Vacation and the Freelancer

I’ve spent the past two weeks at my folks’ house, and it’s been super relaxing, despite the fact that I worked most of the time. I get more done at my parents’ place, in part because of all the appliances: at home, I have to wash dishes by hand, take clothes to the laundromat*, order food from our local delivery service or haul bags up the four flights of stairs myself. In the suburbs, all you have to do is get into your car, throw the laundry in your washing machine, put the dishes in the dishwasher.

Even so, the big thing that my semi-vacation made me realize is how much I need a real vacation. I’ve been pretty bad about that since I went freelance. Last year, I took two weeks off, but I still worked two days during the break. I have freelancer friends who haven’t taken more than a few days off in years. One of my friends hasn’t had more than a long weekend since she started freelancing eight years ago.

This makes perfect sense, because trying to take real time off when you’re a freelancer is a pain in the ass. It literally costs you money, and many clients don’t expect you to take vacation, so they get irritated if you’re not available. The emotional stress of managing expectations and finances can make it seem like taking time off isn’t worth it.

That’s not true, of course. We all need time off. This time of year, every other article in your news feed is probably about how taking vacation improves your health, attitude, and productivity. We need vacations.

I’m starting by trying to really take my weekends off, and I’m going to try to take at least a week later in the summer. Maybe it’ll help with my ongoing quest to have a lower stress life.

* Note: I never do this. If Adam didn’t do the laundry, I would regularly be arrested for nudity.


Image: ReneS/Flickr

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

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