Legs up, flip-flops on, slathered in sunscreen, sipping piña coladas with fancy umbrella straws…we’ve all seen this tempting vision of digital nomadism. While a few days around the year do resemble this picture, it fails to account for the tedious and sometimes mentally-draining days in between.
First, there’s the months of obsessive planning and the dredging through immigration and bureaucratic drivel and then, what transpires ahead needs a dash of intuitive and impulsive instincts. From deciding on daily meals to making sure your back-up plan has a back-up plan, everything about the digital nomad lifestyle takes extra effort. Of course, it’s still exhilarating and fun, but that doesn’t mean the stress won’t take a toll on your mental well-being.
The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t always easy, but these mental health tips can help digital nomads who may be struggling with stress on the road.
Find a Semblance of Routine
It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of life, especially traveling to exotic locations as a digital nomad. The lack of stability and rapid unexpected changes causes excessive stress and anxiety, making it hard to track your time on the go and form a routine.
To help your digital nomad mental health, start slow and pick one thing to do every day at the same time. It could be as simple as unwinding with Netflix every evening or taking a morning walk. Try sticking to a simple schedule no matter where in the world you end up. Building habits will help you boost productivity in the long run.
Build a Strong Social Network
Loneliness is part and parcel of life as a digital nomad. We get used to missing birthdays and weddings. We feel homesick and worry about family from afar. While it’s a choice we make, missing friends from home is often the hardest part to make peace with.
Thankfully, we live in a highly-connected age you and you can, and should, contact your family and friends regularly. Whether it’s a daily five-minute chat or a weekly hour-long video call, it makes a big difference. You can also join groups online and offline to connect with your fellow digital nomads or enroll in classes to hone new hobbies and meet likeminded friends. Most importantly, be open. Don’t refrain from connecting with locals and try to mingle and chat with people in your hotel, stores, cafes, or coworking spaces.
Slow Down to Avoid Burnout
Remote jobs can be extremely taxing without the set boundaries of working hours and office space. Managing an effective schedule, aligning with offices in different time zones, finding quality WiFi, the list of hurdles goes on and on. Despite the beach backdrops, burnout can be even worse when you travel and work at the same time. Switching from location to location can be quite taxing, depending on how frequently you do it.
Still there are a few things you can do to boost your mental health, such as tracking your hours and keeping better boundaries between life and work. Structuring your time can also help you improve your efficiency and productivity. On the other side of things, try to opt for slow travel when you can. Take your time to enjoy your surroundings and relish each experience instead of rushing from place to place.
Seek Medical Advice
If you feel your mental health is deteriorating on the road, it may be time to seek professional help. It’s also crucial to make plans to continue caring for your mental health as you prepare to transition to the digital nomad life, which could mean finding an online therapist who will be able to meet with you no matter what country or timezone you end up in.