Working from home as a transcriber, or in fact anyone working for themselves, we don’t have access to colleagues in the workplace to chat with, or the kind of Employee Assistance Programs that you may find in large companies if things go awry in your personal life.
Self-care is a hugely important thing, not only in your work life, but your whole life. As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty bucket.” If you are stressed, driving too hard in your personal and private life, consistently putting too much energy out without making sure that energy is coming back in, you are at risk of poor morale, an unhappy immune system, disturbed sleep, and even possible health issues in the long term.
So what can you do? What does self-care mean? Sonya touches on some aspects of this in our learning modules. People working online are potentially at risk of feelings of isolation and procrastination. Also some aspects of our work can be very distressing. It’s important for our mental health to talk it out, bearing in mind client confidentiality, with a psychologist or partner. But first and foremost, it’s essentially looking after YOU and making sure you take adequate measures to keep your mental and physical well-being in tip-top shape.
When running your own business, it’s all too easy to get caught up in getting the work done, doing your business admin tasks, chasing up a new client, invoicing, not to mention that most of us then have to shop, do the washing, cook–it all makes for a busy, tired person who is frantically trying to do everything, and therefore getting stressed and overtired. Taking the time to take regular breaks can make a huge difference and maybe getting a few of the “other” jobs done during the day, will mean less to do after work. So, go walk the dog, hang the washing out in the sunshine, you can, you work from home! Do ten minutes of weeding, or relax with a cup of tea and just let your mind wander and meditate for ten minutes, time it if necessary. Can you tie in a walk to the shops (exercise) with grabbing groceries for later (chore done, tick)? A short break will mean you return to your desk with a fresh mind, rosy cheeks and your body will thank you.
Another incredibly important thing is not to take on too much work. It’s very tempting, especially when getting started, to say yes to everything and then become overwhelmed. Also, don’t accept work that does not pay for your level of expertise. Again, it is very tempting at the beginning to accept any pay rate, but the chances are that that will impact on your feeling of self-worth. Also if someone you are working for is regularly sending poor quality audio, changing deadlines, doesn’t reply in a timely way to any queries you may have and does not respect the work that you do or see your worth, you should start to look elsewhere for other work to replace that income.
There are also some specific exercises that you can do to care for yourself as a transcriber. Sonya has two videos on our YouTube channel, one for easy chair exercises and one for tennis elbow you can check out, and we will be adding more videos with knee, hand, and core exercises in our Advanced Module, and beyond. I personally find hand massage to be really helpful and I have invested in a wax bath to use if my hands are really tired, it’s wonderful, especially in winter.
So as Frederic Laloux says:
“We are all of fundamental equal worth. At the same time, our community will be richest if we let all members contribute in their distinctive way, appreciating the differences in roles, education, backgrounds, interests, skills, characters, points of view, and so on.”
Working for yourself you have more opportunity to set the rules and create the work environment you choose to work in and the people you work for. So get started on your self-care right now, you’re worth it!
(Put a Little Love In Your Heart, written by Jackie DeShannon and Randy Myers)
Want to explore some self care options? Check out the following to get you started:
- Gentle Breath Meditation
- Smiling Mind App
- Mindful Walking Practice