So, you’ve broken free from the cubicle. Step 1, check.
Next, you’ve severed yourself from your “home office”, aka the kitchen counter/couch. Step 2, check.
You’re now officially in transition from “remote worker” to “Anywhere Worker”. This is the exciting part; the part where you lay those WFH sweatpants to rest (RIP) and start picturing what your new life will look like. Cute coworking spaces, stimulating conversations with new globally-minded friends, and unique experiences that you could never have dreamt of while working from home. [Insert montage of days spent hiking Machu Picchu, sandboarding the dunes of Morocco and discovering jazz bands in the basement of a cathedral somewhere in Europe]. But with all that excitement, it’s easy to forget that you’re about to go through some big changes; some that have the ability to compromise your mental health if you’re not intentional about developing a mental health plan for your trip. As Anywhere Workers that have been doing this for a while – Nomad OGs, if you will — we know how important it is to create a mental wellness strategy, so we’re here to share our tips so that you too can create your own.
1. Unpack on your first day. Always.
It sounds simple because it is, but trust us, this unassuming task can have a big impact. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment by completing it, but you’ll also be able to get a good night’s rest knowing that you have one less thing to do the next morning (and these mornings can be pretty overwhelming already). Most importantly, this small action will set the tone for the rest of your trip. You’ll feel organised, grounded and ready to take on the world. Pro-tip: Take it to the next level by doing a grocery shop on your first day too.
2. Routine is your friend.
You may not be at home or in the office anymore but resist the temptation to throw all routine away — structure is good for your mental health. It’s a total misconception that Anywhere Workers just act on a whim, living out a string of insta-worthy activities, free from the shackles of a daily routine. In fact, successful Anywhere Workers have designed a lifestyle that incorporates routine, just in a way that’s beneficial to them. It’s as simple as developing a morning ritual, setting a time for daily strolls in your neighbourhood, or deciding which nights of the week you’re going to cook at home. Doing this will create a sense of stability within an environment of newness and change.
3. Solo Nomo.
One of the greatest risks to the new Anywhere Worker, or remote workers in general, is falling into isolation. This is especially the case when travelling solo. Humans are social beings, so it is super important for us to find community while on the road, introverted or not. This can be challenging, but you can get the ball rolling with just a little effort. Reach out to fellow nomads via Facebook groups that you trust, or tap into your existing network and see if your friends back home know anyone in your destination that you can connect with. Once you have some options, make sure you follow through and meet up in person. For something a little easier, join a travel group like Hacker Paradise where a vetted community comes as part of the package.
As an Anywhere Worker, there will be days when everything feels a bit much. Maybe you’ve been on-the-go and are feeling a bit depleted. This is common, especially when it feels like there may only be two (energy-consuming) options: work hard and explore hard. Remember, downtime is good too. Take a night to catch up on some Love Island (season 5 is where it’s at), read a trashy magazine, bake or play a video game – whatever you did back home to recharge. This will allow for some consistency and help you avoid burn-out.
5. Get a sweat in.
We won’t bore you with the benefits of exercise on your mental health – you all know the drill. What you may not appreciate, however, is how difficult it can be to make time to exercise when you have so many cool things you want to experience in your chosen destination. The best way to tackle this is to face it head on, as soon as you arrive. Decide to make exercise a priority and commit to a regime that works for you. Or even better, make a friend who’s looking for the same sense of accountability and create a schedule together, whether it’s yoga, hiking or short term passes at a local gym. Pro tip: try activities/sports that are played locally so that you’re learning something culturally while you get your heart rate up (muay thai in Thailand, volleyball in Brazil or judo in Japan).
6. Set goals.
Your Anywhere Work experience should be enriching; it should be an experience that propels you forward. The best way to make sure that happens and avoid feelings of “what-the-hell-did-I-even-accomplish-this-past week/day/month”, is to set measurable goals for yourself. We’re talkin’ personal, social and professional goals, weekly, monthly or for the trip as a whole. Doing this will allow you to feel like you’re not just treading water, but that you’ve taken a step towards something.
7. Check in with yourself.
As a newbie Anywhere Worker, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day. New work-friendly cafés to try, new friends inviting you out to that elephant sanctuary you’ve been wanting to go to, plus you’ve got a big project you’re needing to make progress on. But in between the bustle of the Laptop Lifestyle, it’s really important to check in with yourself, as cheesy as it sounds. Take up meditation, start a journal or just take a moment to reflect on your experience so far. Doing this will offer you some perspective and remind you of the control you have over the big picture.
8. Speak with a professional.
As tough as the last couple of years have been, we can’t deny that some good has come from it. It is now common practice for counselors, therapists, psychologists and life coaches to offer virtual services. Generally speaking, these online sessions tend to be a bit more affordable. That means you can build a lasting relationship with a mental health specialist of your choice. This is huge and something us experienced nomads didn’t have as much access to before. Take advantage of it as a general life-maintenance tool!
We are pumped for your Work From Anywhere journey, and we want it to be the best experience that it can possibly be. That’s why we believe it’s so important to intentionally and methodically create a mental wellbeing strategy before you step onto that plane. This way you’ll be prepared to embrace your new environment with less risk of unintentionally falling into a negative headspace. Use our tried and tested tips as inspiration to develop a mental health plan that works for you.