9 Tips for Maintaining Your Physical Health as a Freelancer

Being a freelancer has its perks. You completely avoid the hassles of rush hour traffic, choose your projects and set your schedule. Plus, there’s no hard cap on how much you can earn, much unlike the traditional 9-to-5. However, like any other career path, freelancing has its downsides. While the occupational hazards might not be as pronounced, the sedentary lifestyle associated with working from home presents a range of physical and mental health issues. Here are a few tips for maintaining your physical health as a freelancer.

Know the Risks

As a freelance professional, recognizing the inherent and sometimes surprising health risks is key to maintaining your physical well-being and being your best self daily. Some of these may also impact your mental wellness and manifest in the quality of your work, ultimately affecting your bottom line.

Prolonged Sitting

Being a freelancer means sitting in front of a screen for hours on end. Staying in such a position for long periods with little to no physical activity vastly increases your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and joint issues. Recent studies suggest people who sit for lengthy periods have a 16% higher risk of mortality from all causes.

No Assisted Health Insurance

If you’ve recently transitioned from full-time employment to freelancing, you’ll immediately recognize you’re now solely responsible for keeping up with your health insurance premiums. The alternative is not to have coverage at all, which is decidedly riskier.

Isolation and Loneliness

Freelancing tends to be a relatively solitary activity, so you’ll often be cut off from casual interactions with family and friends for extended periods. Over time, this isolation can trigger feelings of loneliness and lead to motivation loss.

Irregular Schedules

As a freelancer, you often have unpredictable work schedules catering to clients across international time zones. This can cause your natural sleeping and eating patterns to get out of whack. Soon, this disjointed timetable will start to affect other aspects of your everyday life, like personal hygiene and family time.

9-tips-for-maintaining-your-physical-health-as-a-freelancer-copywriter-collective-29 Tips for Maintaining Their Physical Health

Incorporate these healthy habits into your freelancing lifestyle to support your body’s well-being and excel in your work.

1. Make Exercise a Priority

Experts say being physically active for just 22 minutes a day can drastically reduce the heightened mortality risk from a sedentary lifestyle. These would have to be moderate to vigorous workouts, like jogging, swimming, dancing or even cycling.

The easiest way to do this is to pick a specific time of day for your chosen exercise and commit to it without fail. As time passes, this commitment will become a habit ingrained into your everyday routine.

2. Never Compromise on Quality Sleep

Sleep is your body’s recovery mechanism, meaning it’s essential to your performance and state of mind at the start of your day. If you don’t make time to sleep, you’ll go through the day battling feelings of fatigue and mental exhaustion. There’s only so much coffee you can chug during your work hours, so be deliberate about your priorities and ensure quality sleep is one of them.

3. Protect Your Vision

Digital eye strain affects many freelancers, as their duties require them to be in front of computer and mobile device screens for long hours. The best way to avoid this is to reduce your screen time, but that’s not always a viable option in this line of work. Simple practices like the 20-20-20 rule, blinking more often, and adjusting your room’s lighting can protect your eyes and keep you feeling good while working.

4. Let Food Be Your Medicine

Working from home doesn’t always mean having enough time to cook your own meals. Even so, you should be deliberate about what you eat.

Prioritize foods that check off as many nutritional requirements as possible in a single meal. For instance, seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to promoting heart health, reducing joint pain and improving brain performance.

5. Hydrate Often

Roughly half of American adults drink less than the daily recommended 48 oz of water. Working while dehydrated is a huge risk factor in most acute illnesses. Consider placing a large water bottle within your line of sight when you work so you’re more likely to pick it up now and then.

Make your water healthier and more refreshing by adding a few lemon slices. Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants and other minerals essential to healthy living.

6. Take Regular Breaks

Your mind may wander more often or become increasingly disinterested in a task when you’ve been working for an extended period without a break. Schedule short pauses to help refresh your brain throughout your workday. This could be a quick walk to the next room, a few minutes of stretching or briefly looking away from the computer to relax your eyes.

7. Keep a Clean Environment

A cluttered, unkempt work area increases your risk of exposure to dust and other allergens. Being surrounded by so much disorganization can also lead to cognitive overload, making it harder to focus. Block some time off every weekend to clean your workspace. A simple dusting can protect your physical and mental health.

8. Work on Your Posture

The effects of poor posture are no joke — back pain, joint stiffness, spinal dysfunction, tilted neck and more. Make a conscious effort to keep your body in symmetric alignment by sitting up straight and keeping your head at a comfortable distance from your computer. It would also help to get an ergonomic chair that supports your spinal alignment and lumbar area.

9. Schedule an Annual Checkup

Make it a point to do a physical exam at least once a year. These checkups provide visibility into your body’s health, giving you a clearer picture of what to do and avoid. Regular screenings also increase your chances of detecting diseases early, when they’re usually easier to treat. Remember to monitor your changing health requirements as you grow older and attend all recommended screenings.

Maintaining Your Physical Health as a Freelancer

Embracing a healthier freelance lifestyle begins with you deciding to do so. As you’re actively juggling client projects and outreach work to land more clients, you must be proactive about maintaining a healthy body and mind. Follow these tips to start prioritizing your physical well-being.

Continue Reading: How to Stay Healthy as a Freelance Writer: Lifestyle Advice

Cora Gold, Freelance Copywriter

About the Author

Cora Gold is a freelance writer and editor of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She writes about freelance writing tips and career advice for publications including Wrkfrce, StartupNation and Mediabistro. Connect with Cora on LinkedIn and X.