For many of us, the adventurous life of an electronic nomad can look like the plot from the movie “The Beach” (at least before they all get stranded and start killing each other). Working from the street, even intermittently, is definitely an exciting and adventurous way to produce a living. Saying that, there is a dark side to it. The main challenge with being truly a digital nomad is that your routine goes completely out the window. What makes it worse is that temptation is awaiting you at every turn, willing you to sacrifice your wellbeing for a rapid hit of enjoyment. The only way to win against something that is rigged against you is to apply hacks that allow you to control the game. By controlling the game you may have your cake and eat it too!
Top ways to stay healthy as a digital nomad
The main areas in which digital nomads face health challenges are fitness, back and neck health, diet, and mental health. Listed below are the tricks experienced digital nomads use to maintain their health in those areas, so they can stay productive at work while seeing the entire world, on the clock.
- Make your fitness routine ‘gym-independent’
It’s no secret that when you’re feeling fit, you are feeling more confident, you have overabundance energy and life is generally better than when the opposite is true. Fitness should always remain a priority whether you’re at home or definitely not it. The best way to prioritize fitness is to make it the very first thing you do each day. Some hotels have gyms, but most Airbnb rentals don’t. The best way to create an exercise routine you can follow while you’re traveling is to make it gym-independent.
Create a 30-minute program which involves bodyweight exercises – think push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and other exercises that don’t require equipment. Do them in room or go to a park and knock them out very first thing in the morning – doing push-ups in the park is a fantastic way to begin the day! To find out more, visit https://www.nestacertified.com/guide-to-live-as-a-digital-nomad-fitness-and-coaching-professional/
If you’d like to try a body weight workout program, We recommend Mark Lauren’s book You Are Your Own Gym.
2. Practice good back and neck posture
By now we’re all well aware (and appropriately scared) of the fact that sitting kills. Bad posture doesn’t just make you sore – it’ll actually shorten your lifespan.
When you’re on the road, you’re constantly battling uncomfortable seats on planes and in hotels and cafes. Sit long enough in these nightmarish seats, and it’s only a matter of time before you end up with an awful neck or back.
A few tricks for maintaining a healthy neck and back whilst travelling:
- Plane hack: When you’re on the plane, sit and then sleep. For the rest of the time, as long as the seatbelt sign is switched off, stand behind the plane. Read a book, or listen to an audiobook or podcasts. While standing you can stretch and exercise – a few squats here and there can help you arrive feeling alert and flexible.
- Flexibility hack: Pack a tennis ball or hard massage ball in your travel bag. Sitting for very long periods in taxis and planes can cause your muscles to secure, which can lead to more serious problems. Whenever you arrive at your destination, lie on your golf ball where it hits your pressure points to release muscle tension. It’s like bringing a personal massage therapist with you!
- Work hack: “Poor ergonomics and the resulting back and neck pain damaged my sleep, mood and productivity,” says digital nomad and Proxyrack founder Sam Cross. “Life generally speaking became very difficult.” His solution is to avoid sitting or working where his ergonomics will be compromised. Instead, he works from hotels or shared office spaces where he can setup a portable standing desk.
3. Don’t eat like you’re on holiday continuously
Eating is one of the greatest joys of an life on the road. It can be one of the biggest nightmares, when you can’t easily improve your health, fresh food.
A couple tips for maintaining a healthy diet when you’re working abroad:
- Cook your own food: “Always opt for renting a place that has a kitchen rather than staying in a hotel,” says Kristi Thompson, a digital nomad and support team member at Help Scout. “Enjoying local cuisine is a fun part of travel, but cooking at least several of your own meals saves money and helps it be much simpler to eat balanced diet.”
- Take your own: Breakfast can be a tricky meal in countries that like to start the day off with a thick layer of oil. If you’re staying in a hotel that includes complimentary breakfast, load up on protein and fruit to help you go longer the whole day.
4. Maintain your mental health
Looking after your body is merely half the battle when on the highway. Traveling offers an extended set of benefits, so it’s easy to forget the toll that its drawbacks – like the stress brought on by changing itineraries, language barriers, unreliable hotel online connections, and so on – can take.
Even at home it takes strategy and effort to be mentally at your very best, so it’s critical to stay mindful of your mental health in less familiar surroundings. Several pointers:
- Stick to a sleep schedule: According to the Mayo Clinic, you should attempt to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, and get to sleep at a similar time each night. That’s easier said than done when you have jet lag, client dinners, and deadlines to make, but whatever you can do to regulate your sleep schedule is worth the effort.
- Create a restful environment: Some hotel bedrooms can be extremely noisy. Have a good pair of earplugs to control the noise and ensure a consistent sleeping environment -use Mack’s. It’s also beneficial to stop taking a look at screens a couple of hours before bed and draw curtains for a dark sleeping environment. Packing an eye mask can also help provide restful sleep.
- Manage worries: Meditation is the most simple and cost-effective way to control stress. We find we can get really wired with all of the stimuli involved in working on the road. To counter this, usually meditate for 20 minutes in the evenings, which allows me to wind down. Use the Headspace app or listen to “binaural beats” playlists on Spotify- the white noise is also ideal for employed in loud environments.
Stay healthy to stay happy
So much in life is out of our control – and that’s especially true while traveling. There’s only so much you can do about flight delays, time zone mix-ups, jet lag, and almost every other given there is certainly with travel. All we can do is accept that, turn up, and be our best self.
Staying in mental and physical form is the best thing you can do to mitigate the stressors of life on the road – you’ll set yourself up to crush it at the job, while enjoying the highs of the experience.