How to stay fit (and sane) as a freelancer

/ By Jacqui Ma

I work solo and love it, but there are some areas of life that i'm still tweaking. One of those is fitness and staying mentally positive through exercise. I know that exercise is a great way to look after my mental health and body but sometimes i just lack motivation. Before i know it, its thursday and all my aspirations of going to the gym 3 times are out the window.

So after having done some field research amongst fellow freelancers and self-employed folk, here are my current top tips for staying fit (and sane).

1. Make a rule to leave the house at least once per day

Even if its just to go to the shop, getting out of the house is the first step to doing exercise!

2. Find a good way to measure fitness that works for you.

For me its steps and my strava app on my phone which can track my route and milage when cycling or running. It motivates me to aim for 10,000 steps per day. It rarely happens but if i have only walked 1,000 steps and its 3pm, i know its time to go out for a walk.

3. Solve a work problem whilst exercising

Today on my short run in the park i tasked myself to come up with 3 blog post titles. I could have sat at my laptop with a biscuit and done the same thing but i think the ideas that arise when you are out in fresh air or exercising can even be better. I also sometimes listen to an e-book or work podcast whilst exercising. Sometimes i feel guilty about exercising taking up so much time so this is a way to alleviate that. 

4. Come up with an exercise timetable

I've been working on an exercise timetable, i think hat mixing up the exercise keeps it fresh whilst having a timetable means i don't have to think about it, i can just do it on autopilot when i'm not feeling so motivated. I think that freelancers (i'm generalising here) by nature are not people who like routine, so a diverse fitness routine can work well.
Monday- gym straight after dropping kids to school
Tuesday  - meditation and yoga at lunchtime
Wednesday - cycling to gym 
Thursday - meditation and walk somewhere
Friday - run in park.

5. Organise a meeting somewhere to go by bike

I miss my daily cycle ride to work now that i work for myself. To make up for this i load up my bicycle pannier at least once a week and ride to a meeting somewhere about 30 mins away. Its a great way to get me out of my east london routines and a sneaky way to get some exercise at the same time. If i don't have any meetings to schedule i'll choose a cafe to meet a friend at either for lunch or to co-work.



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