m dealing with anxiety. You can also get the Wysa and the 21 days app. Calm also comes highly recommended. If you’ve tried everything you know when dealing with anxiety, why not try mine now?



I don’t know why I’m writing this here because this seems like the significant source of my anxiety. I am a crazy planner. I have long and short-term goals, and I also have a book where I write my plans for the day. Please don’t blame me. I figured that whenever I don’t write it down, I don’t get productive. Planning might help you. If you are anxious when things are not going to go and you are a strict planner, maybe be flexible this time. Instead of writing a list of the many things you intend to achieve, how about the top 3 things you’d like to accomplish every day. That way, you will feel more productive and less overwhelmed. Lack of planning is a problem most freelancers face.

Plan, but be flexible.


Take only jobs you can do

If you’ve been on my Instagram long enough, you’d remember that I have talked about this. One thing that makes freelancers anxious and overwhelmed is taking on jobs they cannot do. Honestly, if you cannot do the job, leave it alone. Another job will come. The problem is taking a job you know you cannot do, and when the deadline is approaching, you become worried because you have to submit quality work as you see what mediocre can do for your brand. 

Please, don’t do it. Even if you have a friend that is good at the project, if you clearly cannot do it, don’t take the job and rely on your friend to help you do it. People, have lives you know? Except you talk to the friend and he/she agrees.


Talk to someone

Someone can be a friend, family member, or even a therapist. Yes, anxiety is a serious issue, more severe than you think, and it’s not something to joke around with. The closest people in my circle have come through. They’ve listened to me break down and talk about how I feel and my anxiety too. 


Stay away from the news. 

This is specially tailored to my friends in Nigeria. There is no day you check the news that something terrible is not happening. It’s either bandits, kidnappers, or a group of grown adults stifling the economy with one disastrous policy to massage their fragile egos. This kind of news circle is terrible for your mental health, and if you struggle with anxiety, you might want to filter what you consume. Find comfortable spaces, watch skits, watch movies, do anything that sparks joy in your life.


Get some sleep

You know all those who brag about working 18 hours a day, those who tell you that sleep is for the lazy and all that bs, avoid them. Get some rest, darling. Freelancing is challenging; it is. The number of rejections alone can make you question your skills. You’d ask yourself if you are good at what you can do because if you are, why is no one responding to your proposal? Honestly, your feelings are valid, but you’d only have time to strategize when you get enough. These days, I’ve been trying to go to bed by midnight, and it makes me agile and excited to strategize and get productive the next day.



No, you don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to, and the workout must not be strenuous. No, go dey do pass yourself. I only skip and take long walks. Another workout is not something I’m interested in. Find what works for you and enjoy doing it.


Do nothing

Freelancers are hardworking people, and it can be tricky to tell them to do nothing, but on some days, having nothing except taking a shower on your list. Do nothing related to work. I was watching Cathrin Manning’s IG stories where she talked about working 4-6 hours per day and doing nothing on some days. Take it slow; the world won’t stop because you’ve decided to rest or take relax.



When you feel anxious, remember Philippians 4 vs 6-8 says you shouldn’t be anxious for anything. If you are a praying person, you should say a word of prayer when you are stressed about everything.


To sum up, do whatever you can to make sure you are better and don’t ever feel guilty to do what you can do to help someone. You don’t have to go above and beyond all the time except for a client. Remember, it’s okay to be anxious, but not when it’s affecting your mental health negatively.


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