Freelancing can be a great opportunity primarily because it offers greater autonomy and flexibility than a salaried job. However, it also comes with some challenges. Most freelancers out there are unaware of the health problems associated with the freelance lifestyle. Although most freelancers seem to be convinced that the benefits of freelancing outweigh the disadvantages, it’s also good to be aware of the negative effects that the freelance lifestyle can have on your health.
1. Sedentary lifestyle
Most freelancers work in computer based professions and this means that they spend many hours each day seated in front of a computer screen. A sedentary life contributes to high blood pressure, weight gain, and other serious conditions such as stroke and heart disease. You can combat the sedentary lifestyle by getting some exercise every day. Take short breaks to do quick tasks such as cleaning the litter box and loading the dish washer. Use correct posture to reduce stress on your body and decrease the risk of repetitive stress injury (RSI).
Freelancers usually face many tight deadlines and sometimes they have to deal with some difficult clients. Besides being quite unpleasant, client disagreements and tight deadlines can stress out freelancers. Repeated stress is associated with numerous health problems including fatigue, sleep problems and headaches. On the other hand, stress wears your body down making you susceptible to other diseases. You can combat stress by maintaining a good attitude and cultivating healthy habits.
3. Repetitive stress injuries
The fact the many freelancers are at risk for RSI (repetitive stress injuries) might come as a surprise to you. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one type of RSI that freelancers may face. Besides experiencing a lot of pain repetitive stress injury might also slow freelancers down especially when it comes to completing projects in time. You can avoid most types of RSI by paying attention to your posture, taking frequent breaks and making sure that your workstation is ergonomically sound.
4. Vitamin D deficiency
Staying indoors all day can cause vitamin D deficiency. If you don’t go out in the sun much and don’t drink a lot of milk, you risk developing vitamin D deficiency. Your body absorbs vitamin D through the skin or through vitamin D fortified products. You can fight this risk by simply consuming vitamin D fortified dairy products, using a sun lamp near your desk and basking in the sun more often.
Most freelancers prefer working from home which means that they work alone all day and this leads to feelings of isolation. Regardless of your personality, you’ll start feeling lonely if you never see and interact with anyone else. Isolation can lead to depression and you might even start developing antisocial behaviors. Although instant messaging and social media help, there’s no substitute for face to face interaction with friends. Make lunch dates with friends at least once per week. This will get you out of the house and give you a chance to interact with other people. On the other hand, you can join a co-working space in order to stop feelings loneliness and of isolation.
In order to be a successful freelancer and enjoy the full benefits associated with freelancing, you need to be aware of the bad effects freelancing may have on your health and be prepared to deal with them.