The rewards of working from home are countless, but the freedom does come at a cost.
The thing that almost always gets away from you in your pursuit of clients and Gigs is also, arguably, the most important: your physical health. Sitting at your desk often means barely moving an inch for hours while also potentially noshing on cookies, bags of Cheetos, sour candy, and a myriad of less-than-ideal snacks. You might skip meals here and there; maybe even skate by on five hours of sleep. All in all, you’re not doing your body any favors.
That’s okay—but now’s the time to take action. Here’s how to be healthy when you work from home.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – every fitness coach I’ve ever talked to
There’s a lot of truth to that: If you spend time planning, you’ll know what healthy meal is within reach, avoid filling your grocery cart with Twinkies and cans of aerosol cheese, and not end up crushing a pint of ice cream for breakfast because you forgot to go grocery shopping.
Eating well begets better work (and a nicer mood), in my experience. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. Simple ingredients go a long way. Frozen vegetables are great. Kitchen tools like slow cookers and rice cookers are totally worth the investment.
The point is, plan to make your meals ahead of time so when your to-do list gets chaotic you know you have easy access to a healthy meal.
Keep Snacks Out of the House
You know how when you’re trying to procrastinate on that project you might find yourself going to the kitchen, like, 50 times? This procrastination and boredom can lead to a greater tendency to snack even if you’re not hungry.
The key to fight back is to keep snacks out of the house, or at the very least, out of sight. Studies show that if food is visible, you’re more likely to eat it. So if you have other family members around who prefer to snack, kindly request that they put snacks stashed away in the cupboard, not in plain sight on the kitchen counter, for example.
If you really have a hankering for something like chocolate, you might want to try a “buffer food.” It quiets that inner food monster, but lets you still feel good about the choice you’ve made. A few dark chocolate squares, a handful of pretzels, or a tablespoon of peanut butter are examples of buffer foods.
Walk It Off
I can tell you to simply “walk more,” but will you do it just because I told you to? Heck no. However, what if I said that in order to do good work that keeps clients coming back for more, you need to keep your mental energy topped up. And taking walks is one way of doing that.
You just need 15 to 20 minutes outside in the sun, if possible. Not only do you move your body and feel rejuvenated, you might even find that the extra movement and sunlight could help you solve a problem that had previously stumped you or strike you with new inspiration and creativity.
I take walks all the time just to get up and move, but also to mull over ideas. These regular walks have allowed me to happen upon plenty of breakthroughs that led to great work.
You Are Responsible for Your Own Health
When you work for yourself and on your own schedule, there’s no one to hold you accountable to how you treat yourself.
But the world is not your mother. It will not remind you to take care of yourself. Only you can do that. This goes without saying, but the healthier and fitter you feel, the more confident you are; and this confidence can proliferate to many areas in your life, including your freelance business.
What are some tricks you use to stay healthy while working at home or in an office? Tell us in the comments below!