Full-time freelance writing isn’t for the mentally weak. But unless you’re proactive about maintaining your body, you’ll start trading in your structural health for a career. There are trade-offs to consider when pursuing any dedicated skill, of course, but spending months and years sitting at a computer for long hours can seriously take a toll. With some simple (but not always easy) adjustments, there are ways to mitigate that toll.
Everyone talks about mental burnout in the online space— but physical burnout is a real thing, too. Whether you’re an aspiring freelancer or a successful entrepreneur, here are some ways to take care of your body and sustain your ability to crank out computer work.
This is up to personal preference, but an adjustable standing desk can be life-changing. If you hate sitting still or you feel easily “cramped up” at your workspace after a few hours, having the option to stand and still continue to work will solve a hundred problems— discomfort being one of them.
Don’t take too many breaks, as that can be awful for your attention span and productivity. But at least take bathroom breaks, eye breaks, stretch breaks, and snack breaks. If it helps you, set a timer to go off every 30 minutes to an hour. When it dings, take a few seconds to:
There are plenty of books to help you maximize your efficiency and increase your focus that go over different break styles for productivity.
Time for a biohacking tip *eye roll*. Waking up at 6 am and going straight to the computer chair for work until 5 pm is all well and good for those intense productive phases. If that works for you, do it.
But getting the right kind of light exposure is part of human health. There are scientific findings that enjoying a few minutes of morning sunlight and avoiding artificial lights later in the evening can balance hormones, boost mood, and retrain your mental clock for a better circadian rhythm.
I never knew this until probably a year ago (yikes) but apparently, quality sleep is extremely important for overall health. Do you know what else it’s important for? Improving memory. Retaining what you learn throughout the day. Increasing your ability to solve creative problems.
Kind of important if you want to be a good writer. Stop with the whole, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” rhetoric.
Everyone wants better posture. But posture as a freelancer is useless unless you know how to sit and type and scroll on your desktop (or god forbid, laptop on the couch) properly.
Ergonomics is a copywriter’s non-slip work shoe. If you really want to whip yourself into shape— er, chair— put a mirror near your desk. Every time you see yourself sticking your head forward with your shoulders up by your ears and your knee up toward your chest, you’ll fix how you’re sitting real quick.
Get some movement in wherever you can. The important thing isn’t moving perfectly all the time, it’s simply moving in ways that you enjoy and get you active (and away from your desk for a moment). This can be playing with your kids in the yard, going on a hike, swimming in the ocean, or taking a walk by the neighborhood park three times a day.
Prioritizing bodybuilding and full-time writing isn’t the most realistic lifestyle for many freelancers (but if it’s in you, please go for it because wow). But “An object in motion stays in motion…” I won’t bore you with the fitness tips we’ve all heard a thousand times.
To practice self-care as a freelancer or someone who works from home, you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to eat superfoods, work out every day, or spend a ton of money on a weekly massage (but obviously, talk to your doctor about how to stay healthy). The trick is to find ways to maximize productivity while minimizing physical strain.
If you’re failing at these basic tips, it’s fine (for now). Choose one or two habits to focus on and ingrain them into your work life. Then, move on to the next one. Do the best you can with the information you have, and learn to improve your physical habits for the long run. It’s the only way to sustain your body for long periods of writing and work.
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