Creating a health & wellness plan for 2020
If you're newly self-employed, working outside of a 9-to-5 environment can be a significant adjustment. Establishing a new schedule, figuring out how to separate working hours from non-working hours, and building your own business can be challenging. Often times, people find it difficult to balance their personal lives with their work lives.
Self-employment also brings with it certain freedoms and flexibility. Self-employed people can create their own schedules, multi-task both personal and work-related items, and adjust their days to meet their needs. Whether you’re fully adapted or new to the self-employment lifestyle, prioritizing your health and wellness is important. Think about it: Companies spend an average of $742 per employee per year on wellness. Why — as your own employer — shouldn’t you make an investment in your own health and wellness?
We’ve put together three major tips to help you create a health and wellness plan for 2020 that works for you.
Improve your physical health and fitness
Physical health and fitness is often the first thing people think of when they hear “health & wellness”...and for good reason. Our physical health can impact a lot of things, including our mental health. This is why it’s important to prioritize our physical health along with any improvements that may be called for.
Some people like to focus on an ideal weight they’d like to reach. Hiring a personal trainer and or nutritionist to help you on your journey can be a great way to build in accountability. Teaming up with a friend can also be helpful, both for accountability and support.
Improving health and fitness extends far beyond weight goals. For some people, taking steps to become more active is a great stride toward improving physical fitness. For others, it may mean getting better sleep every night. For others, it simply means being more mindful of how they fuel their bodies. No matter what your ideas for improvement include, write them down and share with at least one other person. This can keep you accountable to your goals.
Out with old thinking, in with new positive emotions
Just as physical health and fitness is important, so too is mental and emotional health. When we work from home, we often do not realize how this impacts our mental well-being. We often have less feedback loops via other people, which can make it easier to fall into negative thinking patterns.
Instead, focus on ways to repeat and make a habit of positive thinking and behaviors. One way to do this is to practice meditation. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, control anxiety and improve emotional health. Setting aside just 10-15 minutes each day can make a great difference in your mental well-being.
Some people find it helpful to seek additional help in this personal journey from a therapist or other mental health professional. It can be beneficial to meet with someone regularly to discuss your mental and emotional state and to explore ways you may improve both. For people that work from home, it can also be nice to connect with another human as a way to break up the (sometimes lonely) work week.
Set aside time for self-care
Self-employed people who work from home often find that their work and personal lives blur together more than they’d like. Even if you have a separate office for work, it can be easy to hang out in there a little longer than one should.
Setting aside time for yourself to engage in self-care and relaxation is important. While many think of self-care as eating chocolates while soaking in a bubble bath, it entails more than that. Don’t get us wrong — if you love chocolate and bubble baths, go to town! But also recognize that self-care means making sure you’re meeting your core needs, setting aside time for rest, and reducing toxic elements in your life.
Another way to focus on self-care is to write down what makes you happy. This might include spending time with friends, reading books, visiting family, spending time alone, painting...you get the picture.
Then, start to think of ways that you can fit more of this into each day. This could be waking up earlier to get some painting time in. It could mean setting aside one weekend day to have completely to yourself to unwind and recharge. The important thing is to acknowledge what makes you happy and then to take small steps to do more of those things.
It can also be helpful to determine and write down things that do not contribute to your overall happiness along with action steps to avoid these things. For example, if you find yourself saying “yes” too often to events you don't really enjoy that much, write down a reminder that it’s ok to tell people “no.”
These three tips can be helpful in creating a health and wellness plan that works for you in 2020. One final piece of advice to take care of your health and wellness this year: take advantage of health care options. If you are self-employed and living in Austin, consider one of our affordable, comprehensive health care plans. We offer free primary care, year-round open enrollment, and below-market premiums so you can stay healthy without breaking the bank.
Get a free quote today to see if a Decent health plan could boost your health in 2020.