Freelancers: Keeping Yourself Healthy

Freelancers: Keeping Yourself Healthy

It might seem to some that us freelancers must seem to lead a charmed life. We can work from home or hotdesk or avail ourselves of a number of freelancer friendly workspaces if we don’t wish to incur overhead costs. I, for example, run a coworking group here in Thirsk.

Freelancers can (at least in theory) start work whenever they like and finish whenever they wish. They have the flexibility to fit their working activities around their lifestyle and family commitments. Indeed, in many ways, it is a charmed life. However, freelancers face a struggle for balance that their salaried friends may not comprehend. They can find themselves working ridiculously long hours when up against a deadline, often going hours and hours without a break. They can go days on end without ever leaving the house. They can find themselves damaging their health in some pretty serious ways, despite their best intentions.

Sound familiar?

I’ve been freelancing for 12 years now and here are some ways I recommend you try in order to keep yourself healthy and happy in 2019.

Get Out

When a deadline looms near you may feel that every moment spent away from your computer screen is wasted. Nonetheless, it’s imperative for your mental health that you venture out every day. Take yourself for a walk, ideally somewhere where you can be close to nature. This will provide your mental health with a pick-me-up and the act of walking will help you to overcome any issues with creative block which can rarely be resolved by staring at a blank screen.

Take Care of Your Digestive Health

The life of a freelancer can often be stressful and is almost always fuelled by coffee. The bad news is that stress and coffee can be a damaging combo for gut health. Poor digestive health can have a knock-on effect on everything from the appearance of your skin to fluctuating weight and even your sleeping patterns. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and use products from Erbology.co to keep your energy levels up and your digestive health harmonious. Speaking of eating…

Give Yourself a Lunch Break

Yes, it can be hard to tear yourself away from your desk when you’re in the zone. Yes, it can be frustrating knowing that every minute you spent cooking and eating your food you’re not making money, but you can only get so much out of an empty fuel tank. Making sure that you take the time to eat can prevent the creative well from running dry while giving your brain a break will make you more productive in the long-term.

Take the Time to See Your Friends

This is important! Unlike your salaried friends, you don’t have the luxury of colleagues. People with whom you have an infinitely renewable source of banter and with whom you can engage in the kind of social repartee that is so important to your mental health. For this reason, it’s extra important that you maintain your relationships with your friends. This is something I make sure I prioritise.

Make sure that you don’t get trapped in the freelancer bubble.

 

PCOS: The Beast That Is…

flower, pcos

Have you ever heard of PCOS? Its full name is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the best estimate is that one in five women in the UK may have it. Being the lucky lass that I am, I’m one of those women. 

Despite PCOS being more common than you might think it is not as well known or as understood as you might think. I’ve had to explain what it is to a number of healthcare providers in the past for example. This is something I live with every day and while sometimes it’s just something that ticks along in the background, sometimes it can be a pain in the backside. There is some great information on PCOS on the NHS website.

My PCOS 

PCOS affects different women differently. My particularly fun afflictions include excess weight that is incredibly difficult to shift (even though most of the time I eat like a blumming rabbit), fertility issues (more on this below), raging hormones (no, I’m not just a cowbag), oily skin and insulin issues. I’m type two diabetic and have to work very hard to control it. I’m not saying that PCOS made me diabetic, but it won’t have helped. Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome find that they are what is called insulin resistant.

Where Does it Come From

No-one really knows where PCOS comes from and why some have it and others don’t. Some women with PCOS struggle constantly with weight gain, some don’t. Some may have thinning hair, some don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Some experts think that there may be a family link, however, this is far from having been proven.  Right now, it simply seems to be the luck of the draw.

Managing PCOS

From a healthcare point of view, (from our experience and many others) the main medical support you get for PCOS tends to only happen when you are having fertility issues. We were told at one point that it would be very unlikely that Roy and I would be able to have children without artificial help such as IVF. I don’t ovulate regularly. At one point I was releasing the odd egg here and there about every six months or so, and regular periods have never been something I’ve had. Sheer bloodymindedness and an ounce or three of luck gave us two sons after years of trying. The fertility team we were under were great but their hands were tied at the time by the postcode lottery that exists around IVF. Thankfully we eventually conceived successfully without that level of help.

There are numerous other ways to manage PCOS, natural supplements work for many, such as those from Nature’s Best, a healthy diet, exercise and checking in with your GP every now and then to keep an eye on blood glucose levels if this is a thing for you.  There are some fabulous online support group set-ups too. Verity is well worth looking up for those looking for better understanding and peer to peer support.

Moving Forward

Above all,  I would like to see more work go into PCOS understanding and general awareness, for women and for healthcare providers. One woman’s experience of PCOS may be very different to another’s. From hormone issues to physical issues, it really can feel like the luck of the draw. If you feel some of these symptoms match up with what you are experiencing, speak to your GP for further advice.

 

This post was sponsored by Nature’s Best to raise awareness of PCOS.

 

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