Sensei Tyra Seldon writes for the Freelancers Union Blog about the importance of “staying connected” to other people. “[F]reelancers may be particularly vulnerable to feeling disconnected and lonely.”  As independent workers, they are also responsible for maintaining their own well-being.
Sensei Seldon gives three key things to do to sustain an independent career:
- Network with others
- Join virtual communities
- Take care of your body
On the third point, she equates well-being with “self-care”, though I view the latter to be mostly cosmetic, while the latter is essential. Exercise, rest, eat right. You know it’s important, and Seldon is correct that your work will suffer if you don’t. Budget time and effort to keep your own physiological and psychological infrastructure in shape.
The second point is, of course, not limited to independent workers. Many, if not most, workers—and basically everybody–are digitally connected in many ways. Independent workers may find valuable connections beyond direct work activities.
However, experience shows that digital communities are not enough. People need other people, face to face. So item number one is “network with others”—in person.
Historically, one of the key reasons contemporary coworking emerged is that independent workers can find a community of like-minded workers. It is a “respite from our isolation”, to quote Zachary Klaas .
This is all good advice, and not just for independent workers.
I thing Sensei Seldon leaves out another critical principle. “Self care” is important, but the road to happiness is caring for others. (Actually, we know Seldon hereself understands this: see here and here)
Anyone with kids or elders or a family in general knows this. Why is work-life balance a problem? Because work is necessary but takes time away from what really matters, and what really matters and makes us happy.
So–when looking for community and self care, I say aim to help take care of each other, not just yourself. And this is certainly something that a coworking community can, and should foster.
- Zachary R. Klaas, Coworking & Connectivity in Berlin. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2014. https://www.academia.edu/11486279/Coworking_Connectivity
- Tyra Seldon, 3 ways to stay connected for emotional and physical well-being, in Freelancers Union Blog. 2019. https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2019/04/23/3-ways-to-maintain-your-emotional-and-physical-well-being/