Self-employment has plenty of benefits. You set your own hours, choose your own clients and (for the most part) get to enjoy your day-to-day tasks. But self-employment is busy, or at least you hope it is. While business picks up, it’s easy to overlook important duties like keeping yourself healthy.
Being healthy lets you remain focused on your business, allowing you to reap the rewards of increased productivity and concentration. A healthy body begets a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is pliable and creative, empowering you to overcome day-to-day entrepreneurial challenges.
Staying healthy doesn’t necessarily require a P90X fitness routine or nutritionist-approved diet. Simple lifestyle changes, like nonchalantly eating a healthy snack between meals and stretching every hour, can have long-lasting results.
Here are six opportunities for you to improve your health while working for yourself.
1. Have an Office
Having someplace to call an office is crucial to your mental health — even if it’s a nook in your home. Create a space that is only used for work. That means avoiding the bed, couch or kitchen table. Bringing work activities to these areas can interfere with your brain’s ability to detach from work stressors, which can create mental ties that keep your mind occupied with professional obligations whenever you lay in bed, make a meal or watch TV.
When you’re designing or selecting an office space, consider what type of desk you want to use. Slaving away at traditional desk for long periods of time can leave you feeling lethargic, distracted and stiff. Practically anybody who has worked a typical office job can attest to this. Or you could consider a treadmill desk. A standing desk is another option. These variations are a trendy, healthy answer to sitting for nearly the entire workday.
2. Support Your Back
If you work at a computer it’s important to invest in a comfortable, ergonomically sound chair. Choose a chair properly sized for you. It should keep your back and shoulders properly aligned throughout the day. While you’re at it, make time to stand up from your chair and stretch. Do this at least once an hour.
It’s easy to forget about stretching, so set an alarm or timer app on your phone or computer to remind you to stretch. Set it to go off at the top of every hour. Take five minutes, stretch, and walk around for a bit to let your body recover from prolonged sitting.
3. Subscribe to Regular, Moderate Exercise
As previously stated, working for yourself means you set the schedule. Use that to your advantage to find an exercise routine that you enjoy. Not sure what type of exercise you want to do? Try a few different options through a deal site before you commit to a monthly membership. This is also a great way to mix up your exercise routines, so you don’t become bored or stagnant in your exercise regimen. Whatever exercise routine you choose to adapt, remember to stay consistent and schedule time for your workout in the daily calendar.
4. Maintain a Work-life Balance
Making sure your work life doesn’t overthrow your personal time is tricky. Keep yourself accountable and balance your responsibilities by tracking your work hours and giving yourself hard start and stop times each day. Also, avoid working on weekends.
It’s helpful to take time away from your business and focus on improving other areas of your life, like pursuing passions and taking time to recharge. Taking time for yourself is shown to increase happiness, productivity and creativity, all valuable factors in your overall health.
Maintaining a proper work-life balance isn’t just about taking time for yourself. Make time for friends, family and your community, too. A strong sense of community and personal connections keep us healthy. Don’t let yourself invest too much in your business if it means sacrificing connections with friends and loved ones.
5. Stock Healthy Snacks
Self-employed workers are prone to being grazers and snacking throughout the day on whatever is available. It is easy to wander into the kitchen and grab the closest, potentially unhealthy snack. Instead of letting chips, soda, beer or candy be part of your daily snacking routine, choose to stock your kitchen counters with fruits and vegetables. Keep your delicious junk food hidden away in cabinets and make a concerted effort to make a healthy snack an easy alternative.
If you are unsure what constitutes as a healthy snack, do some research or opt for a snack subscription service that can deliver healthy snacks directly to your office.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Caffeine, grit and willpower only keep you functioning for so long. Like it or not, sleep is a necessary part of our daily lives. About 38 percent of U.S. adults report they don’t get enough sleep and unintentionally fell asleep during the day at least once during the previous month. Being tired leads to sloppy work. Ensure you’re putting your best foot forward by getting a proper night’s sleep.
Spending eight hours or more dutifully working in front of a computer, five days a week takes its toll on your physical and mental health. You must concern yourself with burnout, avoiding eye strain and stalling tension neck syndrome, all while ensuring your business still meets its goals. But a bit of preparation and enough ample breaks can help you succeed on multiple fronts.
Take time to start putting these practices into your daily routine. You owe it to yourself and your business to be the best-possible version of yourself.