Those who aren’t familiar with the digital nomad lifestyle might think it’s all sunshine and roses. But boy, oh boy, for those of us who live the digital nomadic lifestyle, we’re very aware of the stress it brings into our lives. It’s true that there are many perks, like living in countries substantially cheaper compared to your pay grade, changing an office atmosphere to some of the most spectacular sceneries in the world, and being able to travel and live in places people can only dream of having a vacation in.
So what can create stress in living such a beautiful lifestyle? Here are some reasons to think of:
- No guaranteed income can take a toll on anyone. Some months you might be killing it, and some months you stare at your laptop screen with thoughts of despair. Being a freelancer is very stressful!
- Hard work – a lot of digital nomads left their 9-5 jobs, just to find themselves working 12 hours a day some weeks, in strange hours (as you’ll need to align with your clients’ time zone for meetings and calls). There’s no paid overtime, no holidays, and no bonuses.
- Lack of a stable social environment is something that really gets to you the longer you travel and live this lifestyle. At the beginning people tend to be mesmerised by meeting a lot of exciting new people all the time. But after a while the loneliness creeps in, and many feel stressed about lacking deep and meaningful friendships and family time.
- The lack of routine is one of the attractive traits of the nomadic lifestyle, and therefore draws people who hate strict schedules. However, traveling around, dealing with forein countries’ bureaucracy, power outages, crappy internet connection, no office and such can take a toll on anyone.
- Single digital nomads will find it very hard at times to start a meaningful relationship. It’s not very easy to find someone who can allow herself or will want to live as a digital nomad.
- A very minimalistic lifestyle is a must, as you can’t allow yourself to collect possessions. Though it can be enjoyable, you sometimes just miss having things.
Ways to deal with stress as a digital nomad
It’s important that anyone who chooses this lifestyle is aware of the difficulties, and has some knowledge of what to do once you have them, or how to keep yourself from having these problems. Read the tips we gathered for you here, and bullet proof your digital nomad lifestyle!
Be in shape – health body, healthy mind
It’s scientifically proven that physical activity lifts up your mood and keeps you energized! You can find great personal training apps that will keep you on the right track no matter where you’re at. But it’s not only working out, we suggest that you sign up to the gym, yoga classes, free-diving classes, muay thai classes (if you’re in Thailand), boxing classes if you’re in the Philippines, and so on. You get the idea… workout and socialize at the same time. Once you commit to a class with other individuals with a similar set of interests you’re more likely to meet and make friends, locals, expats and people like yourself. It’s killing two birds with one stone really.
Try to stick to a routine
As hard as it can be, sticking to a routine can make a huge impact on your well being. You’ll need to have a computer downtime, and even try to make calls and meetings with clients in a reasonable time (as hard as it can be with your current time zone). It will free time for hitting the gym, and going out socializing, as well as actually enjoying the beauty of your new location.
Don’t give up on your weekends
Everyone needs some time to unwind, and therefore keeping the weekend mostly off is super important. You’ll need some time to let your brain rest from work and stress, and the weekend is the perfect time to do it. Most other people are off that time, and it will allow you to connect with some of them.
It’s very easy to get caught up with work, and spend your evening working and making money, but it’s a slippery slope, and most likely it will turn your schedule upside down. You won’t be surprised to learn that most people are free in the evening, and a lot of them go out and socialize. As a digital nomad, it’s very easy to get lonely – so don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet people.
Join a coworking space in places you’ll stay long enough
It’s a good idea to put yourself in a working environment every once in a while. When you’re moving around that often, especially in touristy spots, you’ll be around people who travel, mainly for touristy reasons. It can be very difficult to focus on work when you’re surrounded by people who just have fun. Also, it’s a nice change to have a stable internet connection, air conditioning, coffee and snacks – just a professional setting for change.
Sign up for dating apps designated to digital nomads
It’s very difficult to date when you’re a single nomad. You might get away with hooking up, but finding a meaningful relationship can be hard. Therefore, signing up to a designated dating app can match you with like minded individuals, and your path can even converge to one, and travel together.
Don’t neglect your mental health, get a therapist if you feel you need to
Many services are now getting available online. Living as a digital nomad brings a lot of stress to the table, and therapy is no longer a privilege, but a part of everyday life for many regular people. Online therapy is getting huge, and it’s a convenient and easy way to get treated. There are many online therapy sites you can choose from depending on the kind of problem you want to fix.
Stay at least a month in one place
Don’t stress yourself too much, you’re not in a race around the globe. Moving around is tedious and stressful, and when you combine it with work it can be hellish. Take your time and give yourself the chance to relax. There’s a lot of comfort and advantages in that. Renting your own flat, your own bike, being more self sufficient for a while can really do wonders to your mental health.
Keeping yourself healthy, physically and mentally is very important. You won’t enjoy all the amazing benefits of being a digital nomad if you’re stressed and non-functional. Burning out is something that can happen before you even notice when being a digital nomad, and you won’t have a good support group as you would have when you’re back home with your family and friends. Alex from Alex in Wonderland wrote a very interesting piece on how she coped when she was on the brink of burning out while in Thailand. Keep traveling, and keep healthy.