This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
Freelance writing, as opposed to other careers, can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial. You can work from home, choose your own projects, and interact with a diverse range of clients. However, like any profession, freelance writing also comes with its challenges. One of the most prominent hurdles you’re likely to face is the task of maintaining your wellness. The nature of freelance work is not always conducive to good health practices. Yet, committing to regular efforts to bolster your well-being can be crucial to ensure your long-term success and overall quality of life.
Get to know the risks
As a freelance writer, it’s important to recognize the varied and sometimes surprising health risks associated with working from home. Some of these are physical in nature, stemming from a sedentary working practice or spending too long in front of a screen. Others impact mental wellness, such as a lack of interactions with other people or the tendency to work for too long. By understanding these risks, you can take proactive measures to safeguard your health and ensure a sustainable and fulfilling career.
Some of the key risks to recognize include:
If you work from home, you may inevitably write from spaces that are not ergonomically designed, resulting in improper posture. Improper posture while writing can result in musculoskeletal problems, including neck and shoulder strain, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), and carpal tunnel syndrome. Similarly, you may sit too often while working from home, which may trigger or exacerbate back and neck pain.
Freelancer writers often have unpredictable work schedules. You may be working with clients across international time zones or contributing to projects with tight deadlines. This might disrupt sleep patterns and lead to sleep deprivation. A failure to set effective schedules may disrupt your work-life balance, heighten stress levels, and lead to burnout over time.
Isolation and loneliness
Freelance writing tends to be a relatively solitary activity. As a result, you may find your work can be isolating, particularly if you work hours that aren’t conducive to spending time with your friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and decreased motivation. It might also put you at a higher risk of developing mental health challenges such as depression.
Actions to boost physical wellness
As a freelance writer, it’s crucial to prioritize your physical health to counteract the sedentary nature of your work. By incorporating simple yet effective practices into your daily routine, you can improve your overall well-being and productivity.
Some of the key steps you can take to safeguard your physical wellness include:
Make exercise a priority
Engaging in regular physical activity is essential for combating the negative effects of sitting for long hours. Schedule dedicated exercise sessions into your daily routine, whether it’s a brisk walk, or a workout at the gym. Not only can these activities improve your physical health, but they may also boost your energy levels and stimulate creativity.
Optimize your workspace
If your writing is a plant, your workspace is the soil that provides the proper environment for growth. This environment should be stress-free and most importantly, comfortable and ergonomic. Ensure your chair and desk are at the proper height to support good posture. Position your computer monitor at eye level to avoid neck and eye strain. Investing in a supportive chair can also be helpful. However, it’s worth considering a standing desk or an adjustable desk converter.
Practice eye care
Staring at a screen for prolonged periods can cause eye strain and fatigue. To protect your eyes, it’s important to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Essentially, this involves remembering to stop what you’re doing every 20 minutes so you can focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s also important to consider how blue light from screens can affect your eyes, affecting your circadian rhythm. When using your smartphone at night, it’s a good idea to use the warm-shifted Night Mode in your phone’s display that most smartphone makers provide these days.
Strategies for mental wellbeing
The nature of freelance work, with its inherent challenges and uncertainties, can impact your mental state. By implementing effective strategies, you can enhance your psychological and emotional well-being and foster a positive mindset.
Some useful approaches to supporting your mental wellness include:
Practice mindfulness and stress management
One of the benefits of freelancing is that you likely have greater flexibility in your working hours. So, take a few minutes throughout each day to engage in the best techniques for stress management. Muslims use dhikr (remembrance of Allah) to obtain tranquility in their hearts. These practices can help calm your mind, improve focus, and increase resilience in the face of work-related challenges.
Consider your diet
The food you consume can impact your stress levels and overall mental health. For instance, candy can prompt blood sugar spikes and crashes that trigger feelings of anxiety. Unfortunately, it can be easy to resort to junk foodstuffs when freelancing. Instead, you should focus on meals and snacks rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, as these elements are part of a balanced diet.
Nurture a supportive network
As we outlined previously, freelance writing can sometimes feel isolating. To avoid this, you must cultivate a supportive network. Join online writing communities, participate in writing groups, or attend networking events. Connecting with others who understand the unique challenges of freelance work can provide valuable support, inspiration, and even positive opportunities for collaboration.
While freelance writing offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges to maintaining overall wellness. Recognizing the risks associated with freelancing is essential for taking proactive measures to protect your health. Prioritizing physical wellness involves incorporating regular exercise, optimizing your workspace, and practicing eye care. To promote mental well-being, strategies such as mindfulness and stress management, mindful eating, and building a supportive network are valuable.
Alongside adopting these strategies, remember that each freelance writer’s journey is unique. It’s crucial to experiment, adapt, and find a wellness routine that suits your individual needs.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.