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4 rules for staying healthy (especially for freelancers)

There are only four things you really need to look after to stay healthy: ensure your body gets enough water, food, exercise and rest.

1.  Water

No matter what type of work you do, it’s important to remember to drink water during the day. The less water you drink, the lower your IQ and the harder it is to concentrate and comprehend.

So drink water while you work and drink plenty of it, especially if:

  • you’re working in an air-conditioned or heated office, or live in a very hot place (where you can become dehydrated without realising it), and/or
  • you’re engrossed in your typing, writing or editing task (which tends to make you forget everything else, including the need to drink water).

2.  Food

When you are busy working, and especially if you are working alone, it’s easy to become so engrossed in your work that you forget to eat until you’ve finished whatever task you had been working on. So, if you work in a home-based business, you need to make sure your kitchen contains plenty of food that can be eaten quickly by a ravenous person. If you work somewhere else, make sure you take plenty of snack food to your workplace.

‘Food’ doesn’t mean cake or biscuits, muffins or doughnuts, jellybeans or other sugary concoctions that don’t help your body or your brain.

‘Food’ means that stuff that gives your mind and body what it needs:  low-GI carbs, vitamins and protein. The food I keep in my kitchen for quick fixes during a busy work day are tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, almonds, cheese. Cold meatballs from the  night before. Boiled eggs. A small tin of salmon can be wolfed down in a two-minute break. A sandwich can be whipped up in a minute and eaten in five or ten. Note: if you have special dietary requirements, eat what works for you.

If you eat real food instead of rubbish, you’ll work better, be much healthier and probably live longer.

3.  Exercise

In addition to exercising a little during your breaks during the day, you need at least 30 minutes of actual exercise every day to stay healthy.

Some people work out in gyms. Others ride exercise bikes in their living rooms. Others run or jog or swim or walk – alone, with their dogs or with their friends. Between 10 to 30 minutes of walking or other brisk exercise will release your endorphins and make you happier as well as healthier.

4.  Rest

We all know pretty well how many hours’ sleep we need each night to stay happy, relaxed and functioning. My minimum is eight hours; yours may be seven, or nine.

If we haven’t had enough sleep, our brain doesn’t work properly. We drop things, forget things, make mistakes. So, it’s important to always try to get the amount of beauty sleep we need.

It’s also important to get some down time after work, so you can relax and be yourself instead of being a work-machine.  Otherwise, you can end up working all the time and forget to live.

Read more about work-life balance

Tips for work-life balance when working from home

How many hours do you need to work?

Nobody’s perfect – trying to find perfect work-life balance

This article is based on my own experiences and research into healthy lifestyles including diet and exercise.

Image: Pixabay – Creative Commons licence (no attribution required)


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