Being a freelancer means you have no fixed working hours and no office to go to. In other words, you get to call the shots and set your own working schedule. It sounds nice on paper, but it is often more work than expected until you get used to it. Here, we will give you 10 habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a freelancer.
Best Habits to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
The freedom also means you’ll be responsible for keeping up with appointments and maintaining a healthy diet. To avoid letting your new freelance life take over and leave you with no time for anything other than work, you must keep healthy habits from the very beginning of your new job. After all, eating right and keeping fit are two things that will help you cope with stress better and improve your performance at work in the long run.
Ensure you Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Freelancers are notorious for their irregular eating habits and poor dietary choices. As such, it is crucial that you start your day off with a healthy breakfast to keep your energy levels high and your brain fed with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function properly. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight or obese than people who skip this important meal.
Furthermore, eating breakfast has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels, better heart health, and improved cognitive function. So, what should you include in your breakfast diet? While it is true that all foods are created equal, some are healthier than others. Just make sure to avoid over-processed and high-sugar foods as much as possible .
Keep a Healthy Eating Schedule
Depending on your working hours, it might not be appropriate to eat lunch at 1 PM. Try to keep a healthy eating schedule, with three large meals with some healthy snacks like nuts and seeds in between if you feel the need. This routine will help you regulate your blood sugar levels, avoid that drowsy afternoon slump and also prevent you from overeating at dinnertime. What about dinner? This should ideally be the smallest meal of your day and should ideally be eaten 3-4 hours before bedtime.
Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime because this might disrupt sleep and prevent you from sleeping soundly. Remember that eating should be a relaxing activity, not a stressful one that you rush through because you are too busy. Take your time eating and enjoy your meals; you deserve it!
Try Intermittent Fasting
Now I know it sounds like it flies in the face of the first two points, but hear me out. Suppose you feel that three meals a day every day feels like too much planning or is disruptive to your workflow when you are in “the zone,” or you simply find yourself in a situation where access to good food choices is impossible. In that case, you should consider the intermittent fasting approach from time to time.
Intermittent fasting is a growing trend in nutrition and wellness. It’s referred to as IF for short, and it involves cycling between periods of fasting and non-fasting. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and it comes with many benefits, like weight loss and maintaining your current weight or activating your natural anti-aging mechanisms within your body.
Intermittent fasting has been used in various cultures for centuries. There are many different types of fasting, but they all have one thing in common: they involve going without food (or at least reducing the number of meals) for a set period.
There are several subtypes of intermittent fasting, each with its own pros and cons. The most common versions are the 16/8 fast or the 24-hour fasting day/two times a week.
Be aware that intermittent fasting should not be used as a crutch for bad food choices like fast food because it could do more harm than good. Instead, you should look at it like a powerful tool in your healthy habits arsenal.
Freelancers who work from home often neglect their habit of going to the gym and working out regularly. You should try to maintain this habit even working from home. You don’t need a fancy gym with all the latest equipment; you can simply go for a walk outside or do some strength training at home.
Regular exercise has been proven to benefit your physical and mental health and help you stay fit, sleep better, boost your energy levels, regulate your blood sugar levels, and regulate your appetite. It has also been shown to reduce your risk of developing various diseases and conditions like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers. Exercise can also help you relieve stress and prevent burnout if you do it regularly. So if you want to stay healthy and fit, you need to make exercise a part of your daily routine.
Don’t go for Fast Food
It is true that even if you are a freelance worker, you sometimes have to eat at your desk. For this, go for a quick bite at a nearby fast food joint. However, you should be aware that the food at these places is generally very unhealthy. Instead, you should try to prepare your food at home. In addition, you can also regulate your eating schedule as recommended above and eat at regular intervals during the day. If you have no choice, skipping a meal is better if you do not have access to good food choices when you are on the go.
Make Sure you Stay Hydrated
You lose water daily through sweat, urine, and respiratory secretions. Your kidneys and liver use this water to flush out toxins from your body. That is called daily water turnover. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will start to retain water. If you are not careful, this can lead to water retention and make you look bloated.
Water is also essential for your brain, heart, and muscles. It also helps keep your skin looking younger. During your workday, always have a water bottle to take sips whenever you feel thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks and limit coffee as much as possible, as they will dehydrate you.
Take Snacks With You
There is a good chance that, during your freelance career, you may have to deal with periods of long and tedious work. That can be especially true if you are a new freelancer still trying to get your name out there. To avoid falling into the trap of eating unhealthy snacks at your desk, try preparing ahead your own healthy snacks. This way, you will be less likely to succumb to temptation, especially if you work from home. Some healthy snacks you can take with you to avoid unhealthy snacking include dried fruits, nuts, seeds, yogurt, granola bars, apples, carrots, bananas, oranges, whole-wheat crackers, and cheese.
Go for Walks During your Coffee Break
Freelancers often don’t have a fixed schedule where they attend to all their appointments and then have an hour-long lunch break. Instead, they have to fit everything into the time they have available. You might be tempted to start your morning with a cup of coffee and give up on maintaining a healthy diet again.
However, this is not a good idea if you want to stay fit and healthy. Instead, you can try walking during your coffee break. Simply walk around the block or your garden and then return to your desk, feeling refreshed and more energetic.
Maintain a Bedtime Routine and Sleep Enough
If you are working from home, you are likely to be the master of your own schedule. As such, you can set your bedtime and sleeping hours as you please. However, you should try to maintain a bedtime routine and sleep enough to remain healthy. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a day are at a higher risk of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancers.
Furthermore, insufficient sleep has also been linked with poorer cognitive performance, lower productivity at work, and increased health problems such as stress and anxiety. So, what should you do to maintain a healthy sleeping routine and get enough sleep? First, you should try to get 8 hours of sleep each night. However, only some can sleep for 8 hours. If this is the case for you, you can maintain a healthy sleeping routine by going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
All these tips will help you keep a healthy lifestyle as long as you are consistent but remember that you should also enjoy life from time to time. Anniversaries, family gatherings, or important milestones should be celebrated without holding back. So enjoy that cake, that shimmery and bubbly champagne, or that juicy burger at that backyard barbecue that your friend invited you to – it will do wonders for your mental health.
Freelancers have the luxury of choosing when and where they work. That being said, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping fit is crucial if you want to be productive and be at your best mentally and physically. You can quickly start your day off on the right foot and give yourself a head start by eating a healthy breakfast.
If you are working from home, you can prepare your own snacks and even try going on a quick walk during your coffee break. Moreover, you can also try to maintain a bedtime routine and get enough sleep every night to feel rested and healthy. Also, don’t forget to enjoy life from time to time. These simple habits will go a long way in helping you maintain a healthy diet and be more productive at work during your freelance career.
 Ruxton, C., & Kirk, T. (1997). Breakfast: A review of associations with measures of dietary intake, physiology and biochemistry. British Journal of Nutrition, 78(2), 199-213. doi:10.1079/BJN19970140