Stress Management for Digital Nomads: Tips and Tricks
Disclaimer: Please note that a lack of work-life balance can lead to feelings of overwhelming stress. If you are experiencing such difficulties that are impacting your health, particularly over a prolonged period, it is recommended that you seek professional help. The tips provided in this article are based on my personal experience and may not be applicable to everyone.
The life of a digital nomad may seem like a bed of roses to some people. It may be the dream life for many travel enthusiasts, I’ll give you that, but it’s definitely not a piece of cake.
Although it’s an incredibly charming lifestyle that offers countless perks, the digital nomad life requires a crucial skill: stress management.
Digital nomad life can be very stressful at times. Especially if you’re new at it, can’t put your finger on the sources of stress, and how to deal with them. Let me tell you a bit about what I’ve gathered from my personal experience.
So grab a cup of coffee (or tea, we don’t judge) and let’s tackle this together!
What Are the Causes of Stress in Nomad Life?
There are a few factors that, at times, transform such a splendid lifestyle into a bore by introducing an immense amount of stress into it. Find these factors that may upset the applecart below:
It’s great to be your own boss after leaving your regular 9 to 5 job, for sure. However, it can go awry. Managing your own time is challenging, although it’s bliss. You need to complete your own tasks in your own time and try to keep up with your employer’s or clients’ time zones simultaneously, which is quite a juggling. Overworking to keep up with all these aspects may lead to burnout and intense stress.
📉 Unstable Income
Especially freelancer digital nomads can have trouble predicting their income for the next month: one month may not jibe with the other. Not being able to foresee if you can afford your expenses during the forthcoming months causes anxiety and may urge you to overwork, which in return, will bring more stress.
🎢 Lack of Social Stability
Having adequate social support is of great importance in reducing the stress caused by work. Spending time with your loved ones or communicating with your colleagues is crucial to establish a good work-life balance. However, you may fail to do these to an adequate extent as you travel because the people around you keep changing since you’re always on the move. Although you meet heaps of new people while you’re traveling, you typically part ways after some time when the journey calls. This situation may cause you to feel lonely at times, which, unfortunately, increases stress.
On the other hand, the digital nomad lifestyle offers you a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. Since you share the same interests and worldviews with these fellow travelers, you can establish lifelong friendships, even though they may not be able to provide immediate support when you need it because they’ve already moved on to some other part of the world.
🕳️ Being Away From Loved Ones and Personal Belongings
Well, first things first, you may be wondering what the emoji next to the header means. It's a hole, you know, symbolizing emptiness. Pushing it? Maybe.
Being a digital nomad requires a rather minimalistic lifestyle. Since you’ll be moving around all the time, you need to take only the most essential stuff when packing for the journey. Not having the comfort of having access to all your personal belongings or the chance to obtain new ones may sometimes result in an unhomelike feeling. The same applies in terms of your loved ones, of course.
🥴 Absence of a Healthy Routine
I can almost hear you asking “Isn’t being a digital nomad all about breaking the routine, anyway?”. For the most part, of course, it is. However, not having a solid workspace, weak internet connections, overwhelming paperwork for visas, and the tiredness that not being in the comfort of your home may cause can be occasionally toilsome. Although constant exploring, randomness, and flexibility are perfect aspects of the nomad life, let’s face it, a little routine helps reduce stress.
Why Is Managing Stress Crucial for Digital Nomads?
Getting stressed out is a part of human nature: everyone experiences it once in a while and it’s perfectly normal. However, not being able to get ahead of over-stressing may cause health issues, both physically and psychologically. These conditions naturally affect both your work and personal life.
In the case of the digital nomads, it may be even harder to handle because they start not to enjoy their travels as well as poorly functioning during work hours. In addition to some regression they may experience in their career due to low productivity, they may lose their passion for traveling, which constitutes their fuel for life. Thus, stress management is extremely crucial for digital nomads. An impactful stress management strategy increases productivity, helps establish a healthier work-life balance, and improves your health as well as brightens your general mood.
However, there are no de facto rules to stress management, there are general strategies that you may need to stretch and transform to better suit your character. I’ve listed these general tips to help you find what works best for you in the next section of this article.
Stress Management Tips for Digital Nomads
Being over-stressed is a pain in the neck for digital nomads because it affects every aspect of their life. To shake the immense stress off in the shortest while possible, there are some strategies you can follow. Find below some stress management tips for digital nomads:
Find the Sources of Your Stress To Eliminate Them
Although not easy as it sounds, finding the sources of stress is a great start to eliminating them one by one. Examining your habits, emotions, needs, worries, and desires is important to identify what stresses you out. After specifying these sources, try to change your ways about them, little by little.
Staying healthy and in shape is one of the worst enemies of stress. Exercising keeps you happier and fueled up. You can exercise during your breaks with the help of tutorial videos, sign up for a gym, cycle around in the city, or you can go swimming or diving depending on your location. A healthy diet will also help you keep physically well. Sticking to the “a sound mind in a sound body” motto goes a long way in handling stress.
Set a Schedule and Stick to That
Plan your work hours as detailed as you can. I know it’s not that easy peasy but setting a schedule and sticking to a routine will increase your productivity and reduce your stress. When your set work hours are done, try to unplug and not think about work. I promise it’ll do you a great deal of good.
Try Not To Overwork
Stress and performance anxiety, as well as the need to cover our expenses, may cause us to feel the need to work harder and harder. However, overworking decreases productivity. Try not to compromise your leisure hours. Taking your personal time to relax and spend time with your loved ones is very important in terms of not getting overwhelmed by work.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is one of the most impactful factors that cause stress. If you can’t get enough sleep, you can’t be productive during your work hours, which leads to stress. A significant side effect of stress, on the other hand, is having trouble falling asleep. Which leaves you in an endless cycle. Exercising regularly, reducing caffeine and alcohol, eating well, and setting up a healthy sleep schedule helps avoid getting into such a cycle.
Getting socialized is a crucial activity to maintain a healthy digital nomad lifestyle. This importance derives from the fact that the life of a digital nomad can easily get lonely. The feeling of loneliness causes stress and breaks your motivation. Everyone needs a little social support to get by. So, get out there and meet up with some friends to see a movie together, or sip on some drinks and catch up.
Spend a Minimum of One Month at a Place
Staying at least a month in one place gives you time to relax, get used to a new place, make some friends, avoid bustling about, and hence experience burnout. Take your time while traveling: after all, you’re not a rear-wheel drive.
Get Professional Help If You Feel the Need
If you’re having long-lasting periods of stress that affect your well-being and you can’t get ahead of them by implementing the tips mentioned above, or your own strategies start not to work, you can consider getting professional help. Mental health is of extreme importance, and it’s best to intervene sooner rather than later if you feel the need.
Tips and Tricks to Deal with Stress
🧘♀️ Take deep breaths and practice mindfulness
🏋️♀️ Exercise regularly to release endorphins
🌅 Take breaks and enjoy the local scenery
🛀 Take a hot bath or shower to relax your muscles
📖 Read a good book or listen to an audiobook
🧑🤝🧑 Connect with other travelers or locals for social support
🛌 Get enough restful sleep to recharge your batteries
🍲 Eat a balanced and healthy diet to fuel your body and mind
🎧 Listen to calming music or nature sounds
🧳 Pack light to reduce physical and mental burdens
Remember, it's important to take care of your mental and physical well-being, no matter where you are in the world. Safe travels, my friend!
Stress Management: Toward a Better Work-Life Balance
Exploring new places and things, getting to know a new culture, and meeting new people each day stimulates creativity and enhances productivity. Living the digital nomad life, in this sense, is absolutely perfect. What’s even more charming is that, as a digital nomad, you’re following your passion and living your dream life while advancing in your career at the same time.
On the other hand, stress can ruin this beautiful lifestyle from head to toe. As a digital nomad who’s been through a similar path, I recommend you take matters into your hand before they get out of control and implement these tips for stress management and establish a healthy work-life balance.