When you thought about life as a freelance writer, did you think you were going to be sipping coffee while you lazily composed your posts while reclining on your porch?
Have you tried doing that? It’s pretty hard. Not comfortable at all!
Not only is it not comfortable, but it wreaks havoc on your posture and can put your body in all sorts of uncomfortable positions.
Add to that sitting all day and we’ve got a perfect storm of things just waiting to happen to keep us from optimal health.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to better health and better creativity.
Simply getting up and being more physical for even a minute can be helpful.
Use tech to help you
Chances are you have a smart device on or near you. Many of us have smartwatches, Apple watches, and other smart devices that can remind us to get up and move around if we’ve been sitting too long. Apple watches will remind you to get up and walk around at the 50-minute mark of every hour that you’ve been sitting. Being able to stretch your legs and get a break from your desk is good physically and mentally.
Do some basic stretches
You don’t have to get fancy with the stretches you do, but be sure to hit the areas you’ll likely experience the most tightness: shoulders, legs, and lower back.
To stretch your shoulders, simply cross one arm in front of the other while you pull your arm toward you with the opposite hand. Hold for ten seconds and then repeat with the other arm.
For your legs and lower back, my favorite stretch is a variation of the forward fold in yoga. Instead of sitting for this, you’ll stand with your knees slightly bent and feet about hip or shoulder-width apart. With a flat back, bend over at the hips and reach your hands down as far as they will go.
Alternatively, you can rest your hands on the floor, your feet, your shins, or your thighs (never on the knee).
Hold that position for ten seconds and then round your back like a cat would and hold that for another ten seconds. Slowly roll your body back up to a standing position and shake out any remaining tension.
Take a dance break
These are super fun and I like to do them in the middle of the day when my energy starts to fall.
All I do is tell my echo dot to play an upbeat playlist or I choose a few songs and I have a little dance party in my living room. The dog thinks I’m out of my mind but it’s fun and it gets your heart pumping. Do this for about five to ten minutes and you’ll be ready to get back to work.
It’s so important to hydrate throughout the day. This is even more important when you’ve been sitting because it’s too tempting to drink coffee or energy drinks all day. I keep a water bottle on my desk instead of a coffee cup and drink at least one bottle of water before I allow myself to get coffee. And, even then, I only drink one cup of coffee a day.
Pro tip: if you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding lemon juice or infusing it will frozen fruit or fresh slices of cucumber and mint. You can also buy bottles or can of unsweetened water at your local store.
Our bodies are primarily made of water and we need it for every single function. Give your body what it needs and drink up!
Take it outside
Take your breaks outside and enjoy the weather if you can. I’m sure your dog needs a walk and you can benefit from the Vitamin D from the sun. This break can be for walking or running but think of it as a way to clear your mind and get some exercise in at the same time (let’s close that Exercise ring fellow Apple watch users).
Bonus: Schedule your break times! While it’s tempting to hop from one task to another, you may not realize you’ve been sitting at your desk all day without even going to the bathroom.
By using a timer on your phone or computer, you can set intervals for when you need to get up and move around. Again, if you have an Apple watch, you’ll get reminders every hour, but you can do your own thing every 30 minutes if you want. Be creative!
While we are enjoying all that it means to be a freelance writer and setting our own hours, let’s not forget that we are still responsible for our own health as well. By utilizing the tips above, you’ll be able to create healthy habits to get up and away from your desk while maximizing your energy and creativity.