To work and travel the world as a digital nomad is the dream for a lot of people. But for those of us who have been on this road for a while, know that it is not all flowers and rainbows. Constantly moving and working on your own can be challenging. A lot of FDNs complain about finding it hard to stay motivated and healthy. Others say it’s even more difficult to enter into long-term friendships and establishing worthwhile connections. Depression is, furthermore, not an unknown phenomenon among digital nomads (DNs).
For most people that live outside of the DN world, it might sound insane that a DN could feel down while living the dream life. As crazy as it sounds, if your body and mind are not aligned, no matter what you do or where you live, you can still get depressed, demotivated and lonely.
To maintain your mental and physical health as a digital nomad, it is important to keep your body and mind in check, and take the time to work on yourself. Below are a few tips I have discovered that helps me as a digital nomad:
Moving to new places and having to make new friends can be tiring once you had to do it a few times. But it is important to create relationships when in a new town. Participate in town events, get involved with the locals, and make the effort to create long-lasting connections and friendships in your area.
Most FDNs choose cities where there is already an established DN community. Get in touch with them. It is a great opportunity to share ideas and connect with like-minded people.
Besides it being a great way to keep your body healthy and in shape, exercise is great for making new friends and staying motivated while traveling in a new country.
Most DNs chose this lifestyle to be able to follow their passion and to have time for their hobbies. Be careful not to get caught up with work though. A well-balanced life is key. Set a routine to do whatever makes you feel good. Go for a walk, a run, practice yoga, play a sport, go surfing, and maybe even learn a new sport. There are many sports clubs all around the world. Join one. Sports clubs are excellent localities to connect with others and get to know the local people.
Many people think DNs work only when they ‘feel like it;’ but this is not necessarily true. As DNs, we still have deadlines and business hours, and if we should miss our deadlines we don’t feel good about it just like everyone else. Missed deadlines means we just threw away much needed capital to pay for our lifestyle. Arriving in a new country is exciting but can also impact our productivity. That is why it is important to setup a routine and determine your working hours. Ensure your routine is well balanced, and that you follow the scheduled hours of work. I am guilty of spending working hours just browsing on my computer and scrolling through social media photos. If you limited the number of hours in pursuit of your goals, you would work much more efficiently and have time to enjoy your free time.
Set aside time to meditate. Only 10 minutes a day is enough to clear your mind and be present in the moment. Meditation can help you enter a ‘state of flow,’ which will help you work better and be more creative. According to Harvard psychologist, Dr. Teresa Amabile, having an uninterrupted state of flow will make you excited, happy and fulfilled, not only for that moment, but also for up to three days afterward.
Meditation is not only a powerful tool to clear our minds, but also helpful in stimulating the creative areas of our brains and helps us work better while feeling more fulfilled in life.
Working with online clients from different time zones can be overwhelming. I find that only when I can completely disconnect from my phone and laptop that I am taking time off from work.
We live in an era where people expect everyone to respond to their messages, calls, and e-mails straight away, which can interrupt our creative flow and overall wellbeing.
At least once a week, go somewhere that you feel at peace and you can truly disconnect from your work. Leave your phone at home so that nothing can disturb you and enjoy the town that you have chosen as your home away from home.
It’s not always easy to stay motivated when working as a DN, especially for those who have to manage their own businesses or do freelance work. Workflow is not always constant. At certain times of the year, you have so many deadlines that you barely have time to yourself, and at other times, you have too much free time. This lack of balance can be difficult for the mind and body to process and deal with.
To stay healthy, try to take at least one day off per week during busy times, so that you can slow down and focus on yourself.
The most difficult time can be slow times when you are just worried about not having work. Have faith. It’s important to know that the busy times will arrive again, and having had this time for yourself, will help you to stay focused and motivated next time you are overwhelmed with work.
As digital nomads, it’s important that we keep our minds and bodies healthy. I hope the above strategies I have found to work, will also work for you. Which other strategies do you use as a digital nomad? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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