Post: Caring For Yourself When Writing

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Being a writer is a time-intensive profession, which roughly translates to spending a lot of time with your butt planted in a chair. At face value, this might seem like a great situation. What better than taking a load off your feet with your laptop on your lap? The problem is that after a while this lifestyle can put your body through some serious wear and tear. With that said, there are ways in which you can take action to limit any physical pain.

You should take caring for yourself just as seriously as you treat the writing process. Maybe this means that you’ll work some new habits into your current writing routine or perhaps build a new routine altogether. Either way, make sure you consider some of the following ways to care for yourself when writing.

Stretch regularly

As a writer, your hands and wrists are some of your most important tools. Writing in any capacity can be an impossible task without them in tip-top shape. The good news is that you can help preserve your hand and wrist health by taking regular stretching breaks. You should also consider talking with your doctor if you have any pain that stretching does not help, or actively makes worse.

Your hands aren’t the only thing at risk for injury when you spend a good chunk of your time at the computer. You should also be regularly stretching to help prevent pain in your:

  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Arms

Regular stretching should also help you outside of writing. According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching regularly also helps improve your range of motion, decreases your risk of injury and enables your muscles to work effectively.

Take screen breaks

Anyone who has spent time working at a computer or staring at a phone screen understands just how debilitating the related eye strain can be. Heading off screen related headaches and fatigue is important for writers whether you are on a deadline or simply excited about the story you are currently working on.

In general, the farther away your focus is the more your eyes can relax. One good tip is to look away from your computer toward something that is at least 20 feet in the distance. Do this a few times an hour and your eyes (and head) will be sure to thank you!

Set writing aside

There are a lot of dangers associated with living a sedentary lifestyle. The World Health Organization — WHO — reports that being sedentary increases the risk for all different causes of mortality. So what are you to do as a writer?

Being committed to stepping away from writing at regular intervals is a great step toward increasing your activity. Consider including regular walks into your writing routine, or make plans to meet a friend at the gym a couple days a week. Any type of physical activity you can include will be great for your body and even your creativity!

Prioritize yourself

Like any type of artist, writers tend to get caught up in their craft. While this type of focus might help get books written, it also actively harms writers. Making the effort to prioritize your own health alongside your writing is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself as well as your art.