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Health & wellness self-employed tips for lockdown

Ellie Lister
Monday 2nd November, 2020

We all know that being self-employed has it’s undoubted benefits, but this comes with a variety of risks and stresses that can affect your health and well-being. Striking that work-life balance is difficult in general, but with the added complications of coronavirus, lockdown and little socialising, it’s more difficult than ever to prioritise taking time for yourself over work.  

Below are three take away tips to get you thinking about your wellbeing for the next month.

Sitting down, is it the new smoking?

Word has it that sitting down is the ‘new smoking’. It is true that prolonged sitting is linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. US Doctor David Agus has even claimed that 5+ hours of sedentary sitting is the health equivalent of smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes.

As a self-employed person, chances are you’ll find yourself sitting at a desk through your lunch break and working past the usual office hours and at late, irregular hours. This really can do a lot of damage to your spine overtime.

Standing up or doing some stretching every 30 minutes can increase blood circulation and will aid productivity! Every hour, set yourself the task of one or two stretches and fetching a tea/ water from downstairs to get some steps in, break up the task and clear your head. 

Or, get yourself a standing desk! These can be as cheap as £50 from Amazon and by switching it up every hour to standing instead of sitting, it gives you a change of scenery and will be much healthier for your body.

Over-working

It’s easy to see the next month as a means to really get on top of client work, with little recreational distractions, by working weekends and late on weekdays. Over-working is a trigger of acute stress and can kill productivity. As well, adults working more than 11 hours a day were found to have a higher chance of developing coronary heart disease, than those working eight hours.

Instead of focusing on work for the next lockdown, focus on taking time to find new hobbies and activities that take your mind off work, but also provide a similar sense of satisfaction when achieved. These could include:

  • Taking a new course - cooking, language, coding, or something industry-related such as an entrepreneurship course, an excel course etc! Udemy is a great online course platform.
  • Reading a new book - there’s lots of self-development books out there to change your mindset and help your mental health . Such as, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, or The Subtle Art of Not Giving A **** By Mark Manson.
  • Listen to educational (or hilarious) podcasts - we’ve got loads of podcasts recommendations, just check out this blog here.
  • Watch an educational series - passionate about sustainability and climate change? Binge watch David Attenborough’s new series, or find documentaries on greek mythology…

Stay Social 

Although not many people are leaving the house right now, those in an office job are socialising with their co-workers in a big group zoom call for ‘remote team drinks’ and a pub quiz.

Now that it’s just you working with you, you need a network of people more than ever. Join an online community of people to ask questions to, bounce ideas off and chit chat to. It's great if you can create a network of people who have complementary skills to your own, so you can refer work to one another in these uncertain times. Try joining Meetup, the Freelance subreddit, research Slack groups of search on facebook groups for fellow freelancers.

Some top groups we recommend for freelancers (besides Penfold’s amazing community, obviously):

  • Freelance Heroes
  • Doing it for the Kids
  • Crunch Chorus: self employed community

Or schedule in some remotely Zoom courses. Have a look around for Zoom cocktail mastery classes, or cooking classes to still have some fun at home that’s not work related!

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