Working as a freelance writer has a lot of different advantages and benefits for you depending on how you structure your business but it also has some potential downsides if you don’t remember to stay active and get up and move every so often.
In fact, there has been plenty of academic research that show that sitting for too long every single day has many negative health impacts.
The American Heart Association even shared a study recently indicating that even going for a run or getting some good exercise couldn’t eliminate the downsides of sitting. For this reason, you need to be smart with your time.
Being aware of this and doing everything you can to counteract this can be extremely important for ensuring that you have a successful business as well as prioritizing your health and wellness.
5 Health Tips for Freelance Writers
Here are some steps that you can take in order to maximize staying active and avoiding health concerns while working as a freelance writer.
I. Work Smart
Don’t waste time. Have you ever heard of the Pareto principle? It’s the idea that our work expands to fill all the time to completion. Remember those college papers where you only had two hours to get it done and somehow you managed to get it in one minute before the deadline?
You probably could have spent three days working on and logged more hours. This doesn’t always mean you should rush to the finish line, but set a hard rule about how many hours you’ll sit per day. Block in time to get up and move around.
Once you leave your office for the day, challenge yourself to avoid sitting for as much of your free time as possible. Run errands, exercise, or play with the kids.
II. Minimize Your Typing Time
Too much typing time can lead to carpal tunnel and this can an extremely painful condition to work with.
Once you trigger carpal tunnel, it can make it even more challenging to continue typing and your speed will also slow down significantly as a result. Make sure that you chart out your typing time every single day and limit it so that you do not begin to feel pain.
In the event that you’re working on a major project and need to meet a deadline, sometimes anti-inflammatories like peppermint oil can help you to push through and lead it to finish.
There are also some different carpal tunnel wrist guards that you can wear to minimize the problem but the most important thing to do is to cut down on how often you type and ensure that you’re using proper typing posture.
Knowing your schedule well and giving your clients realistic deadlines can take off some of the pressure to be writing all day, every day.
You probably have a set number of hours per day that you can successfully write without experiencing pain, and keeping your schedule in line with this not only helps you minimize physical issues associated with typing and sitting, but it also means you’re more focused and deliver better work to your clients, too.
III. Take Breaks
One of the most important things you can do to minimize the impacts of how often you are sitting in a chair is to get up regularly. Once every 25 minutes or 50 minutes, take a break to go do something else.
I like to walk on the treadmill, take a walk outside or do some cleaning and errands around the house in order to separate me mentally and physically from my work.
Another benefit of taking strategic breaks is that it has been shown to improve concentration.
Bear in mind, however, that even taking breaks for exercise doesn’t mean that you will eradicate all of the impacts of sitting for such a long period of time. Research has shown that even exercising does not take away from the health problems associated with sitting too often.
IV. Convert to Standing Whenever Possible
There are lots of different blog articles and how-to suggestions out there about the benefits of using a standing desk at least part of your work day. Make sure that you have a good floor mat to stand on and prepare yourself because the first couple of days of working at a standing desk can be extremely painful.
I work in a standing position 2-3 days a week and it was very hard to transition into this. But getting the right tools, having the proper posture and ensuring that the standing desk, whether DIY or custom made, is at the right height for you can go a long way towards minimizing a lot of problems. You might even begin to feel better simply because you are standing so often.
V. Schedule Your Activities
Remaining active is one way to combat the effects of sitting so often but it also gives you space from your work in order to come up with new ideas and feel as though you’re getting a break.
Scheduling in your activities by going to fitness classes, setting appointments with a personal trainer or having hours blocked out in your calendar (ie, time-block your days) where people cannot claim phone calls because you are working out is strongly recommended.
Treat that appointment in your calendar like it’s something you cannot change. If you see your group workout class or your appointment with a trainer as a must-do, it’s easier to get out of the office and stay active.
Your Exercise Regimen as a Freelance Writer?
What do you do to stay physically active and minimize all the disadvantages of sitting as a freelancer? You can share in the comments section below.
Author Bio: Laura is a former inner city teacher and corporate employee who fled the grind in 2012 to work at home. She specializes in SEO content for law firms and insurance agencies, writing everything from ebooks to blogs to video scripts. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and blogs at SixFigureWritingSecrets.com.
P.S.: Here’s How to Start Earning $100-$250+/Day as a Freelance Writer.
I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job. Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!
SEO writing changed the trajectory of my freelance writing career. It can do the same for you!