8 Tips to Achieve Wellness as a Digital Nomad
6 min read
In recent years, the structure of work has changed for many worldwide. Traditional work has pivoted away from in-house and begun utilizing hybrid and remote work models, giving employees the opportunity to explore the boundaries of their new work life.
With work at their fingertips, remote employees have decided to take full advantage of their new location independent lifestyle. What was once a gated community for bloggers, digital artists, and entrepreneurs has opened up to several industries and careers like marketing, data entry, and even teaching.
It’s best to be prepared if you’re thinking of making the transition to a digital nomad lifestyle. One of the most common issues amongst digital nomads is burnout. The lifestyle change can be jarring, and, if you aren’t prepared, it can drastically impact your health and wellness.
Here are a few pointers to help achieve wellness as a digital nomad.
1. Create a Healthy Sleep Routine
Healthy sleep routines are important for everyone to achieve wellness, no matter their profession or lifestyle. Most adults need seven or more hours of good-quality sleep to reduce stress, improve their mood, and maintain focus. However, creating healthy sleep routines can be extremely difficult for digital nomads. Never in the same place for long, digital nomads have unique challenges when it comes to sleep.
Many people have experienced taking trips and finding it difficult to settle in and sleep. The first-night effect is a sleeping experience that most people have encountered in their lives. First-night effect impacts sleep efficiency, REM sleep patterns, and decreased sleep time. Always on the go, digital nomads are susceptible to first-night effect more often than most. To help, consider something like Calm — a unique blend of adaptogenic mushrooms & ancient medicinal herbs shown to help slow down, quiet the mind, and reduce restlessness — to help regulate your sleep when changing locations. The boost in melatonin can be a helpful tool to maintain a healthy sleep schedule and achieve wellness.
As a digital nomad, you may find yourself staring at screens for long periods of time. Blue light emitted from screens suppresses the production of melatonin, an important hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns. It’s best to avoid using screens for up to two hours before falling asleep.
2. Take Some Personal Time
It can be easy for digital nomads to get caught up in the whirlwind of travel and work. Constantly moving, working, and experiencing new cultures can leave little time to just breathe. However, it’s important to create time for yourself to decompress and achieve wellness.
Working as a digital nomad may feel like a vacation at times, however it can also be overwhelming. To avoid burnout and maintain mental wellness, remember to take personal days. Utilizing personal days are a great way to free up time to decompress from work and enjoy the benefits of being a digital nomad.
The digital nomad lifestyle often leaves us disconnected from those that matter the most to us. It’s important to take time out of your travels to return home and visit with loved ones face to face. Regular social interactions with those we love helps to achieve social and psychological wellbeing.
3. Travel Mindfully
Traveling as a digital nomad can be stressful, especially when you’re bouncing from place to place. But it doesn’t have to be. Be mindful of your travels when deciding on destinations. It can be easy to become overwhelmed if your travels aren’t properly planned.
Plan an adequate amount of time between your visits. Stay a while and don’t rush through the experience. Taking the time to catch your breath and enjoy what’s around you is important to remain stress-free and relaxed. Depending on your location, it may vary on how long you’re able to stay as a digital nomad, so remember to keep up-to-date on any local laws when visiting and working in an unfamiliar location.
Limit your travel load to one or two bags. Light packing will help reduce unnecessary travel stress and help you save both time and money. Consider compression cubes to help optimize organizational needs and lessen packing problems like tangled cords. If traveling to foreign places, remember to leave room for small things you may pick up along your journey.
4. Stay Connected and Social
People are naturally social. We benefit from being social. It helps us reduce stress and anxiety, and can help prolong life. But working as a digital nomad can be lonely. Usually traveling alone, digital nomads are constantly changing locations, making it difficult to establish organic friendships without a little extra effort.
Don’t be shy. To be a digital nomad you’re going to need to take the initiative to participate in local social events. Go to festivals, bars, and other areas that are popular with locals to meet people. Face to face interactions are healthy and necessary for us to achieve wellness. Research your area and get to know what’s available to you.
To achieve social wellness, take time out of each day to socialize with your friends and family. Carve out a half hour every day to reach out and stay connected. Utilize social media, group chats, video calls or whichever works best for you. Remember, if you’re working in a different time zone you may have to strategically plan around schedules and time differences to effectively cultivate your relationships while traveling.
5. Monitor Your Mental Health
Always on the road, and usually working alone, the digital nomad lifestyle can have a major impact on mental health. Many digital nomads have reported experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, and commonly wrestle with feelings of loneliness. It can be hard to achieve wellness when dealing with mental health, especially when traveling and working.
Practicing meditation is an easy and effective way to monitor your mental health and achieve wellness. Meditation has been proven to improve self awareness, sharpen focus, and can help reduce memory loss. Before starting each day, take 15 minutes to meditate. All you need is space to sit or stand, whichever is more comfortable for you.
Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. With the largest portions dealing with anxiety and depression. The digital nomad lifestyle can make it hard to build a relationship with a mental health expert. Luckily, the rise of telehealth has made it easy for those of us on-the-go to access and maintain those relations. If you’re not struggling with mental health it can still be a beneficial experience that can bring stability and peace of mind to the digital nomad lifestyle.
6. Physical Health
Staying physically fit and healthy is an important factor for adding longevity to the digital nomad lifestyle. Most digital nomad jobs require you to sit for long periods in front of computer screens which can have negative effects on your back and eye health.
Stay active. Exercise has been found to promote long life, increased productivity, and improved mood. All of which are important factors of maintaining the digital nomad lifestyle. Take time out of your workday to stretch and walk. It doesn’t matter how you choose to exercise as long as you do. Staying fit and mobile is a pivotal part of achieving wellness as a digital nomad.
Excessive screen time is a common concern for most people. Working as a digital nomad exposes us to more than the recommended amount of screen time of six hours. Additionally it can have negative impacts on our eye health causing dryness and irritation. To help avoid these concerns, take regular breaks from your screen every 30 minutes or so. It’s also important to remember to schedule regular eye exams and to try different types of glasses to see what works best for you.
7. Prioritize Nutrition
Maintaining proper nutrition is a key factor in promoting longevity and decreasing the possibility of burnout. As a digital nomad, it can be difficult to maintain a proper diet while constantly traveling, resorting to on-the-go snacks, and airport food. However, it’s best to prioritize nutrition whenever possible.
Everyone has their own dietary needs. Some of us are plant-based. While others are carnivorous. Diets range and vary, but they can be hard to properly maintain in the ever moving lifestyle of a digital nomad. When traveling to new places be sure to research the area and the local foods to help navigate around, diets, sensitivities, and allergies.
While traveling between destinations, avoid fast food and pre-pack. While grab-n-go food is convenient it’s also unhealthy and oftentimes heavy. Stick with light, easy to travel foods to avoid emergency stops and possible stomach upset. Essential shakes are also a great option to save time, money, and get the nutrients you need for an active and productive day without the need for a bulky lunchbox.
8. Cleanliness On-the-Go
While the height of the pandemic panic has passed it’s still important to maintain cleanliness, especially while traveling. While cleanliness may seem like a small detail when it comes to achieving wellness, it can play a major role in preventing illness and spreading unnecessary germs.
Carry wipes for your devices and belongings. Digital nomads are often in various places within short amounts of time, making it easy for them to pick up and drop off germs, viruses, and more. To prevent the likelihood of doing so, wipe down your devices like cell phones and laptops every so often. If you wear glasses, jewelry, or other accessories wipe those down too as they tend to collect dust and other particles that may go unnoticed.
When traveling to an unfamiliar location be sure to research the local practices for sanitation. While Americans enjoy a toilet bowl and toilet paper, places like Thailand offer a different bathroom experience. It’s best to be prepared for the inevitable culture shock, and to have the necessities you may need to ensure cleanliness while respecting local customs.
As a digital nomad, establishing healthy habits and routines is important in order to achieve wellness during your travels. Caring for your wellness provides longevity and resilience to a lifestyle that can be mentally and physically oppressive to the unprepared.
Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.