To many people, the life of a digital nomad seems glamorous, and it does have its exotic sides, but it can get a little exhausting after a while if you don’t do it the right way. From the outside looking in, being an internet business entrepreneur looks like a life where you will be able to visit incredible places, meet new people, and try amazing food. Your life seems like a vacation 24/7. But in reality, no one is paying you to go on vacation. It’s an impressive setup, but you still do have to work, and with heavy work and heavy play, or an imbalance of either one of them, you can end up feeling the burnout.
So how can you avoid feeling this burnout and re-energize your life as a digital nomad? It can be as simple as just changing one thing in your life. Here are 13 tips that I have found helpful when I’m starting to feel stuck in a rut.
1. Plan A Side Trip
A vacation from your vacation? It may sound a little weird, but even if you are living temporarily in a spot as a digital nomad, you can start to feel too familiar with your daily routine. One way to break from your routine is to plan a side trip for just a day or even two. Travel to a place that is far enough away that you feel like it’s exciting without actually moving to a new location.
When you are an entrepreneur with an internet business, sometimes being without the internet sounds impossible. For some business owners, it is impossible to go offline if their business is still in the young phases. But it’s essential to switch your focus from time to time. Studies have shown that creativity increases if you stop and change gears for a while.
Go on a day trip and don’t even think about your business. Make rules for yourself though. If you have a hard time unplugging, turn the wifi off your phone or set limitations for your usage in the settings application. If you have a hard time plugging back in, set the alarm for when you need to get back to work.
A little bit of play time is necessary to balance out your work schedule. Think of it as putting fuel in your tank to get through the next few weeks.
2. Move Locations
If a side trip just doesn’t fit the bill, then maybe consider moving to a whole different location. The beauty of being a digital nomad is that you have the flexibility to move wherever you want to live. There are some things you will need to consider when you make a move though, and you can’t just buy a plane ticket one day on a whim.
- Cost of Living
- Arrange for Housing
- Political Climate of the Country
- Time Zones (If you have to work in peak hours of a certain one)
- Transportation and Walkability
If you’re a seasoned digital nomad, you probably know how to navigate through all of the paperwork and research that goes into moving locations. Many people who are just starting assume that the lifestyle of a digital nomad can be completely spontaneous, but there is actually a lot of planning that goes into each of these items on the list, and sometimes you have to wait a long time to get approved for paperwork or find housing.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Everyone feels at ease when they have a routine of some sort. Even if you consider yourself the most spontaneous person in the world, you still fall into some predictability. Your body is just hardwired to create patterns in your life. You probably have a pretty predictable sleeping schedule, even if it’s a terrible one and you probably have a regular morning routine.
If you want to re-energize your life as a digital nomad, try and switch things up a bit. You were probably drawn to the nomad lifestyle because you like to have more control over your daily decisions and your desire to be independent.
So instead of going to the coffee shop around the corner where the barista knows your order by heart, try someplace new. Or grab something to go and find a spot outside. Learn the names of all the bridges in a city and visit each one. Take a different route to your destination and don’t worry if you get lost along the way. If you want to get to know a place, take the backroads.
You would think that if you have the life of a digital nomad, where you have a little more control over your daily schedule than the typical 9 to 5 job, that it would be easy to fit exercise in, but it’s not. It doesn’t matter who you are, and exercise can be challenging to do.
It is especially challenging for someone who is on the road a lot and has to deal with irregular schedules and even many time changes. However, it is essential to fit it into your life. Exercising on a regular schedule gives you more energy and is a great way to start your day. So instead of rolling over and checking your email first thing in the morning, exercise first. It will keep you on track for the rest of the day.
If you have a hard time getting going in the morning, consider sleeping in your workout clothes and doing a routine from home.
5. Join A Club
The life of an internet business entrepreneur can be exciting, but the digital nomad lifestyle can also get lonely. Some people hope that they’ll meet lots of new people and make great connections if they could be a digital nomad. But if you’re an introvert at home, the odds are you’re going to be an introvert on the road as well.
Being a digital nomad on the road doesn’t mean you have to be lonely! You have to know your personality and push yourself. If you find that you are a person who has trouble making friends or introducing yourself, the best way to build relationships is to join a club.
In a club, you’ll have similar interests to those around you, and you’ll be required, or at least encouraged, to attend some kinds of regular meetings. Social media is full of local groups that you can sign up and then meet with group members in a social setting. Find something you’re interested in, or could be interested in, and make the leap. Here are some clubs/groups you could join:
- Wine Tasting
- Book Clubs
- Pottery Making
- Religious Groups
Another way to re-energize your life as a digital nomad is to meditate. You don’t have to be religious to do this, though religious people may be more familiar with how to do it. It is relatively simple, but also very personal, and there are several books or YouTube videos that can walk you through it if it is something you’d like to start.
Meditation is probably the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way to re-energize your life and get some new perspectives at the same time.
7. Find A New Hobby
Whether you want to get a new hobby with a group of friends or you would rather be a lone wolf, learning a new skill or getting a new hobby will open up your creative outlets and make you more successful in all areas of your life.
If you don’t have a particular one in mind, go to your local library, if you have one, and check out the postings on the bulletin board for community events. Or you could peruse an adult education course catalog. You could even strike up a conversation with a local vender and ask them to take you on as an apprentice for a few hours a week.
You could learn amazing new skills from lifelong experts in ceramics, cake decorating, floral arrangements, welding, etc. The sky’s the limit!
8. Make Some Sightseeing Goals
Being a digital nomad is more than just being able to work on a balcony overlooking the beach. You also want to make sure you get to go into the water from time to time.
It is essential that you have the right balance of work and play when you are living the nomad lifestyle. If you find it hard to change gears between the two, make a weekly schedule with a few different locations you’d like to see.
Making sightseeing goals, can be especially fun and give you a sense of adventure and accomplishment. If you’re in England, get a list of castles and try to visit each one, or visit all the Jane Austen movie sets. If you’re in Mexico, make it a goal to visit each Mayan or Aztec historical site. If you’re in Africa, go on a safari and check off all the animals you see. Try to make sightseeing fun and goal oriented.
9. Invite A Friend
Another great way to re-energize the digital nomad life is by having a travel companion. Make a connection with someone who loves travel as much as you do and convert them to the nomad life. Or you could network with people who are already living this kind of life. You’ll be each other’s motivation through times where you feel unmotivated. You might even be able to visit countries you didn’t think were possible because rent is much cheaper to split in two.
10. Do Nothing
Did you know that one of the best selling genres of books is “self-help”? Millions of people are out buying books trying to figure out how to fix their lives, and you’re reading this article trying to figure out how to get out of a rut. Sometimes the answer is just as easy as doing nothing.
Life as a digital nomad can take its toll. You can find yourself exhausted from working hard so you can play hard. Your days off could feel like vacations because you are having adventures, but you still need time to rest. Take a day for yourself to do nothing. Sure you can catch up on some laundry, but for the most part, get rest. Here are some great ideas for a day of nothing:
- Sleep in.
- Wander aimlessly on a walk.
- Don’t listen to podcasts or music–get to know the sound of your own thoughts.
- Take a drive.
- Have a picnic.
- Eat alone at a restaurant.
- Take pictures.
- Make a complicated recipe.
- Visit with friends.
11. Make Long Term Goals
Sometimes the daily grind can make you lose focus on what you want in your life. Getting caught up in a current project can cause stress to beat down on you, and you might wonder if this is all worth it.
The best way to re-energize your life as a digital nomad and find your motivation is to write down your goals. Here are some right questions to ask yourself as you write your goals or journal them.
- Why did you start this journey?
- What do you want in five years? Ten years? Twenty years?
- Is this a short term lifestyle while you’re single? Or do you want to continue this forever?
- Are you saving up for something specific?
- What is a goal that could be out of reach that you want to work towards slowly?
- How do you want your business to operate in the future? Are you making steps toward that goal?
- Have your goals changed from when you first started to now?
12. Start A Blog
It can be hard to feel like you have the energy to meet some of the goals that you have if you can’t see the progress you’ve made. One of the best ways to document your progress with your business as well as to remind you why you are doing this job is to create a blog.
A blog can be about any subject you consider interesting such as the culture you are experiencing, the history of the country, a hobby you have just taken up or even a personal blog about you. You could try to monetize your blog too, although that can be a lot of work in itself. Hardcopy journaling can be challenging to do on the road, but a blog can keep all your experiences and photos from your day to day adventures in one place.
Blogging can also re-energize you to go out and have adventures if you are feeling unmotivated to get out and do anything. Having a blog does the same thing for your life. If you are continually thinking about what experiences you could write about or what photos you could take for your blog, you will end up having more exciting adventures and a more positive outlook on possibly negative situations.
When you had an hourly job, did you ever calculate how much money you made by the minute or even by the second? It’s nice to know just how much you are making as you try to run out the clock–it’s your incentive for staying at your job.
The digital nomad lifestyle is rarely like this where you have a set hourly wage. So if you don’t have the time=money as a surefire incentive, how do you stay motivated to start and finish projects?
The only way to be successful at being your boss in your internet business is to figure out what things motivate you the most. Do you love treats? Outings? Clothes? Equipment for a hobby? Whatever it is you, love setting a goal for yourself and reward yourself with something that will excite you.
What If You’re Still Not Energized?
If you’ve tried all the things on the list above and you still are feeling in a funk, then maybe you need to reevaluate your career choices. Experiencing doubt and uncertainty doesn’t necessarily mean that the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t for you, but you do need to figure out what your expectations are if they’re realistic and weigh the pros and the cons.
To be a digital nomad, you have to be a self-starter and stick to strict deadlines that you give yourself. You also have to manage your money, your time, and your business. It can be overwhelming in the beginning especially when there is pressure to make your business profitable each month.
When it comes down to it when you’re a digital nomad, there are a lot of fun parts, but not every single second of it will be fun. You get paid to do what you do because it’s a job and it’s not always going to be an adventure. So maybe your expectations were just a little different for what you had planned. If you still love the traveling aspect, having a flexible schedule, and experiencing new cultures, then you’re probably in the right place. Just remember to try and keep a good balance between work and life.
I’m the owner of Digital Nomad Explorer. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries and been an expat in Scotland, Finland, and China. I was a digital nomad while having my own robotics company and traveled throughout Europe and China working remotely. Currently, I’m location independent with a home base in Kirkkonummi, Finland.