There are many positives to working as a contractor, with more flexible work patterns, better financial rewards and a greater variety of roles just a few of them.

But just like any form of work, it can be stressful at times too. Working in new environments with different people or being away from family can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness for some. 

Recent studies show that 60% of people have experienced a mental health issue, where work was a contributing factor. 

Often with no immediate access to teammates, line managers or HR to fall back on when times get tough, it can be sometimes be difficult for contractors, freelancers or consultants to know where to turn for support.

Mental health tips

As part of our charity partnership with the Samaritans, we’ve drawn up a list of seven mental health and wellbeing tips, which we’re publishing to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.

The week, which runs, from 13-19 May, aims to inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all, whilst also helping to build more awareness of what to look for when it comes to mental health issues.

It’s not something you may have even thought about, but it’s worth checking out our top tips below – which have been drawn up with the support of the Samaritans – to see if there are just a few small changes you can do to improve your own mental health and wellbeing.

They are:

  1. Instead of emailing another person in your office, get up and talk to them or schedule a meeting. If that proves difficult because colleagues are in a different location, try a phone call, Skype or FaceTime meeting instead to boost your social interaction. 
  2. Make sure you have a proper lunchtime, take breaks regularly and have a routine for stopping work at the end of the day. It’s easy to let these things slide when you’re trying to impress at work but it’s important to try and maintain a good work-life balance. 
  3. Don’t say yes straight away to new work. Take some time to think it through and figure out if you can realistically fit it in to your current work and life schedule.
  4. If your contract means you’re working at the clients’ office, and you find that you’re spending a little longer than you should be at your desk, make sure you leave on time at least two nights a week by arranging to meet a friend – or if you have children, by taking the kids to a class. Put it in your work diary so you stick to it.
  5. If you’re working in an office environment, remember that your inbox will always be full. So, don’t try and clear everything in a day. And when possible, don’t answer emails as soon as they pop up.
  6. Keep track of your strengths and accomplishments. Set up a folder where you save positive emails from employers, colleagues and clients.
  7. Avoid constantly checking your emails. Turn off alerts and check them every few hours so you can get on with your work. Email is not an objective or an outcome!

Need a helping hand?

If you're struggling to cope, the Samaritans are there to help. For more information and to talk to someone who understands, contact them directly on 116 123.