I'm a firm believer in prioritizing health and wellbeing. The daily routine that I established helps me to not only manage my condition, but also get the most out of my day so that everything I do is done well. However, it's not always so easy to strike a balance between work and health, particularly as a freelancer or digital nomad.
A common misconception about people who work from home is that they have all the time in the world to casually go about their work life. In reality, being a freelancer is hard work, and more often than not you can find yourself stuck behind a computer screen at 3:00 in the morning! Because of this, I wanted to share my tips and tricks for establishing a self-care routine as a freelancer. They'll really go a long way towards helping you establish a great quality of life.
Separating Workspace from Home Space
One really important thing to do is to create a workspace area that is separate from the rest of your home. It can be tricky to pull off if you live in a tiny space, but even if you don't have the room for a dedicated office, you can still set some rules about where you work and keep it organized.
Work documents, your laptop, and even your tablet or mobile device belong on your desk or workstation. Resist the urge to bring them onto the couch or take them into bed. Keep your desk uncluttered, too. You want to be able to see where everything goes and put it all back at the end of each day. Also, try to position your desk so that it is away from your bed. It's the last thing you'll want to see before going to bed each night!
If you're going to be working from home in the long term, you might consider making a self-contained office; even an unused closet or hallway area can become one. Take a look at this video from interior designer Kristan Cunningham for some inspiration:
Flexibility and Mobility
Physical movement during the work day is so important. It keeps your circulation going, helps with lymph flow, opens up your muscles and your respiratory system, and gives your nervous system a chance to reset.
Kristy Arnett, a professional poker player, knows exactly what it's like to spend long hours sitting at a table or desk. A few years back she released a great series of videos covering health and fitness basics, primarily targeted at female players.
Heading outside for a walk is, of course, one of the best ways to satisfy your mobility quota for the day and change up your environment. Walking is really helpful if you're stuck for ideas or need to work through a difficult problem. Plus, your body will get all the benefits of fresh air and daylight, making it feel recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the day's work.
When you're deskbound, it's really easy to fall into unhealthy eating patterns, whether it's eating too much or too little throughout the day. Good, healthful nutrition is important for everybody—there are no two ways about it!
Always set yourself up for the day with a good breakfast before you even think about opening up your emails or logging on to social media. When you go to the supermarket, purchase a week-or-so's worth of delicious, brain-boosting snacks like pineapple, blueberries, pumpkin seeds and even peanut butter. If you're stuck for ideas, fitness expert Thomas DeLauer has some great recipes and suggestions:
Take a lunch break away from your desk and, preferably, out of the house. And don't forget that all-important water for hydration. Roughly two litres per day is the recommended average, but you can work out your own individual needs by using the "2/3 ounces per lb. of bodyweight" calculation.
Tips and Tricks for Comfort
This is where I'll zone in on some small things you can implement to really improve the quality of your home working life:
- Set a schedule and commit to it. I go to bed at 10.30pm each night, but I can assure you I will have stopped working at least a few hours before then.
- Try the 50/10 rule by taking a ten minute break from whatever you're doing every hour.
- Give your eyes a break with the 20-20-20 tip. Every 20 mins take a 20 second break and focus on something 20 feet away
- Remember that adequate rest gives you a different perspective on things. If something's just not coming together, give yourself a break and try it again tomorrow.
I hope you'll find these tips useful! Is there anything you're doing as a freelancer that you'd like to share with my readers and me? Let me know in the comments below.