Starting Out

How Can Freelancers Maintain Their Physical Health?

As a freelancer, you probably work from home, and you may not have the same kind of regular routine an office worker may follow.

You may find it easy to stay home most of the week, lounge around in your free time and eat whatever snacks you have in your pantry.

How Can Freelancers Maintain Their Physical Health?

While these can often be perks of the job, they can also have consequences for your health.

There are many simple ways to live healthier as a freelancer.

This guide will cover some tips to help maintain your physical health as a freelancer.

1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is one of the most important ways to stay healthy, but it can often be the most difficult to keep up with. When you work from home, you probably don’t get as many steps in a day as someone who goes to an office or does manual labor.

You may also find yourself working all throughout the day, rather than in the set 9-to-5 window, so you might not think you have time to hit the gym.

If you need more exercise, try one of these daily techniques:

  • Block out an hour on your calendar every day for exercise – don’t schedule any meetings or projects during that time.
  • Leave your house at least once every day. Walk around the neighborhood, run an errand or take a class to avoid going right from your desk to the couch.
  • Invest in a treadmill. You can get a normal treadmill or a walking pad that you can put in front of a standing desk, allowing you to work and walk at the same time.
  • Follow a YouTube workout video at home. You don’t need a gym membership to work out.

Do Some Stretching

When you can’t leave your desk, opt for stretches you can do at your workstation.

For instance, a gentle shoulder roll every now and then can help refresh your upper body.

Follow this up by putting your arms up as high as you can.

Stretch your neck from side to side, relieving any pain from staying in a sedentary position.

Take Walk Breaks

While there’s a lot you can do while seated, it’s best to get up every once in a while.

Sitting for more than 11 hours daily results in a high risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Try to take a 10-minute break every two hours if you can afford to do so.

Go on a walk or do a quick chore that gets you moving.

Have Weekend Activities

Some freelancers may forget to have a work-life balance, but it’s important to set aside time and energy for activities beyond your projects.

For example, yoga can be a great pastime to invest in on weekends as it helps improve your balance and flexibility. If you want a hobby that’s a little more active, consider dancing or hiking.

2. Have a Healthy Balanced Meal

Physical health relies so much on the nutrition you supply it with.

Ideally, you give your body all the vitamins and minerals needed to function properly.

However, with limited time and different priorities, many freelancers settle for a protein bar and call it a day.

Try to find ways to make your food intake a little bit healthier.

Take it one meal at a time and build up certain habits that will keep you full.

Pick a Variety of Food

It’s best to diversify what’s on your plate instead of eating the same thing all the time.

For instance, seafood like fish and shellfish can improve your night vision and keep your eyes healthy. You can also keep fruits and vegetables on the tables to add nutrients every time.

Start Meal Prepping

Freelancers who work from home may find the temptation of online food delivery and takeout tough to turn away from. However, fast food isn’t ideal for everyday consumption.

Work on meal-prepping healthy lunch boxes you can reheat and eat throughout the work week. Your stomach will thank you for it, and you can save more money in the long run.

Stay Hydrated

Going through a lot of work at once often makes you forget how dehydrated you are, but it’s important to drink your fluids. Set timed reminders for drinking a glass of water throughout the day.

You can also get a jug to keep by your work desk.

Make it a goal to finish by the time you clock out from your gigs.

3. Try to Get Enough Sleep

A lot of freelance work can take a toll on your eyes, so it’s important to rest them as much as possible. Ideally, you get eight straight hours of sleep.

For some, the polyphasic sleep pattern — where you get shuteye throughout different periods of the day — works, too.

If your main challenge is falling asleep, look for tools that can help. For example, a 1 to 3-milligram dosage of melatonin can retrain your hormonal cycle and help you fall asleep.

You can also check natural remedies like drinking green tea or warm milk.

4. Keep a Clean Environment

People often highlight how a cluttered environment impacts mental health and focus, but you should also be aware of your body.

Your physical health is vulnerable when working in a space full of dust and other allergens.

Sweep and vacuum your surroundings regularly so you can work on your projects sneeze-free.

5. Practice Good Hygiene

Freelancers who work remotely also need to pay more attention to their personal hygiene.

About two in three people attend meetings online without brushing their teeth. Some may even forget to shower from working so hard throughout the day.

However, it’s vital to lay out some time for self-care and pampering your body.

6. Schedule an Annual Checkup

Freelancers deal with stressful work that can hinder them from monitoring how they are doing.

Plus, there’s only so much you can research online.

Having an annual checkup with your doctor can give you insight into your physical health. They can also offer advice on how you can maintain your health better.

7. Have a Comfortable Workspace

Since you’re spending ample time at your work desk, keep it as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. For instance, a desk that’s a tad too small makes you feel more inclined to crouch.

With that position, you often risk having poor posture. To keep your posture intact, create a setup that eliminates any possible fatigue or straining.

8. Reserve Downtime to Recuperate

Did you know you can help your body by not doing anything?

Rest time from any activities is necessary to let your body recover from the physical and mental exertion you conduct daily.

Instead of being productive, focus on just relaxing. Read a new book or watch a movie under the warmth of a blanket.

Keep Your Physical Health Up

Constantly keeping your physical health intact is quite a commitment for many busy bees.

That said, it’s necessary for freelancers who work and operate independently. Follow the points above to start prioritizing your physical well-being.

Cora Gold is a freelance writer and Editor-in-Chief of women's lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She has been featured on sites including Mediabistro, Wrkfrce and Remote Tribe, covering productivity, mental health and organizational tips for freelancers.

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