How to Stay Healthy While Freelancing

Before I became a freelance writer – you could have easily called me a “health blogger.”

I managed an online blog for several years, writing about life as a mother raising a child with Type 1 diabetes. I shared tips, ideas, and valuable information with other parents around the world – most of those whose child was newly diagnosed. The disease can be stressful and often leave parents feeling overwhelmed in the first few years after diagnosis. But many of the things I learned throughout the “new norm” of raising a child with diabetes, as well as some of the information and tips I have shared with my faithful followers there, can easily relate to the lifestyle of a freelancer.

Freelancers – especially new freelancers – often spend countless hours sitting behind their monitors and keyboards. We’re either working on paid gigs, or spending countless hours searching for, and pitching to, new potential clients, blogging on our own websites or working on our own social media campaigns.

And that’s not counting all the hours we devote to administrative tasks like invoicing, accounting, and bookkeeping!

With so much going on in our freelancing “new norm,” it’s truly a wonder that we can find the time to take care of what matters most – our health. So, here’s a few things you should remember to do - Every. Single. Day. - in order to leave a truly free – and healthy – freelancing life.

 

Sleep is Your Friend.

Whether you realize it or not – you probably are not getting enough sleep every night. Studies show that adults function better and more productively when they get an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

If you’re a freelance writer, how much more work do you think you could accomplish if you had a restful, adequate amount of sleep each night?

I’m going to fill you in on a little secret:

When I first became a freelance writer, I averaged about 3-5 hours of sleep every night.

This lead me to not providing my clients with the absolute best work I could possibly provide them. I made careless mistakes – even when I proofread my work.

Once I changed up my schedule, including my sleep schedule, to make sure I was getting (or at least trying to get) at least 7 hours of sleep per night, the quality of my work improved. Along with the quality, I was able to get work done faster, which meant I could take on more clients.

 

Take Periodic Breaks

Have you ever noticed your wrists, back, or neck hurting after working for 4-6 hours straight?

Me too.

Believe it or not, scheduling in 5-minute break periods during your work day can fundamentally improve the quality and productivity of your work.

Now, I don’t mean work for 5 minutes, then break for 5 minutes.

Instead, I mean work for 30 to 45 minutes, then take a 5 to 10-minute break. Give those fingers, wrists, back, and neck a chance to relax a bit! Stretch those joints and muscles. When you do, I promise, in time you will notice a significant difference in your business – and your life.

 

An Apple A Day

They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, I don’t know how true that statement really is, but making sure you don’t skip meals throughout the day can help lead you to a better, healthier freelance lifestyle.

All too often, freelancers – myself included – tend to forget about eating lunch. We are so focused on providing our valuable services to our clients, and beating their deadlines, that the time simply escapes us.

We’re so “in the zone” we forget to even eat!

Yeah, I get it. But to remain truly healthy and happy, you need to eat! And that means eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I’m just as guilty as millions of other freelancers out there – many mornings, my breakfast consists of a couple cups of coffee while catching up on emails, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever – but I do try to make sure I have at least lunch and dinner.

I’m a work in progress, just like you!

I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, so this really isn’t anything new for me, but I do try to make sure I eat a good, solid lunch followed by a healthy dinner every evening.

The days I do forget to eat lunch, I also notice myself feeling sluggish much earlier in the day – long before dinner.

Eating three healthy meals (or at the very least, two) every day will help refuel your brain, enabling you to work smarter and be more productive throughout the day.

 

Hobbies Take the Stress Away

Your brain needs a rest from your freelancing business. Taking up a hobby is a fantastic way to give your brain (and body) a rest.

A few hobbies I enjoy doing during my free time are:

·         Gardening – even if I have a black thumb!

·         Watching movies – my favorites are comedies and dramas.

·         Reading – Reading not only helps fuel my creativity and imagination by taking me to faraway places, but it also helps me increase my vocabulary!

·         Playing with my kids – of course, this isn’t what I would call a hobby, but it does give me a much-needed break I in a fun (and often funny) way! After all, you can never outgrow building with Legos!

 

Your Turn!

Now it’s your turn to share! Are you a freelancer with a great, healthy tip to share? What hobbies do you enjoy doing to take your mind off freelancing for a while? What exercises do you do every day to maintain your healthy bod?

Share them with us in the comments below!