7 Tips For Staying Healthy As A Freelancer

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Finding your groove as a freelancer takes time. It took me about three years to adjust my daily habits and balance my day. One of my earliest challenges was balancing my physical health needs with the work demand. Although I still dedicate 45 minutes to an hour for exercise —depending if I go jogging — a little bit of exercise throughout the work day can make all the difference in making you a happier, healthier, and more productive freelancer.

Benefits of Workday Exercise

You should be exercising frequently, even if it’s minimal. There's never any need to spend over an hour at a gym or running unless you're training. Every, push, pull, and lift can be done in the comfort of your own home with basic equipment.

Resistance bands and a yoga mat offer all the essentials for anyone looking to stay healthy at home.

Some of us enjoy going to the gym — it offers a great escape from home and can be a place to socialize. We all know how little we actually communicate with people vocally once we started freelancing.

As a freelancer, exercise is about more than staying healthy. It's way to keep your body energized and as a way to send oxygen to your brain to energize your workday. Increased oxygen to the brain helps with brain function, alertness, and focus. The end result is more creativity with your work.

These 7 tips will provide all the guidance you’ll need to transform your health while maximizing your freelance career:

1. Start Your Morning Strong

There’s no better way to start your day off than with some light exercise routines. A quick 5 minute workout can be as simple as this:

1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute pushups
1 minutes crunches
1 minute squats
1 minute high knees

A quick workout wakes your body up. Unwind, get breakfast, and transition into your workflow feeling more focused. Rotate the sequence of exercises daily, swap out exercises, increase the time, and add other modifications as needed.

2. Spread Your Work Out

If you have multiple projects you need to work on, alternating between them can be a great way to add a little relief to your brain. Staying focused on one subject matter for too long tends to decrease focus and result in a creative block,. Do one project for 55-minutes, take a quick 5-minute break, grab something healthy to eat and transition into your next assignment.

Sometimes stepping away from a project and focusing on something less complex is the best way to find new inspiration in getting the job done.

3. The Sit-Down Stand-Up Method

Between sitting for prolonged periods of times being bad for you and standing for an extended period of time being uncomfortable, a compromise between the two is a perfect way to promote health.

I like to switch up sitting and standing. At times I’ll sit for 30 minutes, then stand up for about 10-15 minutes to let blood flow unrestricted to my lower half. While standing I do calf raises, alternate lifting my heels up, and rotate my ankles around to keep my joints loose. Adding a yoga mat or any soft surface will make standing less stressful on your feet also.

4. Relax your Hands

If you don’t have to use your hands, get them away from your keyboard and mouse! Our shoulders and arms tend to get locked in one position for too long when we’re at our desk. Shake them out while you read and let the blood flow to help them relax. If you have a touchscreen, use it!

5. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key to living a healthy life. I aim for a gallon of water a day to help me stay focused. I always accomplish this by having a gallon pitcher and my mug at my desk. I add half a lemon and about two teaspoons of honey to my pitcher for all-natural flavor. I don't drink cold drinks, so I prep my gallon every night before bed. 

Honey (ideally raw) and lemon also are beneficial at promoting weight loss by suppressing needs for sugary foods and drinks, boosting metabolism, supporting digestion, cleansing the intestines, cleaning your urinary tract, and boosting your immune system.

6. Take a Break

The Italians have this phrase, dolce far niente — the joy of doing nothing. Embrace it! You work hard, but you don’t relax enough. You’re your own boss so reward yourself with a nice break daily. Prepare a nice lunch for yourself, then hop on your couch or a cozy chair and kick back. Take a nap!

Let your brain relax, recuperate, and let your body unwind. Working non-stop adds stress to your body. You started freelancing to be in control of your work life. Own it!

7. Get Up And Move

You’ll see a lot of articles promoting exercise in a shared office. How many people are actually going to do pushups at their desk or jump squats in the hallway? Your boss will think you’re slacking off. As a freelancer, you’re the boss. Get up and move.

Designate 20 minutes each workday to a fun and balanced workout. Think full body routine incorporating various exercises to get total body blood flow

.Here are some simple exercises you can easily do with a yoga mat and some resistance bands (rb):

  • push-ups

  • crunches

  • leg lifts

  • bicep curls(rb)

  • triceps extensions(rb)

  • squats

  • bicycles

  • shadow boxing

  • jumping jacks

  • high knees

  • side lunges

Think 1 minute for each exercise and choose your sequence and target body parts. Don't rest in between. This keeps blood flowing throughout your entire body and promotes a healthier cardiovascular system. More blood flow to the brain means more support and innovation.

After a week, increase the intensity, add five seconds to each exercise, and find other innovative ways to add to the benefits as you get stronger.

Freelancing is about freedom and choice. Choose to stay healthy, active, alert, and productive throughout your work day. You deserve it.