It took me about three years to find my groove as a work-from-home freelancer. One of my earliest challenges was balancing my physical health with the work demand. I never had so much work freedom, so I was innately worried whenever I was away from my desk and not replying to emails asap. I didn't want anyone to assume I was a slacker, so I got stuck in a tunnel vision on the freedom working from home was supposed to offer.
Taking care of your health is the most important part of balancing your work-from-home life. What started as fear blossomed into freedom in starting mornings with a hike, run, or workout, taking an hour lunch walk, or enjoying a midday stretch to decompress. Today, I'm happier, healthier, and more productive because I took control of my work-life balance.
You Gotta Move
If you live a simple lifestyle and exercise to stay fit and healthy, minimal time with maximum effort will keep you in shape during the work week. You have to exercise at least three times a week, for no less than 45 minutes each.
As a health coach, I curate my client's workouts based on their lifestyle needs. Do you want to exercise at the gym or do you have space at home? If you prefer home, what equipment do you have, and what do you need?
I used to love going to the gym, but now with more space at home, I work and work out from the comfort of my home. I have a squat rack, 5, 10, 25, and 45 lb plates and a 35 lb dumbbell. I need just enough diversity in weight to keep me engaged and challenged. The rest of my fitness success comes from 20 years of movement and functionality knowledge.
Stagnancy Is Death
Exercise leads to increased blood flow, muscle mass, and satisfaction. Working from home is sitting and standing in a confined space for multiple hours with minimal movement outside of your fingers typing or your hands grabbing a snack.
Exercise increases blood flow, and the increased oxygen to your brain makes you more creative, alert, and focused. The increased muscle mass means better weight management. And satisfaction comes from seeing how productive, energized, and sexier you are.
These seven tips offer some easy everyday changes to maximizing your health with your work-from-home life. All you gotta do is move.
1. Start The Day With Yourself
There’s no better way to start your day off than with exercising. I usually start my mornings with a run or hike, then head home for a workout. I wake up with the sun, so I usually have an hour before regular business starts.
If you don't want to exercise, go for a walk, read a book, or spend time with a pet, spouse, or yourself on the balcony or backyard.
Unwind, get breakfast, and transition into your work feeling more focused.
2. Spread Your Work Out
Working from home means you need to be your own time and project manager. Whether you have deadlines or know you're more creative at certain times of the day, alternating between work can offer some brain relief. Staying focused on one subject can lead to a creative block.
Do one project for 55 minutes, take a quick 5-10 minute break, grab something healthy to eat, and transition into your next assignment.
Sometimes you also have to step away from a project because you're having an off day. I like to alternate between writing (which takes focus) and “data-entry” type work where I can listen to music and zone out throughout.
3. The Sit-Down Stand-Up Method
Between sitting for prolonged periods being bad for you and standing for an extended period being uncomfortable, find a compromise between the two.
At times I 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 and ball of my feet, 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.
4. Relax Your Hands
If you don’t have to use your hands, get them away from your keyboard and mouse. Your shoulders and arms tend to get locked in one position for too long when you’re at your desk. If your work requires reading, shake them out and let the blood flow to help them relax. If you have a touchscreen, use it. This’ll limit the effects of carpal tunnel and hand cramps.
5. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key to living a healthy life. I aim for a gallon of water daily. I always accomplish this by having a gallon pitcher and my mug at my desk. I use my simple 2-ingredient water detox, sometimes mixing in mint, cinnamon, or a splash of apple cider vineear.
Honey (ideally raw) and lemon, both part of the water detox, are beneficial in promoting weight loss by suppressing the 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 at home, 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. Don't Let Your Eyes Get Weak
My vision is deteriorating. I held off on needing glasses for over 20 years. I'm getting older, so I don't mind needing them.
But twice a day, you should perform eye exercises to strengthen your eye muscles. I use an app with a 7-minute routine. I also try to avoid staring at screens while scrolling. I look to the side, and I also scroll from the bottom up if I'm researching data.
Working from home is about freedom and choice. Choose to stay healthy, active, alert, and productive throughout your workday. You deserve it.
Looking for more resources for freelancing or working from home? Be on the lookout for my upcoming article“Resources For Building Your Brand And Channeling Creativity” for the tools I’ve used to build my brand and also stay in the loop on new remote jobs.