I’m writing this lying flat on my back with a disc injury, you’ll be pleased to know not writing related but more due to nearly 35 years of nursing. There’s not much you can do on your back, and certainly not THAT but it got me thinking – writing is a very unhealthy occupation.
Of course there’s sky diving, but if it goes wrong at least the ending is quick. The same could be said for caving and I’m not even going to dwell on lion taming…
But, jokes aside writing is not good for either your mental or physical wellbeing. Hours upon hours trying to sort out that plot problem, or misplaced Oxford comma shut up in isolation in the same position with only a pot of coffee and a pile of chocolate to keep you company – sound familiar?
I blogged a while ago on romance writers asking for photos of where they worked and the results will surprise you. Some have amazing ergonomically designed spaces while many had a makeshift chair in front of a wonky table. As writers we all know how words are important, but surely not as important as the person penning them?
So you love to write. You’re a bit of a loner even? You have to at least enjoy your own company because, boy you’ll be spending most of it in isolation. Humans are pack animals. Being alone, whilst good for your word count is bad for your health. There’s nothing worse than a depressed writer.
So you’ve got the body of Adonis (or Venus) and you’re as fit as the proverbial fiddle – hurray for you. Is sitting still for long periods good for you? Ever experienced cramp, backache, neck pain, headaches – or even worse? There is worse believe me.
Some tips for your mental and physical wellbeing.
- Do you have a view? Make one. A flower (remember to water it at the end of each chapter). A photo collage of your favourite people, things. A favourite picture. Think how you can make your work space more interesting.
- Coffee. Coffee is a stimulant. It stimulates you and then, you know what without it you end up falling off that cliff. It’s up to you how much you need, want but just be aware of the pros- cons. Drink water too. Don’t have the coffee pot in the same room. Get off your gluteus maximus and walk to the kitchen to make it.
- Time yourself – this is not a joke. Just how long have you been sitting there typing or indeed flicking through your social media accounts without moving? If it’s more than 1/2 an hour it’s too long. Get up and look out the window. Hang the washing out, feed the dog – even if you don’t have one! Just move…
- Your work space – can you improve it. Does it need improving? Do you have a desk at the right height and a proper chair to sit on? It doesn’t have to cost much. You probably have something at hand that’s better. Have a quick search and you’ll find more tips than I can be bothered to copy and paste for you
- Eating. I’ve a problem with my G key at the moment – some erstwhile crumb has got stuck – well you try typing flat on your back! But seriously never eat at your desk. I know it’s tempting especially when you’re on a word roll but it’s also a great opportunity to recharge those brain cells and move those muscles.
- Exercise – a dirty word to many and I’m certainly not able to preach! For me after a hard days physical labour on the ward I’m scarcely able to lift a pencil. Do what you can. If this means running a marathon so be it. It it means walking to the corner shop to stock up on chocolate at least you haven’t taken the car. Just be aware physical inactivity is storing up problems for the future.
I’m now going to practice what I preach and make my way in an orderly fashion to the kitchen to boil the kettle – well I did manage a swim of sorts yesterday.