As a contractor, you are constantly on the move. In amongst deadlines and projects, looking after your mental health can often take a back seat. Today is a day where people around the world are acknowledging mental health and well- being to create awareness, so we thought it was a good time to check in with you and see if you are ok?

Here are some tips that can help you manage the challenges associated with contract work that may affect your health and well-being.

1 – Managing the irregularity of contract work

While contract work comes with great flexibility and an exciting pace of change, the irregularity of the work can also be source of stress. Particularly, when you’ve got financial and family obligations to look after. It’s difficult to have the balance, giving each contract your very best and prepare at any time to start looking for new opportunities.

Here are some tips to help manage this:

2 – Coping with long hours and strict deadlines

Although being a contractor gives you more flexibility and control over your hours, leaving work ‘on time’ isn’t always possible. Busy periods, tight deadlines or team expectations can lead you to feel the need to go beyond standard hours. This can start to impact your health and throw any concept of work-life balance out the window.

How do you stay afloat when you feel like you’re drowning in work?

3 – Taking time out

The question of taking leave is a common struggle when it comes to short-term work, as many contractors feel as though they are not in a position to ask for a break. Plus, if you’re paid by the hour it’s difficult to make the decision to take unpaid leave.

According to Beyond Blue, one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.

Taking regular breaks is essential for your mental wellbeing. Here are some tips for managing time away from your screen:

4 – Setting healthy boundaries

As a contractor, it’s natural to want to go above-and-beyond your employer’s expectations, particularly if you are hoping to pick up additional work within the organisation.

It’s not always easy to say no, especially when you are relatively new to a company and there are big expectations for what you can deliver.  However, you have a right to set work limits when the demand exceeds your capacity for what you can take on and deliver. But how can you do this without limiting your opportunities?

5 – Finding support

Most companies now have contractors as a major part of their overall workforce, and this trend will only continue to increase. It is currently estimated that 30% of Australian employees are contingent workers. Even though contracting is becoming more common, there is still a huge gap between the benefits offered to contract and permanent workers. Whether it be social activities, wellness programs, skills development schemes or general support, it can often feel like you’re missing out as a contract employee.

How can you gain access to support and development schemes?