Health for Writers

My personal health is in a holding pattern while my doctors and other providers iron out who is responsible for what. So let’s take a look at overall health for people who use their brains at their computers almost all the time. Even when we are procrastinating. Not that I think you ever would clean your house top to bottom instead of writing that next chapter.

What We Do

Review your posture a couple times per day. Feet flat on the ground or on a foot rest, back straight, keyboard close enough so that you are not torquing your arms and wrists. Keyboard should be raised slightly at the edge closest to you to prevent carpal tunnel issues. Screen should be elevated so that you are looking directly at the top inch or so of the display. It should be an arm’s length away.

Most notebooks are one piece keyboard and screen, so I have no idea how to implement adjustments to meet these ergonomic requirements. So every hour, cover your eyes with your cupped hands. Be careful to not place any pressure on your eyeballs. Make things as dark as you can so that your irises will relax and dilate. Hold for a couple minutes, but do not fall asleep.

Every hour, get up from your keyboard. Focus on something in the distance while you exercise with knee lifts, shoulder rotations, and whatever you like to do that will get blood flowing around your system. If dancing is your favorite thing, play some music and have at it.

What We Create

Your brain is probably in good shape if you are younger than 50 years old. If you are older, you are lucky if your brain can get you up and moving each day. At any age, there are things you can do to keep your brain working for you. Games make up a huge portion of things available to work your brain. Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku Puzzles, a website called Lumosity, and even an app known as Circles. All can be played on your mobile device, too.

Once you have tuned your brain into top shape, try a few writing prompts to keep your ideas flowing. Just look at Pinterest and search for prompts. WattPad has a list of prompts for Romance Writers. Bibliomavens has a two part list of Romance prompts. And maybe you keep a list of ideas of your own for future novels. Take a minute and write a few paragraphs for each of them.

What We Consume

One of my most popular posts is Writers Need Snacks. That’s a good reference to start with. But to feed your brain, you may want to eat as much fish as you can manage. I remember my confusion back in sixth grade when a friend told me that fish is brain food. But through the years I have heard that repeated over and over. Science has proved that the fatty fish like salmon can possibly slow the mental decline associated with aging. Coffee, blueberries, turmeric, and broccoli are all on my menu. Pumpkin seeds and oranges are not, but I think I will add them soon. Dark Chocolate (sugar free) and Eggs are occasional foods included in my diet.

Other Important Processes

Sleep. I did recently blog about Writers Need Sleep. And if you are not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, no matter what the reason, you are not going to be able to complete your daily tasks very well. I found some liquid melatonin for those nights when I can’t get my brain to stop talking. It works pretty well, and now I almost don’t need the drops to fall asleep quickly. Of course, getting a lot of exercise helps. And no blue lights for an hour or so before sleeping. Sleeping in a cool room. Fresh air whenever weather permits. And a light snack perhaps in the last hour before sleeping. Even Forbes says that creativity needs sleep.

Introverts are easy to spot in the wild.

And as writers, we need to be around other writers. Even those of us who are introverts need to be around other writers to know that we are not the only ones in existence. Plus these people can give us new insight into our work, celebrate our successes, and bolster us during hard times and rejection letters. All for a moment of our time in logging in on Zoom.

This is a checklist of sorts to stay healthy as a writer. I know I don’t have to add that you need to eat healthy, preferably plant based foods, get outside for the sunshine some time during the day, and get your heart rate up for some time through exercise. And keep your family and friends close as you continue on your writer’s journey. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursda.

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