I wrote this article to make freelancers aware of some specific health problems that freelancers may face. Of course, every lifestyle comes with its own risks, but many freelancers are unaware of the potential health problems that can be associated with freelancing.
In this post, I’ll list those specific hazards and give you some tips to overcome each one. If you’re a freelancer, this is a must-read.
Here are six freelancer health hazards to be wary of.
Health Hazard #1: Sedentary Lifestyle
Many freelancers work in computer-based professions. The very nature of their work means that they spend hours each day in front of a computer screen–usually seated.
The risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle are well documented. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and even more serious conditions such as heart disease or stroke.
You can fight the health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Your body needs to move, so make sure to get at least some exercise every day. An exercise bike or other exercise machine can help.
Health Hazard #2: Stress
Freelancers typically face lots of tight deadlines and sometimes have to deal with some pretty difficult clients. Beyond being merely unpleasant, tight deadlines and client disagreements can stress a freelancer out.
Repeated stress over a prolonged period can contribute to many health problems. Stress can lead to headaches and fatigue or sleep problems. Stress can wear your body down and make you more susceptible to other illnesses.
To combat stress, cultivate healthy habits and maintain a good attitude. And do yourself a favor–if you think a particular client is going to be extremely difficult to work with, don’t take the project.
Health Hazard #3: Isolation
Many freelancers work from home. This often means that they are alone most of the workday. In fact, some freelancers never leave home from the time that they get up until the time they go to bed.
Isolation can have a negative impact on your emotional well-being. If you are alone too much, you may sink into depression or even develop antisocial behaviors.
If you’re a freelancer, don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Just because you work alone, you don’t need to be lonely. Make it a point to meet outside of your home several times a month with close friends. If you don’t have friends nearby, you may be able connect with others who have similar interests through a meetup group in your area.
Health Hazard #4: Repetitive Stress Injuries
It may come as a surprise to you that many freelancers are at risk for Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI). Carpal tunnel syndrome is just one type of repetitive stress injury that freelancers may face.
If you get an RSI, you may experience a lot of pain. Plus, it may slow you down when it comes to getting work done.
You can avoid many RSIs by taking frequent breaks, paying attention to your posture, and making sure that you have an ergonomically sound workstation.
Health Hazard #5: Vitamin D Deficiency
I’ve already mentioned how many freelancers stay indoors most of the day and how this can cause loneliness, but did you know it can also lead to a vitamin deficiency?
It’s true. If you don’t drink much milk and stay out of the sunlight most of the time, you are in danger of developing a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is generally absorbed through the skin from sunlight or consumed through Vitamin D fortified dairy products.
Fortunately, it’s easy to fight this risk by getting out into the sunlight more often. And, if the deficiency is severe, your health professional can suggest other solutions.
Health Hazard #6: Poor Diet
Freelancers can also be at risk for overeating. After all, you’re at home all day and the refrigerator is just a few rooms away. No one would know if you finished off that leftover cake or made yourself an extra snack.
Unfortunately, a poor diet can lead to many other health complications (especially when combined with a sedentary lifestyle). In the short-term, snacking on unhealthy foods can cause you to feel sluggish during the day and impair your productivity.
As much as possible, keep unhealthy foods out of the house. Stock your refrigerator and pantry with tasty, but nutritious, low calorie snacks.
I’m not a health professional. If you experience health problems, it’s important to consult a health professional to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Has your freelancing resulted in any health problems for you? How did you overcome them?
Leave your answers in the comments.
Image by chazzvid