Working as a freelancer, one becomes very accustomed to stereotypes about the profession – lazy work days on the couch, completing your projects in your pajamas, and lots of late nights up with coffee before big deadlines. Unfortunately, many of those stereotypes are a reality for freelance workers, especially from mounting pressure to stay competitive in the freelance market during these difficult economic times. However, most workers agree – across a wide variety of freelance professions – that they do better work when well-rested, emotionally balanced, and physically healthy. For this reason, it is critical that freelance workers practice self-care and get proper exercise, eat healthily, and get enough rest to stay fit.

Keeping Fit As A Freelancer

How The Nature of Freelance Work Can Keep You Bound to Coffee – and the Couch

Working on your own schedule as a freelancer can be an incredibly rewarding experience, especially since you are given the freedom to manage your own time, complete work at your own pace, and have plenty of time for relaxation and self-care. Or so you would like to think: how many projects, even after putting in all necessary effort and managing your time well throughout the project duration, have been completed at 3:00 am while you lounge on the couch and chug espresso shots? Perhaps it sounds dramatic, but researchers have discovered that freelance workers, despite all of their freedom, tend to be horrible at practicing self-care. At the end of a working week, it can be difficult to want to do anything but catch up on sleep over the weekend – but it is important for freelancers to get up, get exercise, and get proper nutrition.

Keep it Moving: How to Schedule Fitness into Your Freelance Routine

Some freelance workers practice a modified version of the Pomodoro Technique, in that they work for twenty-five minutes at a high intensity, and then take a break for five or ten minutes. Fit freelancers use this break to do calisthenics, to practice healthy stretching habits, or even jump rope. Five minutes might not seem like much at the time, but it adds up to forty minutes of working out over the course of a normal eight or nine hour workday. Many freelancers also choose to schedule a daily workout with a workout buddy, helping them to interact with friends to counteract the nature of constantly working to serve remote clients. Learn what works best for you: some feel more energized to work after a morning workout and find that they are more productive post-workout. Others feel sluggish after a workout, and would rather commit to working out before bed. There are benefits and drawbacks to each option, but ultimately, it is most important to choose workout time that you will actually make and keep a daily commitment to.

Making Time For Fitness: Incorporating Healthy Work Habits Into Your Freelance Job

Working out after a poor night’s sleep can be a nightmare, and can lead to inefficiencies during your workout. Lack of sleep can even increase your risk of injury while you exercise, as your balance functions in the brain are not well-calibrated, and the If you don’t make time for a healthy sleep regimen, nobody else will – so take care of yourself and aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. This amount of sleep will allow you to recharge your brain so that you work more efficiently and effectively on your freelance projects, and will also help your body rejuvenate itself and feel more energized.

Speaking of energy – are you suffering from an extreme caffeine addiction? If so, you aren’t alone – most freelancers report using coffee, energy drinks, and caffeine pills to help boost their energy while working on projects for their top clients. Yet cutting the caffeine down to one or two cups of coffee a day can lead to increased fitness levels without causing your projects to crash. Weaning yourself off of caffeinated beverages, one cup each day, can allow your body to stay hydrated, and will release a lof of the tension buildup in your neck and shoulders. Without the constant caffeine overdose, you will begin to work off of your own natural energy, and will not feel constantly tired throughout your working day. It is better to have some fitness equipment ready within reach and do some workout or stretching in your breaks – it can also energize you and help you keep fit and healthy while not taking a lot of time away from working.