When you’re a freelancer, there’s not much room for lost time due to being under the weather or spending time at the doctor’s office. Use these tips to get–or stay–in tip-top condition so that you don’t lose out on time that could be spent earning money:
1. Get enough sleep
Whether you do a regular nine to five or burn the midnight oil, get at least seven hours of sleep. This is essential both for your overall well-being and the success of your business.
Getting enough quality sleep helps you function productively and efficiently throughout the entire day. People who are sleep deprived tend to make more mistakes at work and have a slower reaction time.
In addition, they need more time to perform and finish a task. Even losing just 1 or 2 hours of sleep per night can cause health problems and worsen a person’s productivity. On the other hand, if you have enough sleep during the night, your learning and problem-solving skills will be improved.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, studies have shown that the lack of sleep changes activity in some parts of the brain: ‘If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behaviour, and coping with change.’
Therefore, it is essential that you get a good night’s sleep every night in order to live a healthier life and lead a successful business. For the purpose of doing so, you need to set up some ground rules that will help you manage you time more efficiently.
For example, don’t procrastinate or postpone your tasks. It is advisable to set business hours during which you will be completely focused on the work that needs to be done. By doing so, you’ll have more control over your time and will be more organized.
Basically, it’s always a good idea to separate your personal life from your professional one. Once you start following the rules you have defined, it will be much easier to complete every assignment on time, manage your free time and get enough sleep and rest.
2. Eat a protein-packed breakfast
Not only will protein keep you full for hours, but it will help you build muscle which is great if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Opt for eggs, bagel sandwiches or granola packed with nuts and seeds.
Basically, eating enough protein is highly beneficial to your health and you should consume it on a regular basis is you want to maintain a healthy body. Protein will provide you with energy which will help you combat physical or mental weariness.
Since you spend hours in front of your computer focused on your work, a protein based breakfast will enable you to stay concentrated and alert. The amount of recommended daily protein depends on your health and age. For example, the recommended serving sizes for most adults are 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; 1 ounce of cheese; 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
The average person requires two or three servings per day. It is also recommended that you don’t eat more than 4 eggs a week. Although eggs are low in saturated fat, they are high in cholesterol. There is a wide variety of protein-rich food and it’s up to you to pick your favourite.
It’s always a good idea to choose lean meat, chicken or turkey with the skin removed or fish. Other options include nuts and seeds, beans, tofu and other soy protein products and low-fat dairy products. When eating nuts, try to control yourself since they are high in fat.
If you want to stay strong and healthy, you have to maintain a balanced diet. If you lead a healthy lifestyle and eat foods that are good for you, chances are you will perform better at work.
3. Get up from your desk every 30 minutes
Blood will start to pool after about twenty minutes of inactivity, but it is hard to focus and dig into your work if you get up every few minutes. Set a timer for thirty minutes and force yourself to really focus on the task at hand. Once the timer goes off, get up do some squats or jumping jacks. When your job requires sitting all day, your health could suffer because of it.
Besides, no matter how comfortable the chair, you’ll probably feel some physical discomfort at the end of the day. Many people who lead a sedentary lifestyle experience back, neck, and shoulder pain. Apart from relieving the pressure on your spine, making occasional breaks will improve your circulation.
If you have any health problems, it will be hard for you to concentrate on your work and complete the assignments efficiently. Moreover, you need to feel relaxed and stress-free in order to make the most of your working hours. And don’t forget that getting up from your computer will also relieve the strain on your eyes and reduce fatigue.
Since you work from home, you are your own boss – you have control over your time and if you are well organized, you’ll manage to achieve everything you planned while still taking care of your health. Make sure not to make one break too many if you ever want to get the job done.
However, it is advisable to make breaks that don’t last more than a few minutes in every half an hour – the minutes you’ll devote to your physical health can be a good motivation to concentrate on the task in front of you. Last but not least, they’ll get you pumped up and you’ll renew your energy and strength.
4. Keep a large bottle of water at your desk
Staying hydrated will keep you feeling full and less prone to mindless snacking. Plus it ensures that you get up frequently to visit the restroom. Since out bodies are composed of approximately 60% water it is necessary to drink enough water in order to maintain the balance of bodily fluids. Bodily fluids have a significant part in digestion, circulation and absorption. Besides, they are responsible for creating saliva and maintaining temperature.
If you don’t take enough fluids, your brain’s thirst mechanism will be activated. Not only will water keep you hydrated, but it will also help you control your weight. When working from home, it’s easy to start eating excessively. Add sitting at a computer all day and chances are you’ll gain a few extra pounds.
If you want to stay fit, maintain a balanced diet and drink lots of water. “What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.
In addition, water increases energy and reduces fatigue – it will help you stay alert and focused on your work. Moreover, you will look fresh and your skin quality will improve. If you’re experiencing headaches, water could be the answer to your problems since dehydration is the most common cause of headaches.
Because your body will function properly when you drink enough water, you’ll feel much better and will be in a good mood. Last but not least, water is free. Even if you’re not a fan of tap water, bottled water is still cheaper than all the other drinks that surely won’t be as beneficial to your health as water.
5. Stock the house with healthy snacks
If you do fall prey to snacking, or need an afternoon pick-me-up, having a cupboard full of snacks like nuts, whole grain crackers and fresh fruit won’t do as much damage to your waistline as a bag of cookies or chips will.
Most people think that snacks contribute to weigh gain and avoid them at all cost. However, if you choose the right type of snacks you’ll stay both fit and healthy. “Nutrition really is the key to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy life.
It goes a long way toward lowering the risk for heart disease and improving overall health,” says Dr. Rita Redberg from the University of California. Although we are advised to eat every three to five hours, it is important to have in mind that our meals have to remain small if we want to control our weight.
When you work from home, your kitchen is just a few steps away from your office which means you have unlimited access to food. Sometimes it’s really hard to control oneself and keep away from the fridge. Besides, since you need to work, maybe you won’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals.
In order to stay healthy, it’s recommended that you don’t buy unhealthy snacks in the first place. On the other hand, feel free to enjoy the benefits of fruits, vegetables, whole grains or low-fat dairy products. Healthy snacks will make you keep going during the entire day, providing you with enough energy to stay focused and sharp.
Once you increase the nutrient intake, you’ll feel much better and will be able to work more efficiently and productively. Just be aware that even when you eat healthy snacks you shouldn’t eat too much of them if you want to stay fit.
6. Try a treadmill or standing desk
Consider a different desk arrangement to take advantage of the health benefits of standing. According to The American Medical Association, sitting for a long time is harmful to people’s health.
They even recommend companies offer alternatives to sitting, one of them being a standing desk. “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease,” says James Levine, MD, PhD.
Undoubtedly, due to technological advancement we lead sedentary lifestyles that include very little physical activity. Although standing for a long time isn’t recommended either, it is important to find a healthy balance. For example, the least you could do is take a walk or exercise during breaks.
The average worker spends between 5 and 7 hours a day sitting and research has shown that hitting the gym after work won’t counter the negative effects of siting during most of the day. Walking will help you maintain musculoskeletal strength and tone and will improve your cardiovascular health.
Since it will help you to reduce cholesterol levels, it will lower your chances for a heart attack or stroke. Besides, if you want to lose some weight, walking is probably one of the healthiest ways to do it. Moreover, standing and walking will clear your head and you’ll be able to focus on your work more effectively.
If you decide to try a treadmill, you’ll have the possibility of exercising every day since you don’t have to worry about the weather. On the other hand, if you purchase a standing desk don’t forget to switch positions: stand for some time, and then sit down for a while. Whatever alternative you choose, you’re bound to feel a positive change in your overall well-being.
7. Go out for a walk after lunch
Make it a habit to go for a brisk walk after lunch to get some exercise and vitamin D from the sunshine. People who work from home spend most of their time indoors. Since you don’t have to commute to work, it’s easy to fall into the habit of sitting around all day. Besides, if you don’t have defined business hours, chances are you’ll be working during the entire day.
In order to make the most of your time, it’s essential that you set up some basic rules and manage your time efficiently. If your job permits, take a long lunch break and take a stroll after you’ve finished your meal. Going for a walk will help your body burn up some of the sugar in your blood and prevent it from being converted into fat.
Therefore, if you want to lose weight or stay fit and healthy, you should go for a walk after meals. Besides, sitting all day in front of a computer can have harmful effects on your body and you need to move around a bit in order to stay healthy and prevent various diseases.
Additionally, you’ll feel more relaxed and will get some relief from stress. When you return to your working place, you’ll have enough energy to complete any task you need to. Moreover, it’s easier to concentrate on your work when you’ve cleared your head and took your mind off problems even for a couple of minutes.
If you want to be as productive and efficient as possible, you need to take care of your physical and mental health. When you go for a walk, walk at a pace that is most comfortable and enjoyable to you – you don’t have to take a brisk walk in order to get the most of walking.
8. Hit the gym
The main reason people exercise is because they want to stay healthy. They either want to lose some weight or build muscles. Whatever the case, going to the gym will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your health. Since we live in an age where people don’t need to be physically active in order to do anything, it’s of the greatest importance to exercise whenever we can.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get at least half an hour of exercise five days a week. Although that may seem a lot to you, once you start exercising, you’ll never want to stop. Hitting the gym on a daily basis will strengthen your heart and lower your blood pressure.
It may also lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Consequently, exercise will lower your risk of developing heart disease or getting a stroke. Since your muscles, ligaments and joints will remain healthy, you’ll lower your chances of getting arthritis.
Additionally, going to the gym will prevent the development of some types of cancer and diabetes. The gym will also help you maintain a healthy mind. For instance, if you constantly feel tired or experience sleeping problems, exercising will improve your sleep.
Since you’ll sleep better, you’ll have more energy to focus on your work and stay active and alert during the entire day. Besides, you’ll look and feel better both on the inside and out. Not only will you reduce stress and improve your self-confidence, but you’ll also boost brainpower and sharpen your memory.
Further, when you feel relaxed and good about yourself, you’ll get more work done. Although it may take a while for you to get used to the idea of exercising daily, going to the gym will enhance every aspect of your professional and private life.
9. Walk around while taking phone calls
Sneak in some extra exercise while you talk to clients. You can keep a notebook and pen on your desk and walk to it to take notes as needed. Even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and get little or no exercise, there are ways to improve your health. A good way is to integrate more standing and walking into your daily routine. When you work from home, you’ll probably receive a lot of phone calls – and that’s where you can integrate additional walking into your life.
It’s a good idea to place your phone somewhere where you need to get up in order to reach it. This way, even when you don’t have the motivation to get up, you’ll simply have to. Although it’s very beneficial to your health to just stand up while you’re on the phone, walking around the room is even better for you!
When you get up from your desk and take a call, you’ll be able to better concentrate on the person you’re speaking with since your computer, books, papers and other materials won’t be there to distract you.
It’s advisable to buy a cordless, hands-free office phone that will enable you to freely walk around your office or house. If you want to burn additional calories, it’s wise to go from standing to sitting to standing again.
For instance, if you need to look at your computer or take a note, feel free to sit down for a little while and then get up again. When you change positions, you’ll be more alert and concentrated.
Since you work from home and have no colleagues to look at you, you could also do few squats or lunges while talking on the phone. Whatever you choose to do, just do it on a regular basis and you’ll feel and work much better.
10. Maintain good posture
Sitting and standing tall burns more calories and is good for spine health. Besides, maintaining proper posture is necessary if we want our bodies to function properly.
Good posture keeps bones and joints in alignment so that we could use our muscles in a proper way. Further, it decreases the stress on the ligaments and prevents backache and muscular pain.
Additionally, if we maintain good posture, our appearance will be better and we will feel more confident. When working from home, you spend most of your day sitting. Because of that, it is imperative that you understand the importance of sitting properly.
Namely, sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back; your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. There’s a quick and easy test if you want to check your posture. Stand with the back of your head against a wall and place your heels 6 inches from the wall.
Your shoulder blades and buttocks should touch the wall and there should be less than 2 inches between your neck and the wall. Bad posture can cause chronic back, neck and shoulder pain that could lead to headaches and fatigue. Since most people don’t exercise on a regular basis, no wonder that almost half of Americans who work suffer from back pain.
It is however necessary to stress that bad posture isn’t always caused by lack of physical activity and laziness. For example, genetics, stress or unsupportive footwear can cause bad posture. Other common causes include injuries, weak muscles or foot problems. Moreover, chairs that are too high or too low can also cause neck, back and shoulder pain. And last but not least, people who have low self-esteem tend to assume a crouched posture.
11. Get a stability ball
Consider using this seating option part-time to maintain good posture and effortlessly tone your abs. Stability balls are also known as gym balls, yoga balls, Swiss balls or exercise balls.
They are air-filled and durable. For instance, some of them can support up to 600 pounds. It is highly recommended that people who sit long hours during the day use a stability ball in order to improve spinal stability and reduce back, neck and shoulder pain.
The great part is that you don’t have to just exercise on the ball – you can use it as an alternative to your office chair. Besides from enhancing your health and posture, the exercise ball is fun to bounce on and can easily break the monotony of office work. On a more serious tone, the stability ball will do wonders for your posture.
Since it has no chair back or armchairs, you won’t have the ability to sit in an unnatural position. Consequently, you are almost forced to keep your back straight. And when you sit up tall, you simply have to use your core muscles which will do wonders for your back – chances are you won’t experience any back pain whatsoever.
However, you have to be aware of your posture since there’s a possibility you’ll slouch forward which will give you zero results. Apart from reducing some of the damage from sitting, perhaps a stability ball will inspire and motivate you to exercise – you can do stretches even when working.
Sitting on a stability ball may be harder than you think; it will often move, forcing you to change positions. And every time you switch from one leg to another, you’ll burn a few calories. Start using the exercise ball gradually until you are used to spending a few hours on it.
12. Take your vitamins
It’s hard to get all the vitamins you need from your food each and every day. Ask your doctor for recommendations on a high-quality multivitamin to keep your body functioning properly.
Since vitamins are just supplements to our diet, make sure to eat as many healthy meals as possible. Have in mind that vitamins are not food substitutes and can’t replace all the nutrients you receive from food.
“They can plug nutrition gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health — the big power is on the plate, not in a pill,” says Roberta Anding, MS, RD. However, combined with a balanced diet, vitamins are extremely advantageous to our health.
Vitamin A keeps your eyes healthy and boosts your immune system. Since most people get enough vitamin A from food be cautious not to overdose – it could lead to liver damage. But, vitamin A could do you good if you frequently have colds. Vitamin B family also boosts your immune system and improves your mood.
Further, if you’re constantly tired and lack in energy, vitamin B could be the answer to your problem. Another vitamin that will do wonders for your immune system is vitamin C. It also prevents skin aging and injuries. The daily recommended intake is 90mg, but if you’re running on empty you should take 250 to 500mg daily.
Vitamin D fights depression, cancer, and heart disease. If you experience fatigue or depression, chances are you’re deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin E keeps your brain healthy and protects you against some types of cancer (bladder and prostate cancers).
Additionally, your skin will look fresh and healthy. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.
13. Wash your hands often
This is essential all year round, not just during the summer. And just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your hands often.
Regular hand washing will protect you from many illnesses. You’ll remover germs and avoid getting sick. Numerous infectious diseases can be spread from one person to another via contaminated hands. For example, if you wash your hands regularly you could prevent getting sick with hepatitis A, influenza and gastrointestinal infections.
Being under the weather when you’re self-employed is quite different from when you work for a company. There you might be able to pull off a day in the office and still get paid; when you’re on your own, you’ll probably realize that you’re not up to tackling any money-earning projects.
You should wash your hands every time you come in contact with food; when preparing it and when eating it. Needless to say you should wash your hands after using the toilet, smoking, handling animals or trash. Also, whenever you attend to someone sick or use a handkerchief make sure to thoroughly clean your hands.
It is advisable to use warm water, however even cold water is better than no water at all. Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of soap. It contains ingredients that loosen dirt and soften the water. Some soaps might irritate you – they have different pHs; if you’re experiencing any irritation, try baby soap.
Further, liquid soap is better than ordinary, especially if many people use the same bathroom. Namely, bar soaps can easily be contaminated in which case it will cause you more harm than not washing your hands at all.
It is just as important to properly dry your hands. Moreover make sure to frequently clean your phone since you use it outdoors when your hands are dirty.
14. Reduce stress
Easier said than done, but being stressed is associated with weight gain and productivity loss. If you’re not sure what’s stressing you, or how to manage it, consult with your partner, life coach, medical professional or trusted friend for suggestions.
Stress can lead to a number of physical and mental problems and many people are experiencing the negative impact stress has on their lives. It can be hard working from your own home since you have to organize everything and manage clients on your own.
However, you need to take control of your life before you get (yourself) sick. Once you realize problems will always be there – even if you day lasted longer or if you had more money, you would probably still feel overwhelmed by the number of matters you have to deal with.
Of course it’s not easy to relax all of a sudden, but there are certain things you can do in order to feel better. For instance, physical activity will boost your energy and improve your health. If you manage to organize your time effectively and have a balance between your professional and private life, chances are you’ll reduce stress.
Needless to say alcohol and drugs will just worsen your problems, not solve them. Also avoid caffeine and energy drinks because your body won’t be able to relax. It’s also a good idea to learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing as they will help you slow down.
Last but not least, try to enjoy yourself as much as possible and spend quality time with your friends and family. Do the things you like and that make you happy. Don’t be too hard on yourself and try to learn from your mistakes. When you feel down, try to focus on all the things you appreciate and cherish in life and don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and worries with others.
15. Take A Vacation
Everyone needs a break now and then. When you start feeling exhausted and have no more energy, it’s a good idea to think about a vacation.
Since you work from home, you’re bound to spend a lot of time indoors – perhaps even working overtime in order to finish all the projects you started. Even if you set up business hours and define operating rules, there is a possibility you’ll be working more hours than people working from offices.
If you own a business, you are in charge of everything and you are responsible for everything. Therefore, in order to reduce stress or prevent an illness, you really need to slow things down. A vacation will help you recharge your batteries and take your mind off work for a few days (or weeks, if you’re lucky enough).
Not only will it improve your physical health, but also your mental skills. When you return home, your energy will be renewed and your productivity and efficiency will boost. Since you’ll be more active, it will have a positive impact on your job.
In addition, taking time off can be an excellent opportunity to meet new people, visit the places you wanted to and enjoy the things you had no time for. Besides, it will do you good to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Even though you work from home and get to see them often, a vacation will help strengthen the ties.
And another thing, if you really want to enjoy yourself, turn off your cell phone and don’t even think about bringing a computer with you. No matter how indispensable you are, you need to reward yourself occasionally for all your hard work and forget about your problems.
Never forget that there is more to life than work and you’ve earned and deserved your time off.