6 Ways To Support Your Mental Health As A Digital Nomad
It’s not all beer and skittles. Yes, being a digital nomad has its perks; we can’t argue with that. “The world is your oyster” motto is unambiguous for location-independent workers. Just pick a coordinate, any. Starting anew? No strings attached – just like that. Indeed, the lifestyle is known to cause envy in 9-5 office captives. “Freedom” leitmotif is what the roaming digital nomads can and do flaunt. – Simply because they can.
But does the seemingly luxurious and carefree lifestyle come with a price? – Doesn’t everything? No profession is spared of drawbacks. The initial rush and freedom that come with the job ultimately fail to preserve the most sacred to us – a sense of belonging. Indeed, digital nomads are lonesome little raindrops. Here are ways to support your mental health as a digital nomad. Chin up.
The lifestyle: drawbacks
If there’s one thing a digital roamer should be wary of, it’s stress. Heaps of stress. Incoming. Perpetually. And stealthily. So, what are the causes of stress? Let’s take a look.
The notorious burnout
Bliss gone awry; it happens. “I am my own boss.” – yes, but a lot is happening in the background. Managing our working hours can become quite a juggling momentum, especially when working with clients in different time zones. Making everyone happy often proves to be an arduous undertaking. Plus, all the exploring. New places, new language. New people. Burnout?
Stability compass: pending
Then, we have expenses. And unstable income. Every month is a different story; predicting income and expenses becomes nearly impossible, thus, leading to work overdrive – and potential burnout. Although adventurers at heart, many roaming nomads need that sense of security and stability. Anxiety can flourish under these circumstances.
It gets lonely
The “transience” game is strong when you’re a digital nomad. The new friendships we make are often fleeting or superficial. And it’s on to the next one. The whole “and, repeat” leaves us feeling even more isolated and alone. The ceaseless movement invites nostalgia, as it can be months or even years before we can finally see and touch a loving, familiar face.
Mental health tips
So, how do we go about our stressors? Time to heal some wounds, fellow nomads. It’s all about finding that work-life balance.
1 Analog session
Yes, the well-hated digital detox. Digital nomads live metaverse lives, which is part of the job. But it seldom stops there. After hours, most rely on technology to unwind or stay in touch with friends and family. However, minimizing screen time is paramount for our mental (as well as physical health), as overconsumption can lead to various issues, such as anxiety, chronic stress, and depression.
Consequently, many digital pilgrims rely on alcohol to ease the overstimulated synapses. And we don’t want that. Avoiding technology overuse can lessen chronic symptoms, thus, making way for sobriety. Saying no to unhealthy stimuli is a decision with many upsides, including noticeable physical changes after we stop drinking.
2 Order in chaos
Human beings are creatures of routine, no matter how rogue and unyielding. We need structure and order, simple as that. Hence, schedule time – and learn how to keep to it. Is it a pain? Surely. But isn’t every adjusting phase uncomfortable at first? Routine (setting our work hours) can tremendously help our overall productivity. Not only does structure improve our solving skills, but it is also essential for alleviating chronic stress. Once you clock out (same time, day in-day out!), hit “shut down”. No work process residue. Unwind, instead.
3 Let’s get physical
Looking for ways to support your mental health as a digital nomad? Hit the gym, hit the tracks. Stress loathes healthy food and physical activity. Despises! Anything goes, as long as we’re sweating. Be it cycling, paddling, hiking, breakdancing on your lunch break, or indulging in Youtube follow-along(s). A well-balanced, healthy diet prepares the body for optimal performance, so eat your greens. Addiction recovery experts from littlecreekrecovery.org advise: “Exercise is paramount for coping with mental health issues. Anyone can benefit, from individuals in addiction recovery to homesick digital nomads.”
4 R.E.M. kingdom
We call it “cyclical hell”: We are sleep deprived – our productivity suffers. Bad day at work – our cortisol levels rise. We are stressed – we can’t fall asleep. – On repeat. Needless to say, sleep is the most critical physiological need that cannot be suppressed or compensated for via caffeine or other tremor and anxiety-inducing stimuli. In other words, sleep is A MUST. How do we get there? We implement all the healthy stuff: routine, schedule, exercise; we reduce alcohol and coffee intake. You get the picture., Put in the work.
5 Human blankets
Being a digital nomad is all about getting out of our comfort zone and experiencing life to the fullest. Yet, the thrill can easily metamorphose into a lonely affair. We need people. And if we can’t afford to spend quality time with the ones we love, kind strangers will do – at least for the time being. Social support is everything, so go out and socialize. Grabbing a drink with a fellow nomad can ease the solitude ache, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. Every bit helps. Stay in touch with family members, friends, and long-lost loves. (living in a foreign land can bring out Yeats in us)
6 Don’t be shy to ask for help
If everything else fails – there’s always therapy. Brief periods of high-intensity stress regularly occur in today’s spiraling world. However, if we’re experiencing long periods of mental overstimulation (i.e., chronic stress), it’s time to make the call. Remember: we don’t have to be strong every minute and every second of the day. It’s okay to say: “I’m not okay.” Mental health is of utmost importance; turning a blind eye will not make the problems disappear. We act now.
Lastly, one of the healthiest ways to support your mental health as a digital nomad: travel with intention. Seek authentic experiences. Don’t use the “on the run” philosophy. Stay. Absorb. Get to know the country. Appreciate nuances. You’re doing this for you. So, enjoy it.