Being a full-time freelancer or business owner is a treat, yes? If you work from home the commute is stress-free. Your refrigerator is close at hand and you don’t have to worry about your co-workers stealing your yogurt. You are the master of your own schedule and your own hours. Ideal, right?
Now let’s turn this around just a bit. With no commute and working from home I could potentially shuffle from my bed to my office (225 steps away). Walking to the refrigerator adds an additional 350 steps. Round trip I am logging close to 600 steps. Not much. Factor in that I work from about 8 am until 5 pm with a 45 minute (if I’m lucky) break for lunch and the two or three potty breaks that Henrietta requires and you can easily see that I am not getting anywhere near my 10,000 steps a day.
Be honest. Do you live a healthy lifestyle? Mine is healthier because of Henrietta, but depending on the weather she doesn’t love to be out for too long so it can be a quick trip to the out of doors and then it’s back to work.
Fast forward to a breast cancer diagnosis and a knowledge that, “If I want to remain a viable (and healthy) business owner I need to take charge of my health and get up and get moving. I invested in a treadmill that is behind my desk in my office. I get up and walk on that for ten minutes every half hour throughout the day and I also make certain that Henrietta and I walk enough by day’s end to assure I am getting my 10,000 steps in. Don’t let a health issue be your wake up call.
Here are my tips for steps you can take to be a healthier (and happier) business owner or freelancer:
Just do it. Nike had it right with that motto. In order to get a healthy lifestyle you need to be aware of it and consciously plan for it. I am motivated by gadgets and know that my FitBit and my S-Health app on my smart phone keep me on track. Simply checking my step count pushes me to add in just a few more. If it gets to be close to bed time and I haven’t gotten my 10,000 steps in I will march in place in the bedroom until I hit them. Getting fit is a commitment. Give yourself 21 days to build your fitness habit. The statistics on the damage to our health from a sedentary lifestyle are frightening.
Join a gym. If you are motivated by group activities, then a gym might be better for you than being solitary in checking your health stats. For me, there are too many hardbodies at a gym for this softbody like me to be able to be comfortable. I know that being self-conscious about going to a gym will keep me away from it. Perhaps you’d be motivated to work with a personal trainer at the gym. In order to know the best way for you to get in shape is to know yourself.
Get away from your desk. If, like me, you do computer work for your business, chances are you are sitting in front of that screen all day. I urge you to not eat your lunch at your desk. Step away. Make your lunch. Eat at the kitchen table. Make a conscious effort to eat a healthy lunch and get away from the electronics. Your healthy self will thank you. Consider your lunch time sacred and plan for it. Once you’re done with lunch, take a walk with your dog. Read a book during your lunch time.
Sit up straight! Spending time at your desk means you have to make certain that your desk, your keyboard, your mouse and your chair are supportive of you and provide ergonomic benefits. If you have back issues look for a chair with back support. If you have carpal tunnel issues, use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
Make good food choices. Never let it be said that I shun snacks. In the past I would opt for a lighter dinner just so I could have a snack when I was watching television. What?! Now I make sure that I have cut up fruits and veggies in the refrigerator. I do love pretzels so I keep them in the house for when I am craving a salty snack. When I am craving something sweet I have a bag of Dove candies in the refrigerator, just one of those delicious dark chocolate bits can stop me from reaching for a bag of donuts. I also have a tiny garden where I can grab some fresh peas or a tomato. There are always salad fixings in the house. Eating healthy doesn’t mean I always have to deprive myself. If I am craving pizza for dinner I will treat myself to that and I make certain I have really kept to a healthy diet that day.
If you work from home and if you have pets you have a built in reminder to get up and move and that’s a good thing! Your business could suffer if your health suffers.
What are your best tips for a healthy, happy freelance lifestyle? I’d love to know and learn from you!