The main perk of freelancing is hinted in its name ‘free’—the freedom to be your own boss and work your own hours. However, with that freedom comes added responsibility and it’s easy to fall into bad and unhealthy habits, especially if much of your work involves sitting at a computer desk at home.
If you’re a freelancer struggling with their health, here are 9 tips to get back on track …
1) Don’t Take on Too Much Work
Because most freelancers earn based on the amount of work they do, it’s often difficult to say no when a new client presents themselves. However, taking on too much work is not good for your stress levels and may impact on the quality of your output.
2) Stick to Meals and Don’t Snack
When much of your work revolves around sitting at a computer or laptop, it’s very easy to grab unhealthy snacks throughout the day instead of taking the time to make proper meals. Failing to eat right is disastrous for your physical and mental health, and will eventually impact your productivity.
By sticking to the traditional three meals a day, without snacking, you will maintain your health and give yourself time away from the screen to reduce stress.
If you simply must snack while working, choose something healthy like an apple, nuts, or grapes.
3) Schedule Regular Breaks
Preparing and eating meals will give you some extended time away from the screen, but it is also important to schedule regular breaks throughout the entire day as well. Research shows that taking a short break after every hour of work keeps you more focused and productive than if you tried to power through several hours of work in one go.
If you don’t schedule a break, your mind will give up at some point and you’ll find yourself scrolling Facebook or watching YouTube anyway.
During breaks try to do something active away from your office, even if it’s just hanging out the washing.
4) Don’t Fret When Work Dries Up
Every freelancer experiences months when there isn’t much work, but if you’re dedicated things always ick back up again. Instead of worrying, you can easily bridge the gap with an online $1000 loan via services like WeGot1000.
Freelancing gives you much more freedom to plan your day than the average job, so there’s no excuse not to factor exercise into your schedule—even if it’s just yoga in your living room.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or a long-distance runner, just 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day can relieve stress, maintain your weight, and keep your heart healthy.
If you can’t pull yourself away from your work, there’s nothing stopping you busting out a few push-ups right beside the computer. You’re not in a traditional office, so nobody is around to judge.
6) Don’t Rely on Deliveries
If you’re working from home it’s easier to get everything delivered to you than venturing outside to buy things from the store, but over time this lack of activity and fresh air is going to catch up with you.
At the least, you should make a habit of doing the grocery shopping every week in person instead of ordering it online.
7) Have a Clean and Bright Office
Mental health and even physical health can be damaged by your surroundings. Spending too much time in a dark and cluttered home office simply isn’t good for you. Let the light in, open the window for air-flow, and keep it tidy.
If possible, having a dedicated room for your office that is separate from the bedroom or living room, will help you relax in the evening and keep work from creeping into every aspect of your day.
Furthermore, as a freelancer, there’s no reason why you should be tied to any particular place anyway. If the weather is nice, take your laptop outside into nature. In fact, if you don’t have any other obligations, you might consider traveling while you work in the spirit of a digital nomad.
8) Drink Water
Coffee might wake you up in the morning and give you a small boost in productivity in the afternoon, but it’s water and hydration that will keep you healthy and productive in the long run.
Keep a bottle or glass on your desk at all times and you’ll never get the headaches and brain-fog associated with dehydration and caffeine.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and freelancers can all too easily fall into isolation if they work from home and away from the bustling office environment. Never forget to schedule a time to socialize.
You can still travel to meet friends for lunch and nothing is stopping you enjoying your weekends.
And, if you miss the office, you can always join a co-working space for freelancers and remote workers.
By following the above tips, you can maintain a balanced lifestyle that allows you to take advantage of freelancing’s benefits, without harming your health. Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.