Is DailyBurn 365 worth it?

Maybe you’ve seen the ads online or on TV for DailyBurn 365. I got an email about it (and a promo code!) so I decided to check it out. If you’re interested in fitness but don’t have access to a gym (hello, every freelancer ever) you may want to read this post!

I wrote about the “regular” DailyBurn in The Healthy Freelancer, but at the time we went to press the 365 product hadn’t been launched yet. So here’s a little bonus primer for everyone.

What is DailyBurn 365?
DailyBurn 365 is a website that live-streams a new 30-minute workout every day. You can only do that day’s workout on the day of; it vanishes the next day to be replaced by another.

The workouts are different every day but mostly are aimed at beginners or moderately fit people. For example, you’ll do burpees, but the instructor will always give a modification for people who can’t do them.

Of the workouts I’ve tried, none have required any equipment except an optional yoga mat.

Since my home office is nowhere near a gym, I’m always looking for ways to stay fit that don’t involve the gym–but I get bored of jogging pretty quickly. Enter streaming exercise videos.

What’s different about DailyBurn 365?
Because the workouts are live-streamed, if you get online at 9 am (Eastern) sharp you can actually watch as they’re taped, and interact with the teachers and hosts through a live chat. (Despite working from home, I have yet to actually succeed in doing this–mostly because I prefer working out in the afternoon. But it seems like it would be a really cool feature!) Also, because the workout is literally different every day, it’s not like your standard workout video program, where by Week 3, you’ve memorized all of the host’s jokes.

Why not just watch videos on Youtube?
There are some amazing fitness videos on Youtube. I’ve written about a bunch of them in The Healthy Freelancer and also on this site. But for every great video on Youtube, there are a half dozen duds. Sometimes I go back to my favorites on Youtube–but sometimes I want something new, and I’m not sure if I want to take the risk that the video that looked great in the thumbnail is actually way too easy, boring, poorly lit, or just has really inconveniently placed commercial breaks.

DailyBurn 365 does cost money: $12.95 per month. That also includes access to DailyBurn’s “regular” streaming exercise videos (i.e. pre-recorded ones that don’t update every day). Compared to the gym, that’s a pretty good deal, but as always, you have to weigh the cost against whether you’ll actually use it. You do get a 30-day free trial if you haven’t used it before, so if you’re curious about the program, give it a shot and let me know what you think. I’ll be sweating along with you.

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How to enjoy work when you’re busy (or when you’re super overwhelmed, or any time)


THIS IS HOW IT FEELS.

So this post from entrepreneur Sarah Von Bargen is everything you need to know about creating a good place for your brain while freelancing.

Her original post is called “How to enjoy work (even when you’re busy + kind of overwhelmed)” but I feel like that title barely scratches the surface. It should be more like “How to enjoy work when you are hyperventilating because you have five deadlines to hit in the next 12 hours and your computer keeps crashing and you hate everyone and everything.” Because that seems to be what freelancing is like—either you have nothing to do or you have ten million things to do and they’re all due at the same time.

Sarah’s post has 8 tips for enjoying work even when you are so busy you feel like your brain is leaking out your ears. I’m excerpting it here with some of my own additions.

Sarah says: 
1. SCHEDULE INTENTIONAL, RESTORATIVE BREAKS – EVEN IF THEY’RE TINY
Open your Google calendar, find a 20-minute window, and literally type “TAKE A BREAK, DUDE.” Set a reminder on your phone or computer and when that alarm goes off take an actual break.

Rachel says:
Yup. It sometimes feels impossible to step away for even 10 minutes but it’s so important to try. You know what else makes for an amazing break? A quick workout. It’ll get your mind off your project (sometimes sparking amazing ideas in the meantime) AND give you an awesome endorphin boost. You don’t have to make this a huge thing. Go for a jog around the block or put on an online workout. (There are lots of Youtube channels for this, like this one, and I also talk about a bunch of different options in The Healthy Freelancer, the book).

Sarah says:
2. KEEP A ‘SMILE FILE’
Every time you get a kind email from a blog reader/client/customer, move it into a folder that you’ve specifically designated for these glowing missives.Reference all these kind, glowing words when you’re feeling run down and unsure of why you’re working so hard.

Rachel says:
Seriously this works! Mine is called “Yay me” because “smile file” sounds like a strange procedure you’d have done at the dentist, but same diff.

Sarah says:
3. READ GLORIOUS, ESCAPIST FICTION

Spoiler alert: GRE study guides and social media marketing plans don’t make for very good bedtime reading and they certainly don’t give you and your brain an opportunity to recharge.

Rachel says:
It doesn’t have to be glorious and escapist (though I am partial to ridiculous sword-and-sorcery stuff). It definitely shouldn’t be more “work stuff” though. Read a magazine, read your favorite non-work blog, read a comic book.

Sarah says:
4. MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE + WORK EXPERIENCE AS LOVELY AS POSSIBLE

Rachel says:
When I built my standing desk (which is fodder for another post, I think) I wanted it to feel as light and airy as possible so I painted it a bright shiny white. Guess what color dirt shows up best on? Still, it’s my fault – I could spend five minutes every few days to wipe it down but I haven’t, and it’s showing in my mood (honestly).

Also, we are doing some deep cleaning in the same room where my desk is. And you know how when you’re cleaning sometimes you pick an object up and go, Hmm, this doesn’t belong here on the floor, but I’m not sure where it does belong, so I’ll just put it on the nearest flat surface? (No? Maybe that’s just me?) At any rate you guys my desk was literally covered in garbage until ten minutes ago when I got so fed up I just chucked everything in a box. And let me tell you, having a gross desk is NOT conducive to keeping your sanity. So…don’t be like me.

Sarah says:
5. MAKE YOURSELF AS PHYSICALLY COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE

Rachel says:
Ergonomics, yo. Lots of tips in The Healthy Freelancer or just read what Sarah has to say.

Sarah says:
6. EAT HEALTHY, DELICIOUS, ATTRACTIVE MEALS – NOT AT YOUR DESK

Rachel says:
Here’s a pasta dish you can make once on the weekend and have for a couple days (or more) in a row.

Sarah says:
7. TAKE YOUR WORK DAY SERIOUSLY

Ferociously guard the boundaries between work and play.

Rachel says:
Work when it’s time to work, but when you’re off work, be off. That doesn’t mean you have to work 9-5. If you work better at midnight, so be it, but set your “office hours” and stick to them.

Also, there are some days when you have to work late to meet a deadline, and that’s fine. But if you can, treat your working late like real work, which it is. You might think it would be less painful to “just finish a few things” on the couch while your significant other/kids/housemates watch TV, but it’s just a reminder that they’re having fun and you’re not (plus the distration will make you take longer). Go to your desk, close the door if you have one, and hunker down and get that ish done.

Finally, Sarah says:
8. REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU’RE WORKING SO HARD

Create a visual reminder of your goals and aspirations. Maybe you’re working this hard so you can afford a three-week vacation in Thailand. Maybe you’re putting your kids through college. Maybe you want your name on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Whatever the goal, find a related photo or image and make it your screensaver, or frame it and hang it next to your desk!

Rachel says:
Maybe it’s not even something that big. Maybe a huge project dropped into your lap and you felt like you simply couldn’t turn down the job. Last year, a surprise, urgent project (it’s always urgent, right?) appeared right before Thanksgiving, and it was looking likely that I would have to work if not on Thanksgiving proper, then certainly on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afterward–time I had planned to spend with loved ones. Immediately as soon as I booked the gig, I booked a reservation for the following week at a fancy restaurant I’d been dying to try. Then, as the job dragged on, I could at least comfort myself with thinking about how delicious that food was going to be.
Can you try something similar? Book a massage for the day after you hit your deadline, or put a book by a beloved author or a fancy kitchen gadget in your Amazon cart and pull the trigger when you know a big project is about to end? It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive thing, but such small treats can work wonders for your mental state.

What do you do when it’s crunch time, and how do you stay upbeat?

What’s your best self-care ritual?

I’ve been reading that rituals are important for happiness and productivity. It doesn’t even matter what the rituals are as long as they’re yours…and in fact this post says that the #1 ritual you should do every day is have more rituals.

In other words,

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So you’re having a bad day. Maybe freelancing is really getting you down. You’re stuck in a rut, you’ve got a client that drives you crazy, you’re working 12 hour days, whatever it is. It’s important to take time to care for yourself.

Me, I like to work out. It doesn’t really matter what it is; I’m slowly getting back into running after a knee injury, but I also enjoy lifting weights and just dancing around the living room with some good music on. Exercise releases so many good hormones and has so many positive effects on your mood it’s basically a no brainer. I guess you could argue that the act of lacing up my shoes, putting on headphones and picking out the best music is kind of a ritual. I’m going to think of it that way next time and see if it makes me run faster or farther.

Other things that might be rituals:

-Having a nice snack. Eating an entire bag of crispy wonton strips isn’t a ritual (not that I’ve ever done this) but getting out a nice plate and napkin, pouring yourself a glass of (sparkling?) water, and having something healthy that will make you feel good about yourself for the rest of the day certainly can be.

-Leaving work behind at a certain hour and putting on your favorite music or TV show as a reward is totally a ritual. Just giving up and flopping on the couch with Netflix is likely to make you feel sluggish and worse about a bad day, but again, it’s all in how you frame it. If you think to yourself: I worked hard today and am rewarding myself with this episode of Gotham , you’re more likely to get positive benefits from the show.

How do you take care of yourself especially after a long day freelancing?

Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: a self-care checklist

This image has been going viral lately and while it is not, not, NOT a cure-all, especially for serious depression, I think part of the reason it’s going viral is because sometimes we forget about the basics of self-care, and they can make a huge difference. As the original creator said, this stuff is “the low-hanging fruit that can clog our ability to cope with everything else, so that we can tackle the hard stuff.”

As freelancers, even if we’re not depressed depressed, keeping these self-care reminders around for days that you just can’t get anything done–or conversely, days that are so hectic that you never leave your desk–can do wonders for your mental state.