The more the better, right? Especially when it comes to our income. But there is no free money and we end up pushing ourselves beyond a healthy limit to achieve financial goals. Those of us who do it sitting in a cubicle at the vast corporations suffer the dangers of health hazards like insomnia, stress, cholesterol and heart diseases.
But there are millions of freelancers and platform workers who have to undergo a stressed work process without even the protection of an indoor office. Health hazards increase by 2 times in their circumstances with the risk of accidents on the road.
Why is self care important in gig work?
'Independent contractors' are expected to make the most out of their independence and freedom to work in terms of working hours and platforms. This has led to the rise in the number of online platforms offering freelance or part-time opportunities to independent workers. The gig economy in Australia is booming with inflow of capital thereby creating constant vacancies for people who are looking for a side hustle for financial support. But the question is not about the source of employment, which is quite open, but the conditions of employment.
Since there is no fixed employment status as a full-time employee, no automatic workspace insurance would cover for your safety, health, unemployment or any other liability. These risks constantly provoke a sense of emergency, insecurity and rush in gig workers. But worrying is the last thing we would want you to do. So get on board with us on a journey of self care or at least how to start it when you are always on the go!
1. Don't drink lots of water/juice all at once, drink in regular intervals and small gulps
Of course you have been told by your family, friends, other delivery or rideshare drivers and even the government that staying hydrated is the key to balancing your health. Especially now that the tiring hot summer is just a couple of months away, you should be aware of the causes and consequences of fatigue or heat stroke.
Fatigue is caused by the lack of usable oxygen in your body. Drinking water gradually in little gulps will ensure that there is a regular supply of oxygen. Emptying a bottle before you set out increases chances of a heat stroke because your body will cool down too much and the heat outside will make it collapse.
2. Take little breaks in between delivery or rideshare trips
Besides food breaks, take little 5 minute breaks to park under a shade and breathe deeply. You can do it while in your vehicle or step away for a breather. This helps relax your lungs and muscles which stand the risk of being sore from being in the same position or short breathing cycle for a long time.
3. Know about the 'burnout culture'
It isn't rocket science, trust us! Burnout culture is the system of overworking that we normalize to earn more and earn fast. Knowing when you are 'burnt out' will help you set your income goals according to your physical habits - amount of sleep required, food habits and even the amount of concentration you put in other work like studying or practicing music!
Accept that you have no energy left for the day and plan the next day accordingly, remember that you should at least allow yourself some time before you go to sleep or take some time off for resting. This should be your 'buffer zone' to help your body and mind settle in after a long day of work. So plan your day to spend 90% of your energy at work, save 10% to settle in and then start afresh the next day!
4. Don't use strong smelling air fresheners or caffeine to keep yourself up
You might think these 'boost' your energy but it's rather the opposite. Strong smelling scents like jasmine or vanilla are definitely not for your car because it is a congested interior and they do not help calm your mind if you are thinking of driving trips at night. It feels like they are helping you stay awake because they excite your nerves and increase sensation which can even distract your sight and cause rash driving!
Don't drink coffee before starting a night shift because it triggers imbalances in your mood and muscle reflex. There is an increased chance of hallucinating if caffeine is overdosed. If you have a habit of drinking too much coffee at least try to balance the amount by drinking water in between.
Is self care effective?
The daily life of contract workers is immensely unpredictable. It is not realistic to advise habits that take up extra time from their schedule but it is still important to maintain a healthy routine to ensure longevity in this competitive industry and not collapse under the pressure of financial insecurity, stress of working alone and facing hundreds of customers every day.
These were some self care tips that can help you get through the day. Remember to not force yourself and limit the sense of emergency. Self care is sometimes self restraining where you have to hold back from wanting more than you can provide. You can only take care of customers if you are taking care of yourself first.
Self care is not about an all-for-one decided routine. It is advisable that you should be able to freely choose the best cycle of resting and working. Please take the time to rewind and breathe, best before you set on for the grind again, let your habits decide for your work and not the other way around.