Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Freelancer Needs To Remember Self-Care

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working nonstop for about two months now, and I am completely exhausted. Obviously that means I should slow down, but the thing is that I am a freelancer. I’m afraid to turn down work when it’s coming on strong. Who knows when it will dry up and I will be broke again? I don’t want to risk being unavailable and then somebody else gets the job and they don’t call on me again. I’m also afraid that I will get sick if I don’t get some rest. What should I do? -- Stretched Too Thin

DEAR STRETCHED TOO THIN: Your level of paranoia is understandable, but I want to suggest to you that your current pace is impossible to maintain and unhealthy to boot. When you operate your life based on the belief that there is enough for you, even as there is enough for everyone else, you are able to breathe deeply and relax.

You deserve to have at least one day of rest every week. Your mind and body need to slow down and recuperate from the week. This is true even if you are a freelancer and worried about paying bills.

The best thing you can do for yourself for longevity’s sake is to establish a weekly rhythm that requires that you take at least one day off, preferably the same day weekly. You can let your clients know that you will give 100% on every day but your day off. It is OK to pass up work if your health will be jeopardized otherwise. You must also have faith that your quality of work is excellent and your commitment to your clients is sincere and well-noted, so that when you establish this most basic boundary, it will be respected.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been cleaning out my house, and I have discovered a ton of great stuff that I think some friends of mine might like. I have clothes and shoes and bags -- all kinds of things. I want to be able to offer my things to my friends before I give them to charity, but I don’t want to insult anybody who may wonder why I chose them to give it to. How can I offer my things to others in a way that they will feel special rather than like a charity case? -- Gifting My Things

DEAR GIFTING MY THINGS: You can speak directly with particular friends to tell them what you are doing and that you have found some things you believe would be perfect for them. Ask if they would accept your items. That way, they can say yes or no.

You can also consider hosting a clothing/accessories swap where you bring the bulk of items that you have to offer, and others do the same. Then you invite people who may be interested in such an affair. You create a social atmosphere that is ripe for giving and receiving, and where no one needs to feel uncomfortable about accepting other people’s hand-me-downs.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)