Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer

Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer

I’ve been a freelancer for coming up thirteen years, and I love it. There are many well-known benefits such as no limit of earnings, family flexibility, working with clients and on projects that you love and more.  Ignoring your health as a freelancer is far from a benefit yet is something many of us do or have done, me included.

Stop Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer & Limit Your Screen Time 

As someone who jokes that she is surgically connected to her laptop, this advice might seem a little hypocritical. Take it from someone who knows though, no matter how important that client is, they cannot be more important than your eyesight. Try to avoid glare as much as possible, and turn up at your regular eye tests. There are other ways of protecting your eyes, too. Make sure that you have natural light coming into your office, even if it is just your back bedroom.

Take a break from the screen every now and then, and learn how to touch type, so you can exercise your eyes, and avoid strains. You might even invest in pinhole glasses that will naturally improve your focus on the screen. I use to use glare reduction glasses and my optician now suggests blue tinted glasses because I now need glasses (I’ve always managed to get away with no prescription in the past but it’s caught up with me). 

Take Care Of Your Body’s Nutritional Needs 

Do you find yourself too busy to have breakfast or stop for lunch? It is a sign that you are ignoring your health as a freelancer and neglecting your own body’s needs. If you would like to stay healthy and make the most out of your business, you will need to find the time. Even a few minutes of walking around the house or taking the dog for a walk will help you clear your head and get your metabolism going. Avoid food that might make you feel sluggish. Check out Nutritional Cleanse’s range if you would like to get more vitamins and minerals in your body without having to cook every meal.  I now go to the gym three times a week after school run and before I start work. Rather than eating into my day, I find it motivates me when I do get back to the laptop, and it counteracts the hours spent sitting down!

Get Some Fresh Air 

Sometimes little things go a long way when it comes to your health. Getting fresh air will improve your immune system and help you make the most out of your digestive health, as well. Freelancers find it hard to keep themselves healthy, and they certainly don’t have enough fresh air, being stuck indoors or in the car or meeting customers. Instead of ignoring your health as a freelancer open some windows, open the door, work undercover in the garden or just take five-minute breaks outside.

Automate What You Can to Avoid Repetitive Moves 

If you spend most of your time typing away and copying and pasting images, your wrists will suffer. Make sure that you adjust your workspace and support your joints. If you have to wear wrist support to avoid strains and carpal tunnel syndrome,  do so. This is better than putting up with joint pain for years. You might also invest in back support and a footrest, so you can take the pressure off your joints and your legs and stay healthy. I would be lying if I said that ignoring your health as a freelancer when it comes to this goes without consequences but my physio would tell you that I’m lying.

Stay Active 

Being active doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym every day or every other like me. In fact, you can set up an exercise routine for home. No matter if you learn yoga or Tai chi from YouTube videos or sign up for a health challenge online, you will be able to keep your muscles active and your digestive system healthy. You can walk, take a few stretches, or simply do some leg lifts when you are sitting in front of your computer. If you feel like you just want to sit on the sofa and watch your favourite series at night, challenge yourself to do more. 

Improve Your Sleep Patterns 

If you are overworked and your thoughts are still racing when you hit the bed, chances are that you will need to improve your sleep patterns.  You can find natural remedies for better sleep and relaxation, or simply take on meditation and other mindfulness exercises to stop the busy brain and get a good night’s sleep. I use a Yoga Nidra meditation and some breathing exercises before bed and am soon fast asleep.

Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer: In Conclusion

To make the most out of your business as a freelancer, you have to learn how to put yourself first every now and then. Your health is one of your most valuable assets if you are running your own business without help. Don’t sideline it, make your wellbeing the first and last thing you do every day and trust me when I tell you, with the benefit of hindsight, that you will thank yourself for that later!

 

 

Mental Health Issues and Support

mental health issues, strength, holding hands

Mental health issues may affect anyone, at any age, gender or location. Depression, anxiety, stress and numerous other mental health concerns don’t discriminate. They don’t care whether you earn £50k a year or struggle to make ends meet. They arrive uninvited and rarely listen to hints about it being time to move on. This is why mental health awareness and support is so important.

The list of mental health conditions that the healthcare community are aware of and may diagnose is vast. Thankfully there are a number of ways to help combat mental health issues.

IMPORTANT
If you are struggling with your mental health please see your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance. The following are all great examples of ways to look after yourself and to deal with any issues you may have and may even be suggested by your GP after assessment. These are not meant to be a substitute for medical care though.

Prioritise Self Care

Self-care is something I have written about several times in the past, from taking time out for yourself to employing meditation and mindfulness in your everyday life. Self-care can go a long way to helping to lessen anxiety, stress and more. Go for a walk, call a friend, have a down day, go for a swim, light candles and binge-watch something. Life can be tiring. It is ok to take time out to reboot, to rest and to find some balance.

Stay Active

Exercise is known to improve confidence, self-esteem and offer physical benefits too from helping you sleep to encouraging clarity of thought. You don’t need to join a gym or a class. Walk around the garden or around the block. Get some fresh air at lunchtime. Consider yoga or pilates from home if not at a local class. Physical activity can go a long way towards helping you destress, for example.

In The Moment Help

Sometimes you need more immediate help. If, for example, you struggle with anxiety, have a grab bag, something you can get hold of easily with items which help you. A notebook, a drink, a squeezy ball, a paper bag, essential oils; any tools that help you keep calm, stave off a panic attack and give you back a little control. There are phone apps aimed towards meditation and even talking you through a sudden moment of upset and panic. Having something there and present, either to calm you down or uplift you, can be a great way to help manage some of the symptoms of mental health issues.

Talk to Someone

Your GP should be your first port of call if you are struggling with mental health issues. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t speak to someone else in the meantime or at any point. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, consider online therapy, ask about local support groups or consider anyone you might feel comfortable speaking to about where you are at and how you are feeling. Mental health concerns are nothing to be embarrassed about. They are more common than you might suppose and don’t have the stigma attached that you once did.

Everyone is Different

When it comes to stress, anxiety, depression and/or any other mental health conditions we all feel differently, react differently and require different levels of support. What might work for one person may not work for another. For this reason, communicating with your health team is important as they will be able to help you work out what you need and ensure that it is available to you.

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