The life of a digital nomad can be exciting—but it also opens room for all sorts of unhealthy habits. When you are constantly on the move and adjusting to new cities, it’s easy to neglect things like nutritious diets and exercise. How can you maintain a healthy lifestyle with so many changes happening? Biochemistry student Cody Moxam has a few tips to share for consistent travelers on how to prioritize their health when living a life on the road:
Before you head to a new city, research online what the local cuisine is like. You probably already have an idea and are excited to try new dishes, but it never hurts to double check what the nutritional value of such meals will be. It’s tempting to ignore nutrition when you travel because isn’t eating a wide range of new food one of the primary things you are supposed to do? You’re not a vacationer, though, so what you eat is not a “break” from a customarily balanced diet. If you see that one culture’s gastronomy is particularly meat or carb heavy, then you know to go out of your way to find some fruits and vegetables.
Should you have any doubts, don’t shy away from asking the locals what they do to stay healthy. They know the ins and outs of their cuisine’s nutritional value, so they are excellent resources for crafting and sticking to a balanced diet. Amanda Scott from WiFi Tribe says:
“The idea is that you plan two meals that are healthy, nutritious, and designed to fuel your body and mind. Then as a reward you have one meal a day out within the local community. I think it’s a great way to stay productive and make the most efficient use of your time as well as work towards the ultimate goal of ‘eating well.’”
Make time for exercise
As an athlete (which he mentions on his official website), Cody Moxam attests to the benefits of exercise. For digital nomads, though, it’s challenging to prioritize fitness when you are bouncing between accommodations, navigating new cities, and meeting new people—not to mention keeping up with work. While walking wherever you can is an excellent way to burn a few calories, sometimes you want to strengthen a few other muscles and organs.
Research local gyms and pay for monthly memberships so that you aren’t paying dues past the time you leave. Follow a workout routine inside your rental accommodation with whatever equipment you have (or you can go equipment-free). Find a place to rent a bike and use it to move around the city. Map out a jogging route that passes by sights you are interested in. Whatever you do, make time for exercise in your day.
Find ways to be healthy at work
As a digital nomad, your job is from your computer—which means that you are probably sitting down for long periods. Remember to take breaks and stretch your legs whenever you have an opportunity to do so. However, there are other ways to stay healthy while you are busy with your job, such as working from a standing desk (there are portable versions you can purchase, or you might be able to find one at a coworking space), and making sure that you have lots of natural light and fresh air.
Besides work, you also spend a considerable amount of time on airplanes. James Moor from Help Scout recommends:
“When you’re on a plane, sit only to sleep. For the rest of the time, as long as the seatbelt sign is turned off, stand at the back of the plane. Read a book, or listen to an audiobook or podcasts. While standing you can stretch and exercise—a few squats here and there will help you arrive feeling alert and flexible.”
Jetlag and swollen feet are bad enough when you step off a plane, so do what you need to do to keep your blood flowing.
Take care of your mental health
You are living a lifestyle that many people dream about, but that does not mean that you are immune to mental health issues. In fact, there are many aspects of digital nomadism that might exacerbate such problems. Loneliness might set in if you are traveling alone, there are constant travel hurdles and headaches to navigate (the stress of purchasing the wrong ticket or dealing with a canceled flight is beyond frustrating), you could experience burnout, and the unpredictability of life can cause high amounts of anxiety. There are many factors that enact a severe toll on your mind.
Remember to take care of yourself. Stick to a sleep schedule, relax when you need to, and don’t give up your hobbies or interests. It might also help to travel slower. One of the best things you can do when you feel overwhelmed or depressed is to talk to someone, so call your loved ones whenever you have an opportunity and talk to an online therapist for necessary counseling (yes, therapists can work remotely, too!).
A life of travel has its perks—but do not let the excitement of it detract from keeping your body and mind healthy. How do you stay in physical and mental shape when on the road?