Blogging professionally is one of the most rewarding careers out there. You can make a good living without trudging yourself to an office each day, counting down the hours until you can finally go home. But working independently comes with a few risk factors. Those who can do it have probably already beaten the writer’s public enemy number one: procrastination. But there’s more to worry about than distractions and writer’s block. All too often, writers can get so engrossed in their work that they forget to take care of themselves.
Without the work / home divide, it can be easy to neglect your health, or even your sanity. Here are five essential tips for staying healthy and keeping your mind sharp while working at home.
You need to eat regular meals. It’s awfully tempting to reach for the chips and sit back down at your computer, but you need the right nutrients to keep your mind sharp and body fit and healthy. After all, you may have switched from a more active lifestyle at a retail or labor job to a completely sedentary one. Eating regularly and eating right are essential to keeping the creative juices flowing. If possible, plan your meals in advance. Take a break when it’s lunch time – don’t scarf down that sandwich while typing away at the word processor. Breaking for lunch will help you process the day better and reduce fatigue by the end of your work day.
Keep Regular Hours
In addition to fighting procrastination, having regular, pre-determined work hours will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. When you work at home, you want to do everything possible to avoid turning your house into “the office”. You need to be able to leave work at the end of the day, relax, and let tomorrow’s work be tomorrow’s work. You’ll find sticking to a schedule actually makes you more efficient and less inclined to goof off when trying to get work done.
Leave the Bottle Alone
Excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs may have worked for Hunter S. Thompson, but a blogger he wasn’t. In this business, we write more text in a day than most people will in months. Being at home, we may at first relish in breaking all the workplace rules. ‘Why not have a drink, or two, or three, while I’m here sitting at my desk? It’s not like I’ll get fired for it.’
Unless you fancy a trip to a rehab center, it’s best to stick to the good ol’ standard of drinking after work. Drugs and alcohol will negatively affect your output, and worse—could get you into a pretty bad habit of work day intoxication. Keep psychoactive substances in their place and use them recreationally. It doesn’t matter how many gallons of whiskey Hemingway sloshed down while writing The Sun Also Rises, you don’t want to rely on booze to get work done.
Take Regular Breaks
Carpel tunnel and screen fatigue can easily take a toll on you if you don’t remember to take regular breaks during your work day. Ten to fifteen minutes every hour is ideal, but be warned: a short break can turn into “why don’t I just give myself the rest of the day off?” if you aren’t disciplined about it. Instead of turning on the TV, try playing a game like Sudoku or completing a crossword puzzle. These activates will keep your mind sharp and in “work mode” while giving your tired eyes a break from the screen.
Exercise Every Day
It doesn’t matter how small the gesture is, getting up and being active is essential to keeping in good health when you work a sedentary job. It could be a walk around the block or a full-length workout complete with squats, weights, and chin-ups—so long as you get up and get your blood flowing, you’ll have far more energy to get yourself through the day. An added bonus: exercise fights depression, which can affect you more easily than you think when you work in an isolated environment.
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