Many people view the life of freelancers or self-employed individuals as rewarding.
They enjoy more freedom and flexibility by working in the comfort of their homes or any place with a fast Wi-Fi connection.
No dealing with office-related conflicts, no hassles of commute, no hawk-eyed bosses watching your every move. Isn’t it grand?
But after a while, not everything is about the benefits of being your own boss. For instance, managing your health can be a challenge sometimes. Being accountable mostly to yourself and not needing to groom yourself daily can lead to common freelancers’ health issues.
One of the most noticeable consequences is that your productivity declines, which is often attributed to isolation, instability, looming deadlines, and lately, depression. What follows is a gradual physical, and sometimes mental, decline.
But you don’t have to fall prey to these issues and manage your health properly as a freelancer. Let’s explore the best possibilities, shall we?
Managing Your Health: 7 Common Health Issues Among Freelancers
1. Consequences of Excessive Smoking
Smoking is detrimental to health, and that goes without saying. Freelancers who smoke tend to do it more often during work.
Since there is no rule against it in their own homes, they do it all the time and without being aware of its consequences. Excessive smoking brings all kinds of health problems, like lung cancer, skin cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure… you sure get the idea.
2. Weight Gain
Being in our own “office” gives us more opportunity to be constantly snacking, even more so during those late-night work schedules.
Coupled with the lack of physical activity that freelancing often entails, we consume more calories than our sedentary bodies can burn. Sitting in front of the computer for long periods without working out or even stretching our muscles will make anyone overweight at some point.
3. Bad Food Choices
Yes, food can be a problem too. Having a lot of jobs with tight deadlines takes a lot of time away from doing other things, and among those, preparing healthy food.
So, we resort to fast food, snacks, or ready-to-eat meals, which are usually far from the definition of a well-balanced diet.
Eating too much of those nutritionally void foods for an extended time not only makes it hard to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy diet, but it also comes with the risk of getting a chronic illness like diabetes.
Healthcare professionals discuss this topic very often, in search of different solutions to raise awareness of why good nutrition is extremely crucial for the health and what people can do to improve their eating habits.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle
It is no secret that lack of exercise can cause many health problems, such as cancer, obesity, tiredness, fatigue, osteoporosis, and many types of chronic diseases.
Freelancers are at higher risk of developing a sedentary lifestyle because, for most of the day, they remain stationary, sitting at a desk.
5. Chronic Pain
Most freelancers spend hours every day sitting at a desk, staring at the screen, and it’s not entirely pleasant.
After a couple of hours, your neck feels stiff, and your back aches. Also, as you spend hours at the computer with your back hunched forward, your spine may sustain damage in the long run, affecting your posture.
Other common chronic pains experienced by freelancers include migraine, eye soreness, and sciatica. These can be prevented by periodically taking a break to rest your eyes and stretch out your muscles. There are also portable massagers that can help relieve pain.
6. Emotional Burnout
Burnout is when a person feels exhausted or dissatisfied with the demands of their job. This situation causes an emotional dissatisfaction that can take its toll and exhaust the person.
Being overworked is one of the main reasons self-employed workers feel burned out. Doctors say that unattended burnout can have severe consequences, such as:
- Alcohol misuse
- Sadness and/or irritability
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Medications misuse (i.e sleeping pills to treat insomnia)
If you have any symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, lack of energy, lack of concentration, and even anxiety, it is time to seek support from a doctor. It is important to manage your stress levels to prevent burnout from happening.
7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is a real threat not only to freelancers but to all who work with a computer daily.
Repetitive hand action causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the fingers, wrist, and hand. Typing for hours on end or using the mouse without lifting the hand to move it can trigger this condition. For severe cases, it requires surgery to correct, followed by 6 weeks of recovery.
Tips To Solve Those Health Issues
There are certain things you can do to improve your overall health, and much advice on this was made by HealthCanal. Let’s explore the resources and things you can do for your health.
1. Establish Schedules
Not only is it important to establish work schedules, but it is also very important to establish break times.
You must incorporate in your schedule:
- Breaks of 15 minutes every 90 minutes
- Daily time to exercise
- Weekend breaks
- Time for socializing
2. Invest In the Right Equipment to Maintain Good Health
A Freelancer should purchase items that can help with personal care. For example, if you work on your computer all day, invest in a comfortable chair or an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
3. Take Care of Your Health Routine
Don’t neglect your medical checkups. Plan visits to the dentist, ophthalmologist, or other specialists that can help maintain your total well-being.
Getting an annual flu shot and undergoing medical tests required by doctors are also essential. Take care of your skin, as it is the first to be affected by stress. Lastly, don’t forget to make time for proper sleep, exercise, meditation, and so on.
Why Managing Your Health Is Important?
Wellness, as applied to medicine, is defined as “an approach to health care that emphasizes disease prevention and prolonging life, rather than emphasizing the treatment of disease.”
The rising concerns about preventing illnesses before it occurs will create healthier people and reduce health care costs.
Preventive medicine is very important throughout life to take care of your health. Accept the fact that this task depends on yourself. Find a balance and set your mind to it, making small adjustments from time to time.
Freelance workers are especially susceptible to health problems, due to how their work life is structured. Both their physical and mental health is often overlooked, as well as their significance in the labor market for years to come.
Take it upon yourself to look after your total well-being. Managing your health starts with you. Live an active life, have a healthy and well-balanced diet, seek medical advice from professionals, and find ways to avoid stress. These are just a few things to remember to stay healthy and live a full, happy life with your loved ones.