Location Independence Rocks! But Take Care of Yourself First.

7 min read | by Jennifer Clarkson 
Yoga Photo by Dave Contreras on Unsplash

I need a virtual raise of hands if you have done the following:  Wake up at 7am..ish, start the coffee pot while breezing through a few emails, prepare a nice big cup of coffee and maybe some breakfast, sit down to start your workday and look up to see it’s already noon? Five hours passed quicker than that episode of The Mandalorian you watched last night.  You think, well I should move around a bit but….oh snap, it’s 3pm already?  Bathroom. Water. Hit send on a few more of these bad boys and be close to wrapping up...wait, what? It’s 6:30pm?   Ok. tomorrow I will do better. I will eat lunch, exercise, and take a few minutes for myself to think about something other than work.  Wait. How is the weekend already? I only burned about 12 calories this week.

This pattern is so very easy to slip into.  Even while telework is becoming more common, there is still a folly about working remotely and that is, people aren’t really working that hard.  Wrong. The above scenario is actually more common than not because jumping into the workday is so convenient at home thanks to many benefits of location-independence.  Instead of spending time and resources on driving into a brick-and-mortar office, after sitting in traffic for an hour or more, you can start working almost immediately.  This is really awesome but it can also be a pitfall if not managed properly.

Many of you are probably familiar with the term ‘digital nomad’.  Well before that became popular, in 2007, the phrase ‘location-independence’ was created by Lea Jovy to describe the nomad lifestyle. Since that time, this free, flexible lifestyle has turned into an identity for many.  Tim Ferriss calls it “The New Rich” in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Location-independence  is the future of work. It means that you are not necessarily working the traditional 9am-5pm, driving into the required office, five days a week.  Perhaps you telecommute a few days per week or travel so frequently that the airports become your office. Maybe you are a remote employee away from headquarters or even your company is completely distributed and all employees work from home or a coffee shop or a co-work space.  All of these scenarios are rad and afford you so much more flexibility for integrating work and life. 

What becomes difficult is making room for you between the workload, travel, family, and crazy schedules.  Often times, the unintended side-effects are feelings of isolation, loneliness, or simple neglect of health and wellness. It is easy to do and can creep up on you.  Here are a few helpful tips for you to use to keep your health up to par while indulging in the awesomeness of a location-independent lifestyle.

Image
Group Eating Together Photo by Lee Myungseong on Unsplash
Eating healthy and making connections help improve your health.

1. Recognize Your Patterns

First, recognize your patterns.  You need to see what you are lacking.  Maybe you sit inside your house alone all day, every day working.  It starts during the week and then project deadlines have you working weekends.  You realize, the video chat you had with your peers at the beginning of the month was the last time you saw people.  Or perhaps you have a spouse and three kids and your schedule means you telecommute a few days a week to make sure the kiddos get to soccer and gymnastics on time, only to rush home to put dinner together for the family. Then it’s bedtime and you’re exhausted.  What we have here is the potential for loneliness from isolation and burnout from a hectic schedule that leaves no time for yourself. Both scenarios can cause menacing health impacts.

So. Picture is painted.  What can you do? The perks of telework far outweigh the disadvantages, but the challenges do need to be managed to make sure you are sustaining a healthy lifestyle and well-being.  Today, I focus on personal health.

2. Exercise

Most people have to schedule their lives in some manner.  It is a reality. Even digital nomads schedule time to get work done.  So, like the daily check-ins and weekly conference calls on your calendar, make room for some exercise.  You don’t need to be a Crossfit junkie (while this is also awesome) to get healthy. But you do need to make movement a priority, time to yourself a priority.  If you can squeeze in an hour on IG, you can fit in an hour of exercise. Do it together! Find a workout buddy if that is what will hold you accountable.  Follow-through is critical. And if it’s on your calendar, you are more likely to do it.  And now, there are “deskercise” tips!

Science tells us that cardio and weight-lifting have so many benefits to our health.  For example, cramming in nine straight hours of work on the daily can actually make you less productive. You become stagnant. Exercise is good for the heart and lungs, your bones and muscles.  You trigger neurotransmitters (releasing endorphins) and you naturally become happier, more energetic, sharper and more creative. You become a better employee and become a better you. Here is a great recap for the many how-to’s and benefits of endorphins. 

3. Making Connections

Relationships are important to our health as well.  In fact, they are necessary. The need for human connection is primal; it is in our dna.  

We Are Interdependent Creatures

Grounded in the emerging field of social neuroscience is the idea that we are interdependent creatures, hardwired for empathy and relationship through neuron systems. 

We Are Spending Less Time with Others

Americans today are spending less time with family and friends, have fewer close friends and confidants, and are less socially involved in civic groups and communities.

Happiness is Important

Good relationships are associated with enhanced happiness, quality of life, resilience, cognitive capacity, and perhaps even wisdom.

Tool Tip for Making Human Connections

RemotelyOne is the link for people to make friends, find love, and join networks for mentorship and professional communities. RemotelyOne will foster a place where there are no barriers to meeting people anytime, anywhere you want.  Most importantly, RemotelyOne exists to help prevent feelings of isolation for location-independent professionals as a place to connect and establish meaningful relationships.

4. Food is Medicine

Being healthy also means making good food decisions. Eating properly allows your body to function the way it is meant to.  Food is filled with vitamins and nutrients which “talk” to your cells. It can prevent disease. All you need to do is make good decisions about how and what you eat.  Eat out less. Buy groceries that are healthy and unprocessed. Make Sunday’s meal-prep day so when you fit in a meal during the workday it’s a nutritious one. Fact is, there is a direct [scientific] connection with food and optimal brain health and overall well-being.  And if you are like me and you love food, making it functional in your life is everything.

More Healthy Tips

Proper sleep is crucial.  It is necessary for the brain and body to go into rest mode.  This is how we recover and reboot. Also, make sure you keep up with vision and dental appointments and annual physicals. Getting old is no joke! 

Taking care of your emotional and physical well-being is necessary.  You will begin to find that you are the best version of you doing work and non-work activities.  So close the laptop, go for a jog, and meet up with a friend for some good ole’ fashion board games and convo. 

 

Originally Published by Jennifer Clarkson on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 10:05 | Updated On Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 16:26

© 2020 All rights reserved.