How I took a proper summer break as a freelancer
Today is my first day ‘’back at work’’ after an entire month off. As a friend reminded me earlier, being able to do this ‘is kinda the whole point of being freelance!’ and yet this is the first summer that I feel I’ve planned and carried out a proper break (and I’ve been working for myself since 2013).
During this month I did no paid or voluntary work, no admin around my business, and even tried not to talk about my work too much! I had two gorgeous, relaxing trips to Europe (one for my Mum’s 70th and one for a friend’s 40th) where I swam, walked, sunbathed and ate good food. I felt my nervous system restore to normal for the first time in years. I chatted and was idle. I read. I wrote. I had fun making a lip sync music video. I sat around a fire pit with my extended family and sang songs. I played jazz with my friend’s parents in a French mill under a meteor shower.
This is the sort of summer I’ve wanted for ages but have never had. I’ve always been slightly plugged into a work project, had just one coaching call to do, one ukulele workshop to deliver, one more festival to run something at… I’ve often arrived at September needing a break already 😭.
If you have just started living a more Carousel life and you are struggling to prioritise or afford decent time off, know that it will come. Here are some things that have helped me, and hopefully will give you some ideas, (but always remember to make time to feel into what works for you!)
1. Save up for summer
Let’s not beat about the bush here: taking a month off needs financial planning. For the past 9 years I have reached August and had a panic that there is no work coming in. Year after year I was in the same position — a horrible pit in my stomach in the summer that I wasn’t able to make ends meet and that I was failing as a freelancer. You’d think I’d see the pattern (!) But I’m a living in the moment kind of gal, and these future-focused habits take time to land…
This January I decided to take control: I chose in advance not to rely on income during July + August and instead put money away every week towards a 3 month summer fund.