Finding the fuel: A self-care guide for freelancers

Because a day off here and there just doesn’t cut it

guide for freelancers
Chapter 6

Get moving

Our bodies weren’t designed to spend all day sitting at a desk. Regular exercise and regular movement throughout the day is an essential component of your self-care routine. This is especially important for freelancers as many of us are working from home with everything we need available for delivery at the touch of a button. When working in an office, you have to move your body to get yourself to work, you’re likely taking longer trips around the office or taking a flight of stairs to meet with coworkers, grab lunch or go to the bathroom. 

Incorporate movement throughout the day

Working from home often means less moving around throughout the day. Even if you’re dedicated to a regular workout routine, getting up and moving around regularly is important as being at home with everything available for delivery at our fingertips is making most people more sedentary than ever. A few ways to incorporate some regular movement into your routine could include:

  • Make the most of household chores. Fold your laundry standing up and then put clothes away a little at a time to get more steps in. Carry your groceries from your car or doorstep in several trips and put the items away in your kitchen one at a time. Dedicate one of your breaks to tidy up and furiously sweep the floor or wipe down surfaces in your home. A little bit of clearing and organizing every day is a great way to incorporate a little more movement.
  • Move while you meet. If you don’t have to turn your camera on or look at a document while you’re talking, walk around or tidy up while you’re on calls. This is a great way to multi-task.
  • Set reminders. Invest in a fitness tracker to keep an eye on how many steps you’re averaging per day. Many of them will also alert you when you’ve been inactive for a while so that you can get up and move.
  • Get a standing desk. Most of them are adjustable so you can sit or stand while you work. Simply choosing to stand for a few hours a day while you’re working can have tremendous metabolic benefits as well as boost your mood and productivity.

Choose something on your movement menu

Are you a gym rat or does hearing the word “workout” make you cringe? Do you waffle back and forth from doing crossfit at 6am for three weeks and then all of a sudden do nothing at all? Whatever your approach to regular exercise is, movement is essential for taking care of your body and brain. 

If working out isn’t currently high on your priority list, getting into a routine is essential for your self-care. Within weeks of regularly moving your body, you’ll notice more energy, less stress, better sleep and general well-being. When you feel happier and more energized, your productivity will skyrocket! Movement isn’t just a waist trimmer, it’s a brain changer. 

If something isn’t enjoyable, it’s less likely that we will continue to do it. That’s just how the human brain works. Creating your movement menu is about finding physical activities that you actually enjoy so that you look forward to doing them most days of the week. If you loathe running, find something else like biking or walking or a fun workout class to get your heart pumping. Simple activities that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine are easiest to stick to and very effective. 

Ideally you should aim to get about 30 minutes of physical activity per day. If you’re just starting out, commit to just 15 minutes at first. Chances are, once you start, you’ll feel great and end up pushing yourself just a little bit longer. The important thing is to start by building the habit and working from there. A few things you can do to start building a habit:

  • Invest in workout clothes that make you feel good. If you’re excited to put on an outfit that makes you feel good, you’re more likely to actually follow through with the workout. Don’t focus on getting yourself psyched up for the actual exercise, just be the person that puts on workout clothes as a habit. If you’re dressed for the part, chances are you’ll follow through.
  • Schedule it. Remember, as freelancers, taking advantage of our calendars is a form of self-care. If it’s on the schedule, you’re more likely to do it rather than justify occupying the time set aside for something else. If you know that you’re more likely to exercise in the morning, work around that. If a midday walk helps you power through the afternoon, go with that. Committing to the act of moving your body is more important than the actual workout you do.
  • Feel good about it. Even if it was only a ten minute leisurely walk, notice how you feel after you move your body. Savor that feeling and remember it next time you think about skipping your movement session for the day. As you explore new ways to move your body, write down what you liked the most and include those activities on your movement menu.

Building a habit and knowing what’s on your movement menu by keeping an inspiring list of options ready will likely help you stick to a healthy exercise routine that works for your body and your schedule. When putting together your movement menu, think outside the box. What movements did you love as a kid? What movement would be fun to do now that you don’t have to be at an office all day? What might be fun to do with a friend or family member? Maybe there’s something you always wanted to try but never had the time. The movement menu is an invitation to play and enjoy being in your body while contributing to your health and aliveness. Taking care of ourselves can actually be fun if we let it be!