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How to Stay Healthy As a Freelance Writer

Updated on March 17, 2015
Writing and health are linked.
Writing and health are linked. | Source

What Is A Freelance Writer?

The freelance writer often sets his or her own schedule as to when to write and has deadlines to meet that are set by publishers. While some freelance writers work from home, others are situated in an office environment. There are a variety of genres for the freelance writer, from online articles to print magazines to novels. There are many genres in between those three as well!

While there is variety in the details of the freelance writer, the general conclusions can likely be made:

  • Freelance writers organize how they will spend their day working on the written works.
  • They balance multiple deadlines for projects.
  • They need to balance their health with their work assignments.

The third point is one about being healthy and is one to reflect on.

When a freelance writer's health declines, times can get rough.
When a freelance writer's health declines, times can get rough. | Source

Why Are Freelance Writers At Risk For Poor Health?

Freelance writers can carry huge burdens as they need to meet deadlines. When more projects are taken on, the writer is able to earn more money. When freelance writers have bills to pay and writing is their only source of income, there may be long hours spent at the computer creating works to publish for money.

Long work days can decrease health of freelance writers in many ways. Once healthy freelancers may now suffer from:

  • Eye strain from looking at the computer screen for long periods of time.
  • Back ache from poor posture while sitting down to work.
  • Sore wrists from constantly typing words at the computer.
  • Lack of sleep and insomnia
  • Headaches

What can the once healthy worker do?

News Scoop: Stay Healthy

Newsflash: You want to stay healthy.
Newsflash: You want to stay healthy. | Source

Ways to Stay Healthy

Take Breaks

One way for freelance writers to stay healthy is to take regular breaks during the work days. As freelance writers often set their own schedules, they may lose track of time during the day or not feel they have time to break.

Breaks are necessary to give the mind and body time to relax from being at the computer for hours in a position that is not healthy. Breaks require writers to move away from the computer, giving their legs a chance to stretch and their eyes a rest from the intent vision of the computer screen. Their backs are also able to move, increasing circulation of the muscles in a more healthy way.

Mentally, the writers can refresh as they turn their attention to another task during the break or simply relax on the couch in silence. The mind relaxes and writers often return to the computer following breaks feeling refreshed and have more energy to complete the tasks at hand. Breaks help them to stay healthy.

You don't want to become a zombie mentally.
You don't want to become a zombie mentally. | Source

Regular Exercise

Another great way to stay healthy as a freelance writer is to exercise regularly. Exercise improves mood. Exercise keeps the immune system strong to help keep diseases such as heart disease at bay and to reduce the chances of getting a cold or flu bug. As well, exercise can give people energy and help them stay more focused on their work. What a healthy activity.

Freelancers can use some of their breaks to exercise! Regular exercise means at least three times each week, regardless of fitness level.

There are many ways to exercise to stay healthy. For workers who are short of money, these ways are free:

  • Walk outside
  • Work out to an exercise video or TV show
  • Jog around the neighbourhood
  • Create your own weights by using large soup cans or paint cans.

(NOTE: People who start or modify their fitness plan are best to consult their doctor before doing so. A healthy reminder.)

Sleep is important.
Sleep is important. | Source

Get Adequate Amounts of Sleep

Sometimes freelance writers try to "cheat" sleep, thinking they can work longer hours to catch up on sleep and stay healthy. They are not above getting sick. Long hours of work without sleep means writers can get run down and feel burnt out. This bodily response is the opposite of healthy.

Productivity at writing suffers. Sleep allows the body to rest and to deal better with stress during the freelance day.

If insomnia is an issue for freelance writers, they are recommended to see their doctors for help to get healthy. Each person has a personal medical history that in some way plays into the reason for the insomnia and the method of treatment.

The Healthy Balance between Work and Play for Freelance Writers

These suggestions all hint at one point: that freelance writers need to take time away from work to stay healthy. Work is not to be dismissed as it pays bills and allows for a certain standard of living; however it needs to be balanced with play time.

Freelance writers need to stay healthy by taking time with family and friends. While some days are busy, even a 20 minute phone call is a healthy move. Workers feel refreshed mentally from taking a break and positive after touching base with a friend or family member. Social connections are important ways to stay connected to the world and healthy relationships build self-confidence.

Freelance writers who take breaks, get regular exercise, sleep each night and have social connections are more likely to be healthy and stay healthy too. Health is so important and needs to be a priority each day.

Do You...

Do You Take Breaks From Your Freelance Work?

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    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @dwachira, your support is very appreciated here. Thanks for the comment and I hope you stay healthy.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Nice tips ChristyWrites, now i know how to take care of myself, thanks. Voted up and shared.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @boundarybathrooms, yes a change of scenery can work wonders for the body and the mind. Thanks for your great comments.

    • boundarybathrooms profile image

      Thomas Mulrooney 

      6 years ago from Colne, Lancashire, UK

      It's hard to take a break when you need to get work done, especially when you're in the zone, but I also know that it can work wonders. When I don't take a break I feel sluggish and I just can't concentrate on my work, and even getting up and just walking around for a little bit helps me recover from this.


    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @CloudExplorer, I do understand how obligations to the computer can keep us tied there longer than we may like. Taking breaks is important, as are the healthy snacks you consume. I thank you for your wonderful comments on both the way I organized this hub and my writing style. It is appreciated.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Awesome hub here, and thanks for following me. I like how you've put this hub together its very well written, and balanced when it comes to spacing.

      The criteria here is very useful, and is detailed in such a way for the reader to fully comprehend. I try to take breaks once in a blue, but at times I also feel I need to be intense with my writing, but you're right though, without ample rest the body with not function properly, so I come armed with a supply of water, fruits, veggie drinks, and I get up from time to time to stretch.

      My eyes take the brunt of the physical strain though, and mostly because I'm also a web developer who needs to start at this screen for hours on end at times.

      Hopefully I can retire that part of my digital works soon, but until then I'll keep your advice in mind for sure. I will repay the favor and follow you back in return see you soon in many more hubs of yours.

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Crazzykylex, thank-you! You are quite right. Stay healthy!

      @Perspycacious, Oh that OSHA! I do like to help others and am glad you found the information helpful. Thank-you.

      @htodd, Agreed! Keep smiling :)

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @spartucusjones, Funny you! You are your best boss! Thanks for stopping by and glad you found the hub helpful.

      @Rolly, Those are great tips. Wear sunscreen in the sun! Thanks for the kindness.

      @Raymond, how nice of you to stop by! I think we need to keep balanced living in check so we are able to stay focused and productive in our writing. Thanks for the comment.

      @Patti, You seem to be enjoying success and that is great! I'm glad you are taking breaks and pacing yourself more. You'll figure out a routine soon. Thanks for your comment!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Curiad, yes I believe many freelance writers feel this way. The ironic part is that taking breaks away helps you come back refreshed and feeling stronger! Increased productivity results. Thanks for your comment.

      @Marc, Yes the hub is designed for the full-time freelance writer. I'm enjoying covering a broad range of subjects, thanks for your support!

      @teaches, Perhaps you need to experiment with how you spend your breaks. A walk may work better for you than say watching TV.. personal preferences will help you figure out your best strategy. Thanks for the comment and vote!

      @Bill, You seem to have a firm grasp on balanced living. Have a wonderful day!

    • ChristyWrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Lisa, you really do need to take a break. Reach out to friends and family and explain your situation. Taking a break by writing other subjects is not really a break. Give your mind and body time to refresh. I send you hugs~!

      @NidoNyte, thank-you for the comment and read!

      @jasonponic, What a positive remark, thanks!

    • Crazzykylex profile image


      6 years ago from Incredible India!

      Despite knowing the fact that exercises are essential for a healthy life, writers become so busy in writing, that they hardly care about the workout. Great hub, Christy! Voted Up!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I wonder when OSHA will be knocking at my door! Good points, thanks for thinking of the rest of us and laying it all out there.

    • htodd profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks a lot ..Staying healthy is a must goal for Every freelance writer

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Great hub & practical info! My problem is I tend to take to many breaks. But my boss hasn't fired me yet.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      HI Christy... Thanks for this well done and presented... exercise, lots of sun and eat properly and getting rest are essential.

      Hugs form Alberta

    • profile image

      Raymond Alexander Kukkee 

      6 years ago

      Great article, Christy! We tend to overlook the importance of balance when we get too involved in writing--especially if we have no other source of income. Great advice! ~R

    • Patti Riggs Hale profile image

      Patti Riggs Hale 

      6 years ago from Burdette, Arkansas

      I have just begun to start taking breaks. My tendency at first was to stick to my computer every waking hour and after a year of this, I did get burned out. Now I am trying to balance it more but find I am taking more time on other things than work ;-). I'm thinking it's the early spring that got me started and when the heat gets bad--as it does here in the southern part of the US--I'll be glad to go back inside and sit at my computer again.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Great tips Christy!I find the need to create an income is such a huge stressor that I spend too much time trying.

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      I would say that this is all true for those who make a living writing online. But for the hobbyists and those who simply do it for something to do, balance is not something that even enters their minds.

      Great hub, Christy! Glad to see you branching out and diversifying so much!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      My biggest challenge is to learn to take breaks. And, to have the breaks help to to rejuvenate and relax so that I can effectively write. Thanks for the advice and tips on writing. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All excellent suggestions my dear, ones I already follow. Freelance writing can take its toll if allowed to; balance is the key! Great job Christy!

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      A mistake I've made for ages is to "take breaks" from work by doing something like writing "what I want to write" on HubPages. It IS a break for me because I've always enjoyed writing what I want to write. I do get exercise and even keep some pretty pink or lilac-colored handweights at my desk for shoulder- and arm- stretching (and also to remind me of the side of me that likes things like exercise equipment in pink or lilac).

      It's all worked well for me until about two years ago; and even when it stopped being a source of energy for me and instead started to amount to "no rest ever" and "insufficient sleep always" I just kept it up out of habit (and out of knowing how it well it had always worked for me). At this point, I've been burned out for a year or so. Yet, I've kept going in my burned-out "mode". At this point, I've got years' worth of "M.O." to learn how to change and not a whole lot of "mental energy" left to meet the challenges of changing it. :/

      As with so many other "bad, living, habits", it's had a way of starting small and creeping in without my ever noticing it happening. Why I've kept going on "as is" in a burnout mode, I don't know. I'm just someone who keeps going no matter what. I used to think of that as a positive thing, and I was happy to have the ability to do it. At this point, I don't really have the ability to do it any longer.

    • NidoNyte profile image


      6 years ago from The Lone Star State

      As if I didn't need any more reasons to stay in bed more. Helpful, relevant advice for every writer.

    • jasonponic profile image

      Jason Ponic 

      6 years ago from Albuquerque

      Very useful advice!! Vote up!


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