In this how to build a writer series, I’ve mostly talked about specific qualities that a writer needs or develops through the course of their career. Today’s post however, is about taking care of yourself in spite of life as a writer, and much of this will be relevant to everyone.
Life can’t all be about work. Writing as a profession, by it’s very nature requires a lot of sitting at a desk either hunched over a writing pad or staring at a computer screen. Either way there are considerable ways that this can be bad for your body if you aren’t careful.
Repetitive Strain Disorder
Posture plays a key role in protecting your body from tension and strain. Constant typing can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome; hunched shoulders to pinched nerves, and lower back pain; and the seated posture L can cause the hip muscles to contract leading to other hip or pelvis issues.
Correct posture can a be a problem to achieve if your desk is the wrong size and your chair not supportive. The study of Ergonomics produces effective countermeasures to ensure that the human body is in the optimum position to prevent deterioration of health.
A chair with all these adjustable qualities means that you can adjust the chair to fit your body and align it perfectly according to Ergonomics to prevent you from hurting your body.
A sedentary lifestyle, no matter our mental preference, is not a natural state for humans. We are animals and we need activity. Modern lifestyles mean we don’t naturally use our muscles to remain limber, and instead we must take time out of our day to exercise.
If you already suffer from back or shoulder problems you probably shouldn’t sit for more than 20 minutes at a desk before taking a break for exercise. Your physiotherapist will probably have given you the exercises you need to do specifically but even if you have no issues and have an ergonomic chair, you still need to exercise.
The body needs to move to encourage both the circulatory systems of the body to ensure efficient uptake of nutrients and elimination of toxins from the body. Both the blood and the lymphatic systems are energised through exercise. Stimulating these systems results in more oxygen and the release of endorphins and other hormones into the body which are very beneficial for your health and even your creativity.
Answer me this, how can the brain function properly with poor circulation of oxygen and nutrients? Wouldn’t it work better with extra endorphins as well?
Writing is most often a solitary activity. You might be one of those people who can concentrate in a busy working environment but I would imagine that most of you reading this require quiet. Isolation is good in many ways, it helps the mind to focus, it can give you space to meditate and reflect on life and help you get things done without interruption.
The downside to isolation is loneliness. We are social animals, and even the most self sufficient of us requires social interaction to stay in good health emotionally and psychologically.
Some good ways to connect with people are to join a writing group in your local area, or take up a hobby that will bring you into contact with like minded people. Walking groups or fitness classes kill two birds with one stone: you get your exercise and you get social interaction!
There are many more things you can do to ensure you are healthy. This is just a brief look at specific factors to be aware of as writers in particular. Healthy diet is one thing I’ve not mentioned that is really important. This would include eating local grown organic fruit and vegetables, much more than 5 a day! There is wealth of information on the net. If you want some advice about where to start let me know!
Otherwise it’d be nice to hear what you consider to be your writing related health issues and what you do to minimise their impact on your Mind, Body and Soul?