The Romanticized Version of a Digital Life
What do you think of when someone tells you that they are a digital nomad, blogger, or remote entrepreneur? In my mind, I see women in beautiful dresses gallivanting off to exotic places for pictures with pigs on white sand beaches or wearing their coolest workout gear as they zip line through the howler monkeys of Costa Rica. I picture remote professionals snacking on giant plates of free fruits and running from one task to the next, rarely taking a minute to sit. This is my dream version of influencers, freelancers, digital nomads, and bloggers. The reality is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle with an online job is rough and not as romanticized or active as imagined.
The Reality for Part- and Full-Time Bloggers
Don’t get me wrong. At times, many bloggers are caught in the action listed above. What you don’t see are the sometimes 12-14 hour days in front of the computer screen, furiously typing away, barely moving, like vampire zombies trapped in hotel rooms and homes.
I recently joked with a fellow blogger how I forgot to pee the other day. Yup. TMI, but it is the truth. I had been typing and working on projects for three hours straight and just did not want to break the flow or get up. Only when my three devices started to power down, red batteries blaring, did I stop for the night. Then, I peed. Healthy and sane? F’ No!
This addiction to the screen, to always do better, to work harder, and to get ahead is in my heart and mind 24/7. I own an online business and blog. I want to succeed and will. There are few boundaries. Because of this attitude, maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a blogger is hard and takes effort.
This addiction to the screen, to always do better, to work harder is always there. I own an online business. There are few boundaries. Because of this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a blogger is hard and takes effort. Click To Tweet
Why Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle is Important
As someone with a chronic illness—I suffer from severe ulcerative colitis (UC) and am on killer autoimmune suppressants—I value my health and wellness. I know and understand the importance of exercise, drinking water, getting time away from the screen, and self-care. I make time for me. If I didn’t, my energy would burst into a fiery, destructive ball, and I would self-implode. My internal organs would fight back, I wouldn’t get solid sleep, and I’d be a bitch of a person to spend time with. How do I manage to sustain wellness? Here are 5 habits and tips for staying healthy as a blogger, freelancer, and digital nomad:
5 Habits for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle as a Blogger
1. Establish a Regular Workout Routine
I May Smile On IG but I’m Seriously Ready To Throw Some Punches
If I fail to workout for even a few days, I start to go crazy. Truly. My stress levels build, I get restless, and my mood shifts. It’s like I have PMS 24/7. Even the cats hide. Setting aside time to workout is extremely important to me, and I make this my number one personal priority and number two business priority. In the business realm, meeting my deadlines and commitments is number one.
When To Make Time
Physical activity is hard to make time for, and everyone has different goals and motivations. Mine are to be fit, healthy, and energetic. I’m not really into building muscle mass or losing weight—UC keeps that one in check for me. I try to workout in the morning to get my juices flowing. Yoga improves my creativity and settles my mind. However, I also write best in the morning and social media like a boss at 7:30 AM; sometimes, I push workouts to dinnertime. Motivation later in the day is rough: Like giving up white bread and beer when your doctor accidentally messes up your test results and has you thinking you have diabetes over the long weekend.
Find What Feels Good Yoga & Some Cardio
My typical workout routine: I dedicate 6-7 hours a week to exercise. That’s a lot for some, I know. This means I set aside one hour a day plus some for exercise that I enjoy. For me, I spend about 30 minutes completing an at home yoga practice, and another 30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill. Yoga with Adriene is my girl.
My husband and I have dedicated a tiny room as our gym—mind you, we don’t have kids—and ordered cheaper equipment that gets the job done. We own a basic treadmill and elliptical. I am also obsessed with my Manduka yoga mat. There is no other: my mat comes with a lifelong warranty, molds to my body, and is soft yet firm.
Did Someone Say Beer Yoga?
We also like to workout with others and make time for yoga at the local brewery. Check out my post on beer yoga here. We get to socialize, drink beer, and workout, which is effective for time management. Plus, I love beer.
Overall, working out gives me energy and enhances my creativity. I get to move and stretch. I run off aggression, anger, and disappointment.
Then, I blog.
2. No Blogging or Social Media God and Goddess’ing Before Bed
Put. Down. The. Devices.
I am terrible at this. Hypocrite in the house. I cannot sleep when I blog immediately before bed. For many, especially with other gigs and families, this is the best time to write. I can usually crack out 3 solid hours of work after dinner, especially if the rest of my household is snoozing.
What I noticed, though, is that those articles about computer screen lights are right. Obviously. Nothing in me starts to get sleepy. Even worse, my ideas start flowing, and I cannot turn them off. I end up running to-do lists in bed, and last night, I dreamed about pinning my latest post. Can we say nightmare, anyone? I cannot escape. What is a blogger to do?
How To Escape That Evil Red Notification
I try—keyword is ‘try’—to get off all social media and blogging one hour before bed. I suck at not clearing out those little red notifications one last time, though. It’s addicting and dumb. I once took a seminar where the speaker told us never to have phone notification icons pop up; aka the red circle with a threatening and incessantly increasing number. This tactic does not work for me. Maybe killing yours will work for you.
What You Can Do Before Bed
Because I am also a book blogger, I try to read a book in that last hour. Reading is calming, and while still a form of work, it’s different. I’ll go for one of my paperback copies versus a digital file, again for that pesky blue light.
Regardless, try, try, try to get off screen time before bed. Binge watch some Queer Eye on Netflix, read a book, do some light yoga, or play with your critters. A few of my favorite reads lately: A Long Goodbye, Chill Out With A Good Book List, Books For Dad, and Between Two Minds.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Clichés are True!
No One Can Do It ALL
You cannot do it all. I repeat, YOU. CANNOT. DO. IT. ALL. You are human and not a machine. First, you do not need to have every single platform and tool as a blogger, especially if you are a newer one. I see new bloggers burning out by trying to grow every single social media channel while having a weekly newsletter and offering freebies and courses. Whoa Nellie. One step at a time, and do what works for you. Doing it all is not part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and is not productive.
Scheduling Tools Are My Jam
My second best piece of advice is to use scheduling tools. Facebook Business has a scheduling tool built right in—free and easy to use. While other bloggers schedule Instagram and Twitter posts, I currently focus on Pinterest. I am Tailwind-obsessed. I originally did not want to drop the $100+ a year for this scheduler, but I am so glad I did.
Pinterest is my number one traffic source and also the easier channel for me to grow. You can check out my Pinterest page for proof. P.S. I also have group boards for books and travel. With Tailwind, I schedule 30-50 pins a day, some of which are my personal blog posts and others from strong bloggers. Tailwind knows my personal peak engagement times so while I am sleeping, Tailwind is popping in my posts. They are getting re-pinned and shared consistently. My blog traffic is steadily rising. 200% worth the investment. Click to jump right into Tailwind here, if you want my favorite blog tool. You can also try Tailwind for free–not really representative of the paid version–here.
The Best Pinterest Course On The Web
P.P.S. If Pinterest and Tailwind seem scary or foreign to you, I cannot recommend enough this course by EllDuclos from Boss Girl Bloggers. With over a million Pinterest views, Lauren is the Pinterest goddess. Check out her Pinterest account. Lauren (Ell) teaches you how to set up a business Pinterest account, use SEO and Tailwind, and bring traffic to your blog. Just one day after taking her course, my views rose 30K, hitting 200K in a month, and over 600,000 in less than 3 months. Lauren’s course is super cheap and available here. Best blogging course I have taken to date. Scout’s Honor!
Batch Work Is My B*tch
Lastly under scheduling, I recommend trying to ‘batch’ your work. Spend half a day planning all of your Instagram posts for the month. Take the other half to schedule your Pinterest pins and create new pins to recycle older posts. I need to get better at batching with other social media channels and blog posts because, trust me, this practice saves time.
Being productive and working smarter is better for your overall health. You will find that you have more time for you and family. Work will get down faster and be even better.
Looking For More Blogging Advice? Check Out These Posts:
4. Taking Real Breaks and 100% Signing Off During Meals
Wait, why are you even following my advice right now? Here we go: I SUCK AT THIS NOT EATING AND WORKING THING. I instagram comment while I am eating lunch, I tweet during morning breakfast, and I Facebook troll sharing threads over coffee. DO NOT EAT AND BLOG/SM AT THE SAME TIME. See how I even made social media an adjective? UGH!
Do Not Eat During Work
No joke, do you ever hear about bloggers gaining a ton of weight? One, we are pretty stationary creatures. Two, mindless eating during tasks is something Dr. Oz would shame you for. I don’t even know how I ate that entire sandwich in front of me while returning Instagram comments. Where did it even go? Is it in my belly? Did the cat steal it? Why do I feel like puking. SHIT!!!! Not to mention that box of crackers has no crackers in it?!
Don’t Be Like Your Drunk College Self
Take breaks. Real breaks. Not pseudo breaks. Do your stomach and health a favor: Just like texting and driving is ignorant and deadly so is eating and social media’ing. Think back to your college days of drunk texting. Were the consequences stellar or just an f’ing embarrassing mess?
Oh, and drink water. Lots of it. AND PEE. Unlike me.
5. Creating A Work Space(s)
Only Child-Style: This Is Mine
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a blogger is making sure that you have designated working space. Create a workspace that is yours and only yours. This space should be inviting, inspiring, and preferably have a closed door. My cats live on my living room desk. I’m about ready to put them to work.
In addition, this area should be clean and well organized. If your space isn’t together, I doubt your life and blog is. OMG, I’ve been watching too much Queer Eye.
Change It Up
For me, I also find that I like to switch up my work area. If I am mindlessly pinning, sitting in front of a non-engaging TV show works for me. If I haven’t gotten fresh air—which is important—I might move to the patio area. Heck, although some bloggers swear that you should get dressed and not blog in bed, I do not subscribe to this theory. I work well in sweats, and if you can comfortably type without getting carpal tunnel in bed tunnel, go for it.
A warning to the wise: I do find that when I move around my workspace, I will start working 24/7 from everywhere. This is bad. I take less breaks, work on my breaks, and break all my rules. Not healthy. There are no boundaries. Exercise with caution. And then, really, go exercise!
Having a space that is yours and screams work is productive and personally makes me happy.
Can we add TUL’s #6? BOOZE!!
Wine is life. Wine is healthy. Therefore maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a blogger is drinking wine. Obviously!
Feeling Healthier? Inspired? I Just Broke Two of These Damn RULES.
Working out regularly, having designated workspace, and knowing when to stop are keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a blogger and remote freelancer. It is not always easy, but the smallest steps are better than none.
What other tips would you add?
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