Self Care Checklist for Precarious Workers

As precarious work (self-employed, freelance, zero hours etc) becomes increasingly the norm for countless workers, what do we need to think about to ensure that the work we do does us more good than harm? This self care checklist offers an easy way to reflect on how best to choose the work you do as a precarious worker.

Why would I need a Self Care Checklist?

Over the last few years, I have been thinking about how to better streamline the process of saying “yes” or “no” to different work opportunities. As an artist & educator, the option for secure, full-time contracts rarely exists. This means that I have to balance a number of different short-term contracts at any one time, alongside designing my own work and the continuous “hustle” for one-off gigs.

Learning to say “no” is as important (if not more so) as being ready to say “yes”. This is an idea that I was first introduced to in Goat Island’s beautiful Letter to a Young Practitioner (you really should give this a read!) and something that I have returned to over the last two years while reconsidering the way I work, and the way I want to work.

How could I use a Self Care Checklist?

You could see this Self Care Checklist as a way to “risk assess” different work opportunities and gigs that come your way… This checklist is designed as a pause for reflection, a chance to take stock before saying “yes” and a personal safety check to see whether it would be better to say “no” (even if this feels like the opportunity of a lifetime!). This checklist is inspired by, and built on the foundations of, a Checklist Of Care published by artist Shelia Ghelani on her blog and is used here with her permission.

Download it, print it out and put it somewhere where you’re likely to be making decisions about the type of work and opportunities you are going to take on…

Self Care Checklist for precarious workers - infographic
Rachel Dobbs (2018) Self Care Checklist for Precarious Workers- CLICK TO ENLARGE or RIGHT CLICK / “Save Link As” to download

If you find the checklist useful, please feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues. Maybe you have you own questions to add? Or you could point me towards other ways of thinking about decision-making for precarious workers? Please let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @RachelDobbs1

Rachel Dobbs is an artist and educator & one half of artist collaboration LOW PROFILE. Rachel works on a range of arts and education projects, has a long-term interest in creative approaches to community development and runs workshops, teaching & training sessions for a range of formal & informal groups including students, arts practitioners and communities – contact me for more details.


This is great! I’m an artist wellbeing practitioner and this checklist and it’s format is such a great tool. Thank you for putting it together. I’ll use this when working with artists. And I’ll share this on my blog to direct people to this page. Brilliant stuff.

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