The digital nomad lifestyle is becoming more popular by the day. The year 2020 has further popularized this trend as many people started working remotely and realized the opportunities that this arrangement brought.
Nomadic life has many charms. Freelance nomads travel for freedom and adventure. They get to experience so much more than someone who rarely goes abroad and travels only as a tourist.
However, not having a base and always being on the move can be extremely stressful and disorienting. Here’s how to deal with the stress of the nomadic lifestyle.
Follow a Routine No Matter Where You Are
A sense of stability doesn’t have to come from a familiar place, such as your hometown. It can also stem from your inner sense of familiarity that comes with doing things the way you’re used to.
Being in a new city, immersed in a completely new culture, surrounded by people who speak a different language can make you feel lost. However, if you create a routine and stick to it no matter where you drop your suitcase, you’ll learn to rely on this kind of stability that comes from within and doesn’t depend on external circumstances.
For example, you can have a work schedule and little daily rituals, such as drinking a cup of tea in the morning while leafing (or scrolling) through your favorite magazine.
Slow Your Roll
The FOMO is sometimes way too real. You see other nomads on Instagram hopping from place to place, trying this and that, and it seems like their day is longer than 24 hours. It’s important to remember that social media is not reality, and there’s a high chance these people are severely burnt out.
If you want to avoid burnout, you need to take it slow. In fact, statistics show that most nomads travel slow, and only 17% visit more than five countries a year. Remember that you’re not on a vacation – you actually have to work and then make time for exploring your country of choice.
Take Your Hobbies With You
While you can’t pack your friends up in a suitcase and take them with you for moral support, you can take something else with you — your hobbies. Studies show that hobbies are extremely beneficial for stress relief, and they have a positive effect on your mental and physical well-being.
Whether you’re an artsy type who likes to paint, journal, or play an instrument, or you’re more into reading, knitting, or doing yoga, make sure to carve some time out of each day to enjoy your favorite pastime. It will do wonders for your mental health.
Give Yourself Work-Free Days
People with traditional jobs often think freelancing is all about doing little and having tons of free time. Usually, it’s quite the opposite. Freelancers always have something to do, and even on their days off, they might have to open their laptops and deal with an important client’s emergency.
However, if you work every single day of the week, even if only for a couple of hours, you can never truly relax and wind down. That’s why it’s essential to give yourself at least one full day off every week. A day off gives you the opportunity to reset and start afresh.
Don’t Let Your Roots Grow Deep
No matter how much you love the place you’re staying at, always remember that, after all, it’s a temporary station for you. This mindset will not only make it easier to move on to the next place psychologically and emotionally, but it will help you make practical decisions about your stay there.
For example, as Haines Fleet shows, it’s much better to lease a car than buy one when you’re abroad. That way, you won’t have to think about selling it or taking it with you when the time comes to move. In other words, don’t make any long-term commitments (yes, we’re also talking about relationships), which will be difficult to break off eventually.
Find Many Opportunities to Socialize
Maintaining friendships is extremely difficult for people who are always on the go. As a digital nomad, you’ll probably make tons of friends all over the world, but keeping in touch with them is the hard part.
That’s why it’s important to make an effort to keep your long-term relationships, even if they’re long-distance. Your oldest friends are your best anchor, and you don’t have to lose them because of your lifestyle choice.
When you get to the new place, find opportunities to socialize so that you don’t feel alone and isolated. Luckily, you can join digital nomad groups for your country of choice and find people there. You can also visit the local coworking spaces, which often organize networking events.
Stay Fit and Healthy
It’s notoriously hard to take care of what you eat and how you sleep when you’re basically uprooting your life. However, you should prioritize your health, both mental and physical. You don’t need to be a gym bunny in order to stay fit. Just make an effort to eat a bit healthier and squeeze in some basic exercises in your day.
You can get a mat, and even if you don’t have much time, roll it out, and at least do some stretches. Not only are they great for your body, but they help your body release endorphins — hormones that relieve pain and stress.
If You’re Feeling Down, Reach Out
The number one reason digital nomads decide to return home is loneliness. This fact is unsurprising as being alone abroad can feel somewhat like Sofia Coppola’s movie “Lost in Translation.” Now, you don’t need to find your Bill Murray or Scarlett Johansson to stave away your loneliness, but you should always reach out to someone.
You may contact your friends and family back home for support. If this is not an option, you can reach out to the community of nomads in the place you’re staying or even online. No one understands the feeling better than them, and they can help you cope with it.
Ultimately, you can look for professional help and even reach out to an online therapist. Just remember that you may feel lonely, but you’re never really alone.