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Top contractor stress triggers & tips to overcome them

In a concerning trend, a recent report revealed that 90% of the UK’s workforce has experienced stress or burnout due to their job, with these figures doubling in 2023 compared to 2022. This surge in stress levels is largely attributed to higher workloads and persistent staff shortages. 

While stress is a common issue across the board, contractors face unique challenges that can exacerbate these feelings. Here we explore the primary stress triggers specific to contracting and suggest practical strategies to manage and overcome them. 

Lack of Job Security

Contractors often face uncertainty regarding their next job. The constant need to secure new contracts or always have “something in the pipeline” can be a source of anxiety, especially when work is sporadic or contracts are not renewed.

Strategies to manage this:

  • Networking: Building a strong professional network can help in finding new opportunities quickly. Attend industry events, join online forums and stay connected with past clients.
  • Skill development: Continuously upgrading your skills makes you more marketable and increases your chances of securing new contracts.
  • Agency support: Partnering with a reliable recruitment agency can provide a steady stream of job opportunities and reduce the stress of job hunting. Read our blog “How to work better with your recruitment agency”

Financial Uncertainty

Unlike salaried employees, contractors do not have a fixed income. The variability in earnings can cause financial strain, especially during periods without work.

Strategies to manage this:

  • Budgeting: Create a detailed budget to manage your finances better during lean periods. Prioritise essential expenses and save aggressively when work is plentiful.
  • Emergency fund: Establish an emergency fund to cover at least three to six months of living expenses to provide a cushion during times without income.
  • Professional advice: Consider consulting a financial advisor to help manage your finances effectively and plan for the future.  


Contractors often juggle multiple projects with tight deadlines. The pressure to deliver high-quality work within a limited timeframe can lead to stress and burnout.

Strategies to manage this:

  • Time management: Use project management tools to organise tasks and set realistic deadlines. Break projects into smaller, manageable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Prioritisation: Learn to prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance. This can help you focus on what needs immediate attention and reduce last minute rushes.
  • Communication: Maintain open communication with clients to set clear expectations and negotiate deadlines when necessary.


Contractors, especially those working from home, may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. The lack of a regular work environment and colleagues can lead to social disconnection.

Strategies to manage this:

  • Switch off: Take regular breaks to recharge and avoid feeling isolated. Use this time for activities you enjoy or to connect with friends and family.
  • Co-working spaces: Consider working from a co-working space occasionally to interact with other professionals and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Online communities: Join online communities or groups related to your field to network and share experiences with peers.

General Tips for Managing Stress

  1. Take breaks: Regular breaks are essential to maintain productivity and mental well-being. Step away from work periodically to relax and rejuvenate.
  2. Manage time effectively: Utilise time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking to enhance focus and efficiency.
  3. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, colleagues or a professional counsellor.
  4. Exercise and Health: Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet can significantly reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.

How Liquid Friday can support you

Beyond just processing your pay, Liquid Friday is here to support you, especially during times of stress. 

Communication and liaison: We can facilitate smooth communication with your agency or client to ensure your professional and personal well-being. 

Finding work: We can help you line up your next assignment; just indicate in the Liquid Friday app that you are seeking work and we will inform your agency. 

Private healthcare: If stress or anxiety is impacting your health, take advantage of our private virtual GP service, offering 24/7 consultations, which is available to all Liquid Friday contractors. Find out more 

Financial tools and resources: In partnership with Moneyhelper, our app has various tools and resources to assist you with budgeting, debt management, savings and more. 


By being mindful of contractor-specific stress triggers and applying strategies to manage them, contractors can better manage their stress levels and maintain a healthier work-life balance.