How Exercising Has Helped My Freelancing
When I started freelancing full-time in mid-August, I realized something. Now that I’m unburdened by a morning commute via public transit, I have an extra hour or so added to my day. I’m trying to get in shape anyway, so I use this time to exercise during the week. (It’s either that or sleep in more, which I’m physically incapable of doing without getting headache).
I've talked about how freelancing has improved my wellness in the past. For nearly a month, I’ve been exercising for five days a week. I live pretty close to Lake Michigan, so I walk along the lake three days a week and practice yoga twice a week at home.
I have a confession. I don’t work out for the sake of getting healthy, though that’s a big part of it. I mostly exercise to get my mental health on track before starting my workday. Research has shown that exercising, particularly running, walking and dancing, reduces anxiety and depression.
When I started freelancing, I felt a wave of relief, but as the days have gone on, I’ve started to feel more anxious about my finances despite having an emergency fund, earning commissions on stories, and continuing my job search. I find myself waking up and reaching for my phone to see what time it is, but then I go down a digital rabbit hole of emails and social media updates, a habit which I definitely need to stop.
However, exercising early in the morning gets me back in tune with my body and sense of self. There’s something about walking near a large body of water that reminds you of how small you are, how small your problems are. The sound of Lake Michigan waves washing over the beach and nearby concrete trail always calms me. Plus, there are tons of other people riding bikes, running and walking, which gives me a sense of community.
Yoga is great for managing your anxiety. It helps me to tune out anything that’s stressing me out and reconnect my mind with my body. Sometimes I notice tension in my shoulders, neck, and upper back, which I’m assuming comes from a posture I’m working desperately to improve. After a 20- to 30-minute yoga practice, I can start or return to work feeling like I can conquer anything.
Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, working out is even more important for your business. Anxiety and depression can be huge blockers from getting things done. The more time you spend worrying about stuff, the less time you’ll spend doing what you actually need to get done. But it happens to the best of us.
Many people will need more professional help from a therapist or counselor. But in addition to that, I think incorporating exercise into your day could ease business-related stress and ultimately keep you on track. Remember, it’s okay to take a break and check in with yourself as long as you come back to work and recall why you fell in love with creative work in the first place.
Do you exercise to ease stress? What workouts help you to manage stress? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Yes, your email will actually make it to me.)