Avoid social isolation
To stay healthy and motivated, it is important not to feel socially isolated in our home offices. Once the initial excitement about being able to work in your pyjamas and not having to commute to a stuffy office wears off, some freelancers may feel alone and cut off from the rest of the world. Some work long hours and rarely leave their home. According to a Viking survey, nearly two-thirds (64%) of freelancers reported that their job makes them feel lonely on a daily basis.
Here are some steps you can take to avoid feeling socially isolated:
1. Stick to fixed office hours and socialize after work.
2. Network with fellow freelance professionals in your area.
3. Arrange regular lunch dates with friends or colleagues.
4. Join a local business group and attend their meetups.
5. Use social media to network and talk to others.
6. Join a co-working community and work there a couple of times a week.
7. Go for walks or join a gym to get out and active during breaks.
8. Ensure your office is welcoming and tidy to help you stay motivated.
Eat healthily and exercise
- Do you currently exercise regularly or make time for relaxation every day?
- How does your current arrangement makes you feel?
- Do you feel you have enough energy every day?
Healthy eating and exercise are essential for everyone, and especially so for solopreneurs working from home. Remember that your health is your most important asset, so make sure you look after it. Many freelance jobs are sedentary, and working long hours at a desk every day and the resulting inactivity can be harmful to your health and cause severe physical issues.
Maintain a good work/life balance
Chances are you became a solopreneur to be your own boss and manage your own time. So do you really want to spend all of your time working? Work is work, and leisure time is leisure time. Set your working hours and stick to them. Switch off your smartphone at night — you really don’t need to check your messages at 1 AM. Being a freelancer gives you the freedom to spend time with family and friends any time if that’s your choice. Schedule regular coffee dates with friends and make sure you attend your children’s sports events. If you miss a couple of hours in the office every once in a while, that’s perfectly OK. Always remember why you became a freelancer in the first place.
We all know about the benefits of regular exercise, but all too often we skip it and make excuses. See exercise as ‘me’ time and schedule it into your daily routine. 15 minutes during your coffee breaks twice a day is enough if you can’t fit in longer sessions. A long walk during your lunch break will also do the trick and clear your head at the same time. When working from home, getting out into the fresh air regularly is a must.
Exercise also releases stress and makes you feel more alert. A definite bonus for creative work.
If you’re not too keen on exercise, you may want to consider a standing desk or a treadmill desk. As the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle are becoming more and more known, these types of desks are becoming increasingly popular.
My personal favorites are vibration plates. As they should only be used for ten minutes at a time, they are perfect for getting up once every hour to stretch your legs and loosen up. Vibration plates are small enough to fit in any office and are available in a range of different price categories.
It’s all too easy for solopreneurs who work from home to gain a few pounds when they first establish their home office. This is generally down to the sedentary lifestyle and the suddenly unrestricted access to snacks that can be whipped up whenever they want. To avoid piling on extra weight or turning to unhealthy meals and snacks, establish a healthy eating regime early in your freelance career and your health will likely thank you for it later.
Go to your cupboard right now and throw out all those unhealthy chocolate snack bars and jellybeans. Make sure that you always have a supply of healthy snacks available at home, so you are not tempted to devour the first chocolate bar you come across. Snacks that are perfect for keeping on the desk all day are a bowl of grapes or salted nuts for whenever you feel peckish. Avoid sugary foods as you will crash and feel extra-tired after the initial sugar rush wears off.
If you are usually pressed for time during the day, prepare a healthy lunch the night before so you just have to open the fridge and enjoy it. This can be a salad, a healthy wrap or a hot meal that can be microwaved in seconds. If something is already prepared and doesn’t require a lot of effort, you are more likely to choose the healthy option.
Always keep a bottle of water on your desk and avoid energy drinks or other soft drinks. Staying hydrated is crucial if you want to stay at the top of your game.
Try yoga and meditation
It is important to schedule some time to relax and calm down every day, especially in busy times. A great way to do this from the comfort of your home office is to complete one of the free 10 to 30-minute yoga classes at Yogadownload.com. They are short and effective and will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Try to fit one into your lunch or coffee break every day!
Even if you’ve never considered meditation, those who have tried it swear by its benefits. Take a look at the InnerSpaceMediation YouTube channel for a selection of very short guided meditation videos. They are only a few minutes long and definitely worth a try. If you find them beneficial, try to listen to one at certain points throughout your day to refocus.
Looking after your mental and physical health will increase your chances to enjoy the freelance lifestyle for a long time to come.