Freelancing can be flexible and lucrative, but it can also be a threat to your overall well-being. You may be easily influenced by your lifestyle.
Poor health can affect productivity and ultimately cost you a job. Therefore, it is important to take proactive measures for health care. Here are some valuable tips for improving and maintaining your health as a freelancer.
How Freelancing Hurts Your Health
Freelance work is just as demanding, if not more, than a regular full-time job. It gives you some work autonomy, but having to effectively serve the demands of multiple clients can take a toll on other aspects of your life.
You may be sitting in one place for hours, spending too much screen time, skipping meals, distancing yourself from family and friends, or voluntarily opting out of social activities. Doing all these things repeatedly can lead to several unhealthy habits.And these habits can affect your vision, social life, posture, sleep, and eating patterns.
Tips for improving your health as a freelancer
The good news is that you can avoid these bad habits. Take control of your health without jeopardizing your freelance career. Here are some tips to help you achieve this.
1. Protect your vision
Digital screens such as laptops, smartphones, and televisions emit particularly intense blue light for long periods of time that can be harmful to your eyes. Sadly, the majority of your work as a freelancer requires you to be on screen, whether it’s sourcing clients, closing deals, or performing tasks. Not only does this expose you to the risk of cell phone and computer eye strain (which can be alleviated), but it can also cause blurry vision and constant headaches.
One way to take care of your eyes is with blue light glasses. These types of eyewear are meant to limit blue light waves from work devices. It can also reduce side effects from its use.
For a permanent solution, consider scheduling and limiting screen time. Apps like Freedom and Space can be very helpful in this regard. Using blue light glasses and setting your laptop or phone to night mode will only get you so far. Step away from your workstation and look outside for a breath of air.
2. Monitor your diet
One of the downsides of freelancing is that your schedule is tight and you have little to no time to choose healthy meals. Deadlines and work pressures make it easy to resort to poorly prepared and processed meals. Even worse, they may skip breakfast or eat late at night. These diets are detrimental to your overall health.
To avoid such scenarios, plan your schedule well and allow enough time to prepare meals in advance. Meal planning apps like MyNetDiary, MyPlate Calorie Counter, Noom, and Yummly are invaluable. If you have the budget, you can also contact a chef to cook a meal at home or order takeout from a trusted brand that offers healthy menus. Don’t forget to hydrate!
3. Stay fit
The easiest way to manage the sedentary lifestyle that comes with freelancing is to do fitness activities before and after work. These activities are health enhancers that can greatly improve your health. It also helps you complete work routines with optimal endurance and strength to help you avoid burnout.
You can participate in fitness activities at home without the need to go to the gym. Popular exercises include chair squats, skipping, desk pushups, desk planks, 10-minute walks, floor pushups, and squat jumps. Most importantly, consistency is the key to getting the best results from these activities. As much as you want to exercise only when it’s convenient for you, know that it’s necessary for a healthy life.
Incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine will help you stay consistent on days when you feel good and days when you don’t. In the meantime, you can get a smartwatch or an app to help you track your fitness journey. You can even download reminders like StandUp, Wakeout and StretchMinder to remind you when to stop sitting and move around.
4. Maintain good posture
Good posture is when the body is in a symmetrical position. However, good posture is often difficult for most freelancers. Long working hours, poor sitting posture, lack of exercise, etc. may cause stiffness in the neck, arms, shoulders, hips, and back. Stretching a specific part of the body can start with a popping sound and, in severe cases, transcend pain and even numbness.
To improve your posture:
- Invest in an ergonomic office chair to prevent slouching and provide spinal alignment and lower back support.
- Buy a sturdy desk.
- Adjust your chair to a comfortable height that is in line with your desk.
These essentials work especially well for minimizing back pain. Plus, do muscle-strengthening exercises like biking, weightlifting, dancing, push-ups, and climbing stairs (if you have one in your apartment). Most importantly, we need to work on improving mobility. You can also download posture monitoring and improvement apps like Posture Pal, Posture Reminder, Perfect Posture and Healthy Back to help you correct your posture.
5. Prioritize Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep is a naturally recurring event in which the body and mind rest. It’s also a great way to recharge and refresh for increased productivity. Fatigue, exhaustion, and brain drain are common with freelancing, so developing a workable bedtime routine is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, adults need an average of 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep. But quality sleep goes beyond duration. When you wake up, you should be well rested. To that effect, try to brush, bathe, and exercise a little every day before you draw the curtains.
Additionally, sleep-deprived adults may be at higher risk for depression, anxiety, stroke, and diabetes, according to the American Heart Association. Give yourself a good rest. Do you have more responsibilities in the morning, afternoon, or night?
Additionally, avoid caffeine and stimulants as they can make it difficult to fall asleep at reasonable times. Please take your medication.
You can also monitor your sleep with sleep apps such as Sleep++, Sleep Monitor, Sleep Bot and Sleep Cycle.
A healthy lifestyle helps sustain a freelance career
A freelance lifestyle can be exhausting and unhealthy. However, knowing what to look out for and applying the tips in this article can help you stay healthy and productive in the long run.