Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

Health – How to Cope With Quarantine Physically and Mentally

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Our health should always come first. But especially in times like these, it is important that we support our body and mind equally to function as they should.

Not for nothing did the ancient Romans say Mens sana in corpore sano est. Because body and mind form a unity and to really stay healthy, both have to be taken care of equally.

But while we have been educated in body hygiene from childhood on, the hygiene of our mind is different. So, today, I have put together a few tips for you to keep both healthy.

But first of all, I would like to point out that I am not a doctor, physiotherapist or psychologist. This blog post is based on my personal experiences with my own body, which I would like to share here. If you have physical or psychological problems, you should definitely see a doctor and not treat yourself with my tips.

Physical Health

This section is about physical health. What can we do to support our bodies. Because health is anything but guaranteed. There are many things we can do to stay healthy.

Drinking

It is no secret that the human body is largely made up of water. In fact, we’re talking about 80 percent!

So it is no wonder that water is, so to speak, our elixir of life.

I myself, especially when working in the home office, often find myself not drinking enough because I am so in my little bubble. But it is important to stay hydrated at work so that the body and especially the brain have enough energy to do what we expect them to do.

In principle, drinking is generally good. But it is best if you really drink water. If you – like me – don’t drink so much water, but prefer something with flavor, I have a tip: the magic word is Fruit Infused Water!

Fruit Infused Water brings two advantages:

  1. It tastes really good and you automatically drink more water
  2. It is well known that fruits contain vitamins and minerals, but did you also know that they release them into the water?

Yes, you read correctly! The water then contains the vitamins and minerals of the fruits, so you simply take them in with every sip when you drink.

Smoothies and juices are also healthy, they have more calories though, which is why you can drink more of the tasty water.

Fruit Infused Water

 

Furthermore, when you drink, you also flush any bacteria and viruses down into your stomach, where they are killed by the gastric acid. So: Ready for the water bottle, steady, go!

 

Eating

Meanwhile there are numerous nutritional concepts and everyone who chooses one of them believes to have found the healthiest nutrition for themselves. And that may be true. Because every person is different! This might also be connected for example to food allergies, intolerances or ethical/religious reasons. In addition, the energy and nutrient intake looks a little different for each person.

However, there are nutrition guidelines of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE). These guidelines help if you want to eat a full diet based on the latest scientific findings.

What they mainly say is that you should have a balanced and varied diet. Too one-sided is not good and does not give your body everything it needs. Makes ssense, right? These are the 10 rules of the DGE, which serve as an orientation:

  1. Eat a variety of foods
  2. Lots of grain and potatoes
  3. Five portions of fruits and vegetables per day
  4. Milk / dairy products daily
  5. Fish once or twice a week
  6. Meat, sausage and eggs in moderation
  7. Little fat
  8. Sugar and salt in moderation
  9. Plenty of liquid
  10. Gentle food preparation

I know it can be tempting to throw a frozen pizza in the oven during quarantine and then just keep watching your favorite Netflix series. But please, please try to get over your inner bastard and eat a healthy diet. This is more important now than ever, as your body needs a strong immune system to fight bacteria and viruses in case you get sick.

 

Food Supplements

Of course, taking in the necessary vitamins and minerals through food and water is best for the body. Nevertheless, it makes sense to consider food supplements, as the name suggests, can support the body in addition to a balanced diet.

When I am in Germany, for example, I like to take vitamin D tablets because I am much less exposed to the sun here than when I am traveling in South East Asia.

Apart from that I take the following:

  • Zinc: I also try to support my immune system with zinc.
  • Magnesium: From time to time I take magnesium, which supports my muscles when I work out a lot – like now in times of social distancing. I prefer sticks that contain a powder that foams in my mouth. Personally, I don’t like effervescent tablets at all, so I choose different variants.
  • Turmeric: Among other things, turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects. As I unfortunately often suffer from tendinitis and cystitis, I take turmeric in the form of so-called golden milk to help my body heal itself. Golden milk is a powder of turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger. Other effects of turmeric are: help the digestion, prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s.

 

Working out

In order to stay fit and healthy, it is also essential to be physically active at least occasionally. This can be a walk or a round of circuit training in the living room. The main thing is that you do sports. At least three to four times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.

Reasons why exercise keeps you healthy:

  • The immune system is strengthened. The reason for this is the release of adrenaline, which causes the defence cells to multiply more quickly. Thus the body automatically produces more natural killer cells, white blood cells, T and B lymphocytes. This only happens during training, but you also train your immune system to react faster in case of illness. If you do sports regularly, you reduce the risk of getting sick in general and can even counteract serious diseases such as cancer.
  • The cardiovascular system is kept fit, because your heart muscles are strengthened by endurance training. The stronger the muscles, the less often the heart has to beat. Your heart is thus spared and better supplied with blood. In addition, the blood vessels become elastic and the resistance in the vessels is reduced. This reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Sport has a positive effect on cholesterol levels, which can prevent arteriosclerosis. This in turn can result in secondary diseases such as stroke or heart attack.
  • It can prevent a variety of diseases

 

Washing

And even if this point could trigger a shitstorm, I can’t help but write my opinion on it: Dear people, of course washing is important. And especially in times of Corona you should wash your hands more often. But in my opinion, two things are important:

  1. Attentiveness: You don’t have to wash or disinfect your hands indiscriminately all the time. Be aware of where you are and what you are touching and then wash your hands accordingly. You should also be aware of when and how you touch your face. But honestly? It was like that before Corona, too! I will never forget how I once fed a few goats when I was about six years old and didn’t wash my hands afterwards. I was sick for a week. But really, really sick. And you know what? I’ve learned my lesson! But the lesson was not to wash my hands every time I get a chance for it…
  2. We do not support our body if we constantly destroy what it is trying to build for us: which is a natural layer of fat that our skin needs. Besides, I grew up with the phrase ‘dirt cleans the stomach’ and I am firmly convinced that this is true. Of course, again, every body is different. And if you basically have a weakened immune system and/or previous illnesses, it is complete nonsense to burden your body with even more bacteria. But a healthy body grows on such small challenges. Unless it’s bacteria from goats that a little six-year-old girl is feeding. But joke aside: I think even through setbacks like this my immune system just grew in the end. I am very thankful that it is doing such a good job for me and I am sure that it has something to do with the fact that I don’t walk around with hand sanitizers. Not even in Asia or Latin America. And when I see a street food stand I’m the first one ordering and eating with the hands…

The same applies, in my opinion, to body and hair. You don’t have to shower twice a day and you don’t have to wash your hair every day. Both skin and hair will thank you and be much healthier if you give them the necessary attention, but only at the right time.

 

Mental Health

“You can live 100 years without sickness if you don’t worry for a second”

This Chinese proverb is probably difficult to put into practice – who lives without worries? – but that doesn’t make it any less true. Worries can also make you ill. Why do you think we are “sick with worry” when we are extremely worried? What happens in our mind has effects on our body. Because, as I wrote at the beginning: they are a unity.

So a few ways how to take care of your mental health you will now learn:

 

Meditation

The basic prerequisite for mental health is inner balance. And how could you achieve this better than through meditation? You can approach this topic in different ways:

  • Guided meditation with apps: Apps like HeadSpace can guide you through the meditation. You will be guided on how to breathe and what to focus your thoughts on. Personally, I think this is the perfect way to get started!
  • Meditation with YouTube: On YouTube you will also find numerous videos for meditation. Either with instructions or purely with pleasant music, which should make it easier for you to come to rest and direct your thoughts inwards.
  • Meditation with friends via Zoom: Since you currently do not have the opportunity to meet with others and this would be more time-consuming anyways, you can consider whether you have friends who are also interested in meditation. Then you can meet via Zoom and meditate together. This way you are less tempted to be distracted.

 

Mindfulness

I do not write or talk about mindfulness very often. Because I have to admit, I am not yet 100% clear about the concept of mindfulness. In the Buddhist monastery Wat Pa Tam Wua, where I spent a few days last year, mindfulness was the highest commandment. Mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful cleaning up. I am also reading a book written by a Buddhist monk: Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames*. This book is also very much about mindfulness, with which we should treat and then embrace our anger and resentment.

The crucial point of mindfulness seems to be that you are completely in the here and now. That you are attentively observing yourself as if you were looking at yourself from the outside: your thoughts, but also your actions. But you should not evaluate them. One could also say that mindfulness is the basis of meditation. Because meditation – at least the Samatha technique – is also about mindfulness, mostly about mindful breathing.

Through mindfulness exercises you can increase your well-being… And thus improve your mental health!

 

Gratefulness

Worries and fears very often cover up all the positive things that happen in our lives. These can be big, but also very small successes. Or simply lucky situations that make us lucky by birth or events over which we have no influence. We should be thankful for all this and also keep them in mind. I have been doing gratitude exercises for over two years now. Firstly, since January 2018, I have been writing a gratitude diary, in which I write three things every day, preferably in the morning, for which I am grateful. On the other hand, I also do visualization exercises, in which I visualize situations in my life that have resulted in something for which I am grateful. Like this, I start my days with positive thoughts.

 

Priming

Priming is a technique I learned at Unleash the Power Within from Tony Robbins. It is a mixture of breathing exercises to oxygenate the brain, gratitude exercises and visualization techniques à la Vision Board. I do priming sometimes more, sometimes less often. Basically, however, I usually have the feeling that it helps me more than ordinary meditation. This is because I have an active monkey mind. That’s what it was called during my Vipassana in Thailand: a very active mind that is difficult to disconnect. When I want to meditate, my monkey basically decides that he absolutely needs to throw a wild party immediately, while I can keep him calm during priming by visualizations.

 

Positive Thoughts

Our thoughts are important in all this. They influence our emotions and our mental well-being. In order to focus on the positive thoughts, you can, for example, use the techniques mentioned above. But there are other ways with which you can spread small crumbs of positivity in your life.

For example, I have a bracelet that I only take off for showering. I can turn it around and on the inside it says Believe in Yourself. In the beginning, I turned it over and over again, but now I just look at the bracelet and the three words appear in front of my inner eye. It floods me with new energy every time.

In addition, I have various things here in my room and even in the whole apartment that remind me of beautiful moments in my life: souvenirs from my travels, photos taken by me printed on canvas, clothes that I bought on my travels and that make me travel back to the place mentally.

Currently, I am thinking about setting up a small house temple. Not because I want to become Buddhist, but because it would give me a bit of Thailand feeling here in Germany.

 

Being Offline

Believe me, the Internet and social media are incredibly important to me. They are a part of my life and I can hardly imagine to live without it. After all, I am something like an influencer (no, I don’t have flu or corona). Nevertheless, it is essential for my mental health to give me a little bit of space from time to time. Away from Likes and the share button, with which I can show the world what makes me laugh or cry.

I can count on one hand the days I’ve been offline for the last decade. Okay, two hands. But that’s only because I was offline for four days straight at the monastery last year. And especially the time there and my offline time afterwards have been incredibly re-energizing for me.

One factor is crucial, which is why I included it in the title of this section: You should make a conscious decision. Of the eight or nine days I was offline, some were neither conscious nor intentional. And then there is a boundary in my head and I can hardly control myself. If I can mentally prepare myself for being offline, finish all the open tasks and then decide for myself when to turn off the Internet, I’m totally cool with it. But if the opposite is the case, my monkey goes completely crazy again.

Therefore my tip: Plan consciously times, in which you switch off the Internet! Use this time to go out, read, meditate. Whatever you enjoy.

 

Moving And Fresh Air

I have already mentioned above how important sport is. But exercise is also very important for mental health. You don’t need 200 squats or 100 push-ups for that. No, a walk at the fresh air helps a lot and clears the head. Think about past situations where you were faced with a problem at work and could not come up with a solution. You’ve been sitting in front of the computer for hours and your head has been smoking like crazy. But you didn’t wanna give up, right? Did it happen then that you finally got out because it just didn’t make sense to sit there doing nothing anymore? Sure! I’ve experienced something like that myself many times and been told about it by others just as often. I bet that fresh air and moving your stiff body made you feel better quite immediately. And I also bet that when you returned to work you suddenly came up with a solution. Just as if it had been there all along but you weren’t able to see it.

 

Final Thoughts

This was only a small insight into the topic of physical and mental health. But they are all things I try to implement daily or at least very regularly. There is so much more to it, but I think that was good enough for a first overview. In the next few weeks I would like to write more blog posts on individual topics mentioned here.

So stay tuned and write in the comments what you do for your health and mental health!

Yours Barbara

PS: This post has been sponsored by Trusted Blogs. I’m deeply grateful that they want to support fulltime bloggers affected by the crisis and, therefor, decided to sponsor one post per blogger for a selected group of bloggers. And I am one of them <3 They had no say in the topic or the ideas I’m sharing. This is my own opinion.

PPS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

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Best Foods to Boost Your Productivity

Best Foods to Boost Your Productivity

Best Foods to Boost Your Productivity

GUEST POST ABOUT BEST FOODS TO BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY BY ANNA ASHMORE

People are always looking for different ways to be more productive. Some folks try to limit their distractions, while others are concentrated on getting enough sleep before going to work and staying hydrated during work hours. There is also one more way to boost your productivity and that is eating certain healthy foods. You can get these foods from a grocery shop or have them delivered to your office. To help you enhance your productivity levels, we’ve handpicked some of the best healthy foods out there.

1. Salmon

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Did you know that fatty fishes like salmon contain extremely high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and can boost your productivity at the office? These acids are known to be beneficial for your brain and can improve mental performances. It is good to know that other fatty fish including herring, kipper, trout, and sardines also contain high levels of omega-3s.

2. Blueberries

This is a no-brainer. Berries, especially blueberries are considered being one of the best foods for your brain. They contain everything from fiber and phytonutrients to vitamins and antioxidants. Studies have shown that antioxidants that are found in blueberries help boost focus and improve memory skills.

3. Kale

Many people don’t like the taste of this leafy green vegetable, but the truth is that kale supplies your body and brain with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and iron. There are many cool recipes online that include kale as one of the main ingredients. You can put it as a topping on your burger, eat it raw, or use your blender to prepare kale.

4. Watermelons

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If you like going to the gym, watermelon is a great fruit to have after a long work out. It contains high levels of L-citrulline which is an amino acid that improves blood circulation, helps soothe sore muscles, and relaxes your blood vessels.

5. Dark Chocolate

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Are you craving something sweet, but at the same time wish to limit your sugar intake? Dark chocolate contains caffeine, magnesium for stress relief, and high levels of antioxidants. Get a bar or two of this energy-boosting treat to improve your cognitive function and overall focus.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds are full of B vitamin, magnesium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and tryptophan. This means that this seed is an excellent memory booster and can help you focus more at work. The good news is that you can find many pumpkin seeds recipes online.

7. Avocados

One of the best ways to be productive is to have a consistent flow of blood to the brain and heart. This is where Avocados come in handy, as they are packed with heart-healthy acids including the oleic acid which is known to improve blood flow and also lowers your cholesterol.

8. Eggplant

Thanks to the high-levels of nutrient nasunin, the skin of the eggplant is one of the healthiest foods out there. The thing is that nasunin is an antioxidant that is known to protect your brain cell membranes and helps you to stay focused. Of course, eggplants are also full of dietary fiber, potassium, copper, and Vitamin B.

9. Bananas

Packed with antioxidants, Vitamin B, and minerals, Bananas assist your brain in synthesizing neurotransmitters, help you think sharp, and lower your stress levels. If you are experiencing stomach problems, bananas are full of fibers that can help deal with this issue.

10. Spinach

Popeye’s favorite food, Spinach is full of many nutrients and has plenty of positive effects on your body and mind. It builds strong muscles and bones, helps your brain focus, and reduces stress. Some people think that eating spinach without anything else is not that interesting, but luckily there are many spinach recipes online like Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli, Spinach and Tofu Salad with Peanut–Miso Dressing, and Veal and Spinach Lasagna.

Pack a basket of these healthy foods for the office and boost your productivity today.

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About the Author

Anna Ashmore is a woman of many talents. She is passionate about literature, sports, travel and education among many other things. She is also an amateur writer who hopes to make it big in the blog world. Professionally, Anna is a market research analyst at Business Scheck and loves her job.

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7 Productivity Hacks for the Laptop Warrior

7 Productivity Hacks for the Laptop Warrior

GUEST POST BY ROB ABOUT 7 PRODUCTIVITY HACKS FOR THE LAPTOP WARRIOR
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a “digital nomad” in the traditional sense. I have a home, I spend the majority of my year there and the longest I’ve lived anywhere else in the world is 2 months (Bali – I love ya). However as an indie dev I’m free to work anywhere my laptop is and so I often embrace the digital nomad lifestyle in spurts, pick a destination, book a flight, find a coffee shop – job done.

This year so far I’ve hit up Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, Ubud, Bangkok & Chiang Mai and during that time I’ve been working on an app to help those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from anywhere, with just our laptops, find the best coffee shops/cafes to work from.  

Now I like to think of myself as a pretty productive person however when the only person you have to answer to is yourself, your office is a coffee shop and work time is whenever you say it is – it’s really easy to convince yourself now is not the time to work…

And that’s where the following hacks for staying productive while working from your laptop, anywhere you like, come in.

Routine is important

I like to work from the time I wake up, usually 5am, to at least midday after which my brain stops firing on all cylinders so pretty much anything I get done after that is a bonus. For you the times may be different, maybe you’re a night owl and your preferred work time is 10pm to 3am (been there, done that, loved it) however the key thing here is to train yourself that at a certain time is when you get work done. While we might not be the biggest fans (understatement?) of the 9-5 one of the advantages it provides is a consistent routine with a consistent amount of hours a week during which you’re being (or at least pretending to be) productive.

Embrace the flow

I don’t know about you but when I’ve decided I’m going to do something at a certain time I’m going to do something at a certain time. The downside of this personality trait however is that often I’d find myself in that state of flow – you know, where it’s like whatever you’re writing, coding, creating, building etc is just falling out of you, effortlessly, with no end in sight – but still want to stop whatever I’m doing to go do that thing I planned to do at that specific time.

My advice to you – cancel that thing. When you’re in the flow you are super productive, you get so much more done, you work that little bit longer and it’s not every day you find yourself in that state, so don’t waste it – ride it until you run out of caffeine. and then go do that other thing.

Don’t work where you play

Okay that’s my corny play on words of the more profanic well known phrase I’m not going to repeat here but the tip here is simple: Allow your brain to associate your living room, bedroom, favourite restaurant/hang out spot etc with relaxation, fun, downtime, anything that isn’t work.

And you want it to associate work with your favourite coffee shop or cafe or wherever else it is you like to work from. It makes it so much easier to switch on and off in relation to work when it’s a physical switch and not just a mental one.

Have “free” days

I used to hate having days where I wasn’t working and therefore wasn’t productive. Hate them. Okay I’m lying, I still do. But I got over it in favor of being more productive on the days I do work. How? With this idea I call “free days”. Those days where you wake up and you just want to do anything other than work – don’t fight it, it turns out the world won’t come crashing down if you don’t send that email, do something else. Go swimming, go hike, go binge Desperate Housewives if that’s your thing. You want to enjoy what you do and forcing yourself to do it might end up having the opposite effect. So when that feeling hits you, take a free day.

Make a plan

I recently heard someone say, for those of us who tend to “wing it”, something along the lines of “try to write down a plan of what you’ve got to do today to reach your goal – then you realise you have no clue what you’re doing”. Maybe a bit harsh but is it wrong?

If you’re someone who likes to keep everything in your head you might’ve already found it hard to focus on the path to your goal, it makes it hard to see just how much progress you’ve made by the end of the day because you might forget things you’ve done, and it makes it hard to look ahead at what’s next to do.

In contrast, plans keep you focused, they keep you organized, they let you know at the end of the day what’s been accomplished and what’s next to do. 

Remember, the human brain can only hold onto to 4 things in working memory at any time, a plan is just 1.

Have a side hustle

I know right?! You already have a hustle, it takes up 24h of your day and now I’m advocating for more on top of that??! Damn right. Why? Sometimes (only sometimes) the procrastination monkey gets me. He tells me to go on YouTube, he tells me to go on Facebook, he tells me to shop on Amazon, he tells me 101 things to do other than what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can’t beat him – mislead him, and that’s where the side hustle comes in.

Resistance doesn’t care what else it is you do (for those of you not familiar with the War of Art, you can substitute resistance for procrastination, time wasting etc etc), it’s only goal is to stop you doing what you’re supposed to do. So when I find myself in the company of resistance, my brain refusing to take part in the task at hand no matter how hard I try – I go work on my side hustle. Not only am I nursing that procrastination itch but I’m being productive while doing it. Win win.

Eat that frog (or make little wins)

For those of you not familiar with Eat That Frog the concept is relatively simple, decide what’s the most important task of the day that you are absolutely dreading – and do that first.  Once it’s done, everything else seems wayyy easier and much more amicable.

However for those of us who just can’t stomach that frog right now there’s always plan B – make little wins.

Pick 3 to 5 of the smallest, easiest tasks you can do right now that have some importance (aka not busy work) and do those first. Write them on a list, tick them off as you go, by task 5 you’re on a roll, look how much you’ve done, now keep going!!

And that’s it, my top 7 tips to staying productive when the only person you have to answer to – is you.

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About the Author

Since launching his first app in 2012, Rob has personally released over 20 apps, with 300k+ downloads, has been featured on Lifehacker & even BBC News, and in that process has crafted himself a work/life balance that allows easily flipping between working, creating & travelling. He’s just released his first DN focused app – Coffee Working & is about to launch his first app dev bootcamp in Bali with @codingnomads. You can find him everywhere @lowcarbrob.

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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My Morning Routine – That’s How I Kick Off a Successful Day!

My Morning Routine – That’s How I Kick Off a Successful Day!

My Morning Routine – That’s How I Kick Off a Successful Day!

Morning routine? Nothing easier than that… The sun shines through the window and you wake up with a huge smile on your lips as well as a lot of energy and hunger for a new day. You wake up  and want to immediately start with your morning routine! Without exception, this is what happens every morning, right?

Are you reading the sentence again? Of course, almost nobody wakes up every morning with good weather and in the best of moods. Probably only a tiny fraction of the population. I will tell you in this post how you can still have a successful start in the day by having a morning routine that you are looking forward to!

First of all, I would like to point out that you should choose the elements of your morning routine yourself. You are welcome to take over everything or parts of my morning routine if you really like them. But you should create it in such a way that you have fun doing it every morning. In case you have to convince yourself every single morning over and over again to do it, the risk is high that you often stop in the middle – and in the worst case, leave it sooner or later.

So rule #1 is: OWN YOUR ROUTINE!

I’ve been adjusting my morning routine over time, and I’m likely to keep adjusting it. That may be because I hear from friends or acquaintances something that I like. Just yesterday, for example, I read an article in which the lady describes her routine of escorting her cell phone out of the bedroom in the evening, where she does not touch it until the next morning. So she creates a completely cell-free space. One of the main reasons is that, for her, the cell phone is connected to work – as well as for me, and maybe for you too. In bed, we want to sleep, let our bodies rest, disconnect. Therefore, I find this routine quite useful! I do not know if I can use it, as I rarely live in a place with two rooms. Maybe when I do house sitting

So rule #2 is: SEARCH FOR THINGS THAT MAKE SENSE IN YOUR LIFE!

But of course: To find out what really suits you, it’s logical to try different routines first. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to my morning routine.

 

My Morning Routine

The routine itself consists of three parts, which I usually do in the order I call them here. However, this is nothing set and sometimes I change it according to where I am and what my plans are. In addition, I have to admit that I normally don’t do it directly after getting up and sometimes I also don’t do the three parts in a row but between working sessions. This is because I often wake up with a lot of emails, private messages, and comments in my social media and feel better once I’ve checked my inbox and answered the most important things. Every life hacker says that this is completely wrong and you can do anything, just don’t take your phone first thing in the morning. I tried it… I can not do it. I definitely want to work on it, but right now I just accept that I’m calmer when I know that I definitely have not to do any troubleshooting with a collaboration partner or client.

 

Gratitude Journal

First of all, I start the day with some positive thoughts. What am I grateful for? It can be general things like “I’m thankful that the sun has been shining for three days!”, Or something profound “I am grateful that I was born in Germany and thereby enjoy many privileges like the German passport!”, Or Recent events such as “I am grateful that I met XYZ!”. I have a pocket diary with about 10 lines a day, which I fill up every morning. I know of others writing a certain number of sentences per day, but I just use the space that I have on that day. There is still room for notes after Sunday, so sometimes I write something more. That depends entirely on my inspiration on this day. The great thing for me is that the calendar fits into any purse and I can therefore always have it with me. So I’ve done this in all sorts of places, including trains and airplanes.

 

Priming

Then I do an exercise that takes about 15 minutes, which Tony Robbins* (just click if you want to know more about him and his events) calls Priming. He showed this exercise at Unleash the Power Within and since then it’s part of my routine.

Priming consists of the following parts:

#1 Breathing: First you do a breathing exercise in combination with an arm movement. So you kick off the blood circulation and flood your brain with oxygen. Before you move on to the second part, put your hand on your heart and feel its power.

#2 Gratitude: Then you visualize three moments of your life for which you are grateful. This is a much more intense experience than the Gratitude Journal and not comparable with the first part of my morning routine at all. At the same time, I usually think of small situations, which then led to something big and important to me. For example, the moment a friend suggested me to launch a blog and call it Barbaralicious. Or when my best nomad friend Alex convinced me to go to a salsa party in Chiang Mai… that was where I “met” my biggest love: Kizomba! Or how, in preparation for my trip around the world, a friend mentioned a travel blog called Travelicia – the owner, Feli, is also the founder of the event DNX – the digital nomad conference. That’s how I learned about the digital nomad lifestyle.

#3 Healing & Sharing: That sounds pretty spiritual… but it is nothing more than a meditation technique. Tony describes here how you should visualize a colored light that flows through your body while healing you – your emotions, your body or your thoughts. Then you send this “energy” and this healing light to all the people you want to send something positive to heal them as well.

#4 Success: Last but not least, you visualize three moments of success. Imagine, you live these moments. You feel them. You hear them. You smell them. So let’s say it’s your desire to build a house. Then you visualize the moment in which you are standing in front of it and finally can move in. You visualize how you open the door and enter the rooms. You visualize what you see when you look out of the window. And so on.

 

Workout

Finally, I do a workout. I use an app called 7 minutes. Since I’ve been using it for many years, I’ve got many different kinds of training (like upper body, stretching, push-ups, abs, etc.) unlocked. In the beginning, you have only one, I think (full-body workout). For every two months that you stick to it, you get a new workout.

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Before I start the workout though, I draw a card from a stack of cards with positive words. They are a bit similar to these: Positive Affirmations Cards*. But mine are made by a friend and she gave me a stack. The positive words are in five languages (German, English, Spanish, Italian and French) and there is a pretty mandala. For example, this week I had humor, goodness, and respect. Then I put the card next to my cell phone that I use to run the app and during the workout, I think about this word. It can be quite abstract, like the meaning of the word for me, or more specifically about the moments in my life when I experienced the feeling. For less creative days and to be inspired, you can check the small accompanying paper with a sentence to every word.

 

Your morning routine may look similar or different. It can consist of simple things, such as drinking a glass of water, taking a shower and having breakfast after waking up. For me, my routine works well and gives me the energy to start the day successfully!

Yours Barbara 1

PS: The links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

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TRAVEL HACKS

ADJUSTING TO NEW SLEEPING ENVIRONMENTS

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INTERMITTENT FASTING

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UNLEASH THE POWER WITHIN

How To Maintain a Great Work-Life-Balance in Chiang Mai

How To Maintain a Great Work-Life-Balance in Chiang Mai

How To Maintain a Great Work-Life-Balance in Chiang Mai

GUEST POST ABOUT HOW TO MAINTAIN A GREAT WORK-LIFE-BALANCE IN CHIANG MAI BY CAL BAILEY

Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and has become a popular place for digital nomads. With its cool climate, clean air, and picturesque scenery, it’s not hard to see why it attracts people from all over the globe.

But how easy is it to get work done and enjoy quality of life at the same time? After all, that’s the whole point about being location independent. As well as earning a living, you should have the time to explore new destinations and immerse yourself in different cultures.

Getting work done

Where you work often comes down to personal preference. Some people are happy to pay coworking membership fees as they offer the chance to meet other people and get out of the house. Others will prefer to pay slightly more for their accommodation to benefit from reliable internet.

Wherever you prefer to work, Chiang Mai certainly has a lot to offer. There a plenty of coworking spaces dotted around the city, each with its own pros and cons. Cheaper ones require a small minimum spend at their cafe in return for an internet coupon, whilst others charge daily, weekly, or monthly fees. You can expect to pay between $80 and $100 a month at some of the most popular spots.

Another popular option for digital nomads is working in cafés and coffee shops. Again, there are plenty of spots to choose from in the city, and some even offer a similar structure to coworking spaces.

One of the most convenient places to work when you’re on the road is your own residence, but depending on your budget, reliable internet may not be part of the deal. If you think that working from home is the best option for you, research accommodation offering business centres or meeting rooms with good internet. Note that these will probably be pricier than most places.

Finding a place to live

If you’re considering Chiang Mai as your next destination, you’ll need to find a place to live. The good news is there are plenty of options to suit every budget, from apartments which include luxury amenities to cheap and cheerful backpacker hostels. But first, you need to consider how much time you’ll be spending in your residence, how long you’re planning on staying in the city, and how comfortable you want to be.

Beware of articles stating you can easily live off $300 a month. Although cost of living in Chiang Mai is considered cheap by western standards, you should be aware that by the time you’ve covered visa fees, food, and rent, you’ll likely be looking at a higher monthly cost.

One of the most important things for digital nomads is having access to high speed internet. So think about how you prefer to work, and consider joining a coworking space or splashing out slightly more on your accommodation.

Meeting new people

This city offers great opportunities for meeting other people. There are always plenty of events scheduled during the day and night which will suit most people’s interests. Coworking spaces often run their own events too and offer weekly social meetups, so there’s a great mix of social and entrepreneurial events.

Couchsurfing.com, meetup.com, and local Facebook groups are also good places to start building a social life.

Finding a balance

With an abundant digital nomad community, it can be easy to get locked in miss out on opportunities to explore other areas. The best part about being location independent is discovering amazing places and enjoying experiences you simply can’t get in other countries.

Thailand

The key to striking a good work-life balance when you’re traveling is scheduling your work when you’re most likely to be productive, getting as much work done as you can during your scheduled work hours, and using your free time to go exploring. Here are some of the top things you can do in and around Chiang Mai:

 

  • Visit an elephant sanctuary
  • Be adventurous and go zip lining
  • Visit one of the many temples
  • Have fun at the Grand Canyon waterpark
  • Go to an MMA event
  • Experience a Thai massage
  • Venture to neighbouring cities
  • Enjoy the nightlife in the many cool bars, clubs, and lounges

Final Thoughts

Earning money whilst you travel the world sounds like an ideal lifestyle. However, it’s not always easy. You need to be incredibly strict with yourself when it comes to getting work done, even when most of the people around you are on vacation and having fun.

Chiang Mai is easily accessible and a great base for discovering northern Thailand. You’re sure to enjoy great food, meet new people and make lasting relationships, and you have plenty of options when it comes to getting your work done. As it is such a popular destination for digital nomads, the hard part is often remembering to switch off and enjoy the amazing experiences Thailand has to offer.

Callum

About the Author

Cal Bailey blogs at Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after his two-year backpacking journey around the world. If you would like to read more about his adventures and expert travel tips, read his latest blog posts here.

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Six Tips For Adjusting To New Sleeping Environments as a Nomad

Six Tips For Adjusting To New Sleeping Environments as a Nomad

Six Tips For Adjusting To New Sleeping Environments as a Nomad

GUEST POST ABOUT ADAPTING TO NEW SLEEPING ENVIRONMENTS AS A NOMAD BY SARAH CUMMINGS

Your friends at home may think you’re just snoozing on a beach pretending to ‘work’… but we all know that being a working nomad isn’t all fun and games.

Constantly on the move, contending with new foods, dealing with new customs and especially handling new sleeping environments; all can be tough on both mind and body. Often, as a result, our sleep suffers.

And if our sleep suffers, our work suffers with it. A tired nomad works slower, makes more mistakes, makes worse decisions and could potentially lose this work altogether.

Now, I’ve spent many a sleepless night in more countries than I care to remember. But thankfully over time I’ve developed a few coping strategies that I’m happy to share below. Warning: you may not like some of them…

 

#1 Bring that leaving party forward

Question: Jumping on that plane tomorrow, what do you do tonight?

Answer: Go out and party of course, it would be a crime against humanity not to say goodbye to the crew. Right?!

Wrong! While tonight would be amazing, tomorrow is going to be an unmitigated disaster. You’re just going to end up in your new location exhausted, with your sleep patterns completely out of whack. Meaning that immediately you’re already on the back foot.

Top tip: Move that leaving party forward by a week. This means you can dance the night away with your besties and still be as well rested as possible when you arrive at your new home away from home.

 

#2 Beat that jet lag

You’ve seen Lost in Translation, right? Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson wandering Tokyo hotel halls like bleary-eyed zombies unable to sleep… Sound familiar?

We all know that jet lag is a bitch. And while sometimes it is quite unavoidable there are a few little tips you can take onboard with you to mitigate its effects.

Several days before you catch your flight try to gradually adjust your sleeping times to match your new location; even if only by an hour a day. Then whilst onboard change your watch to match local time and adjust your naps accordingly to fit in with your new bedtime.

And – sorry about this one – but avoid caffeine and alcohol on your flight. I know, I know…it is free. Oh so free! But both do your sleep patterns no favours at all.

Actually, since I brought it up, I might as well get this one out of the way…

 

#3 Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Full stop.

‘Arrrgh, you monster! What do you mean? These are my only reasons to live!’

Calm down, calm down. I don’t mean forever. (That full stop was only temporary.) I just mean for the first few days after you’ve arrived and acclimatised to your new sleeping environment.

Coffee, of course, keeps you wired. And despite what you may have been conditioned by TV to believe, beer and wine are not sleep aids and should never be treated as such.

A beer may help you to nod off initially but alcohol won’t help you get a good night’s sleep. Quite the opposite, in fact.

 

#4 Get a routine and stick to it

I know, traveling is all about breaking routines. But when it comes tricking your brain into that sleepy mood, a routine really is your best friend. Ask any expert, like these guys, they’ll tell you I’m right.  

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated – a few tried and tested nightly habits can be very successful.

Mine involves unplugging an hour before sleep (that means my laptop and phone), having a herbal tea (a selection of which I carry with me and replenish whenever I can), showering, brushing my hair, reading my book and then sleeping.

See, nothing complicated. And it’s repeatable whether I’m staying in a busy hostel in Prague, a beach hut in Myanmar or petsitting a German Shepherd in Tokyo.

 

#5 Don’t work where you sleep

This is one I learned early on. Back in those days, I did far too much work from my hostel bunk or hotel bed. Not only did this give me a pain in my neck, it also meant that when it came to sleeptime my brain associated the space with work and not sleep.

So take your work outside – find a nice cafe, co-working space, park bench, anything. Head there during your ‘work hours’ and then return to your temporary pad for sleep.

 

#6 Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

New town, new bed – that means new night-time noises to contend with.

Maybe it’s the 2am cockadoodling of confused cockerels. Or the disturbing grunting noises coming from the next bunk in the dorm, which you really, really hope are snores. Whatever the noise, ear plugs are the solution for you.

And while you’re packing, stick a sleep mask in your bag. Nothing works better at blocking out drunken stumblers turning on the lights or the sun rudely rising at 6am.

These two inexpensive sleep accessories are essentials for overcoming unwelcoming new sleep environments, and both should be in your nomadic kit.

 

Final Thoughts on Adjusting to New Sleeping Environments as a Nomad

There you have it, six of my tried and tested tips to help the wandering nomad sleep in new environments.

And while one or two may seem to suck the fun out of trip, don’t worry – they’re just temporary measures, after all. Once you get a few nights’ rest and a few days’ work under your belt, then you can rip up the rulebook and go wild.

Sweet dreams, traveler!

My Bio Pic

About the Author

Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m a California gal who studied sleep deprivation and enhancement after graduating from UCLA. My current aim is to help people be more productive in their daily lives by improving their sleep cycle.

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Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

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