Healthy Tips for Writers by Janice Ernest
As a writer, I can travel from my office chair to many other worlds and live the vicarious lives of my characters. It is easy to get lost in the story and forget that I need to move also. Writing has the tendency to lead to a most sedentary lifestyle filled with coffee, liquor, lack of exercise, and a decrease in socialization. It can be the most lonely of experiences or the most exhilarating. It is up to the writer to care for themselves as well as their characters. Below are some tips to help keep you and your characters in shape, your creativity flowing, and your social life afloat.
Adequate Sleep—Allow yourself at least 6-8 hours of undisturbed sleep a night. The reason for this: Your brain needs to reboot itself, in order to accept new information or process new information it receives on a daily basis. A mind fresh and ready for thought is a much more efficient, contemplative tool for the writer to have, than a dulled, fuzzy one.
Ways to accomplish this:
· Sleep in a room away from technology, TV, or other distractions.
· Set up an area exclusively for sleep. It will serve as a cue to your body when you enter this area of your home.
· Take time to shower, meditate, or do some other relaxing activity prior to sleep.
· Maintain a slightly cold temperature for sleep, use extra covers when needed.
· Cue your body to a time for sleep. Setting a regular time will teach your body to follow through with your decision.
Adequate Exercise—Physical movement activates the lymph system, the cardiovascular system, the muscular system, and even the skeletal system, along with skin and internal organs. It helps move fluids throughout the body, contributes to creating the pressure necessary to give food to the brain, and makes the heart strong to withstand stress.
In the Morning
Take time to awaken and stretch up and out with arms. While sitting up on the side of the bed, inhale deeply, then exhale slowly seven times. It will bring oxygen to the brain and body. Stretching the muscles awakens them and helps the cardiovascular system to open up and prepare for the day.
Make exercise a daily part of your routine.
- Take breaks at the end of each hour of writing to get up, move about, pick up, and organize your environment.
- Change your environment altogether. Allow yourself to go for a walk, or go to a lake, or park, somewhere that will inspire your body and soul.
- Give yourself the gift of a trip to the gym. Not a drudge trip which must be made daily, but make it a special gift you give yourself because you deserve to be the best physically and mentally you can be.
- If you are stuck at your desk, practice some isometric exercises you can do right at your desk. Tighten and loosen your buttocks, do leg lifts, reach your arms up and out. Move your neck, look up, down, side, to side. Focus your view on a corner of the room. This will help to relieve the eyestrain that looking at a computer screen all day causes.
- Sing to something on the radio, or even get up and dance for a few minutes. All movement counts and singing exercises the brain, the vocal chords, and the spirit.
- Practice some form of movement exercise. TaiChi is my favorite. It allows me to do slow and controlled movements which will assist with my balance and stamina. I also let myself take time to walk each day. I cannot go far, but I go as far as my body will allow. Another good practice is Qi Cong. It is a form of bone washing that is composed of tapping upon the body to stimulate lymph movement and utilize various reflex points within the body to improve general health. Videos of both Qi Cong and TaiChi can be found on YouTube.
Take Time for Your Spiritual Health
· One friend I know takes a walk every day down a wooded road to a particular tree. On the way there she allows herself to take in all the scenery around her. She allows her mind to wander and free itself for the day that is ahead. For me, I like to take a trip to a lake or park and observe and listen to all that is going on around me.
· Some people read an inspirational book for several minutes, then stop and meditate on it, allow it to sink into their consciousness. I do this, then have a quiet time of contemplation. This helps to relax my mind.
· Spend time with friends. You don’t have to have 100 friends to be happy. Maybe one or two good friends that you are close to. Everyone’s spirit calls out for fellowship in one way or another. So, get off your computer, call up someone, meet up and eat, or play together. It will make a big difference in your writing and theirs. Social interaction is one of the most important aspects of learning. Allow yourself to listen and learn from other’s experiences.
· Have hope. Choose Happiness, and choose life. Always allow yourself permission to know that not everything in life is fun or pleasant, but, know that all will pass and that inside all of your difficulties, somewhere there is something good to be found. Don’t miss the daisy among the fertilizer the world flings. (con. on pg35) Right for You
· No one else can eat right for you. It is a gift you must give yourself.
· Start slow and make better choices.
- One less slice of bread today, or try a less calorie variety.
Choose to eat fruit instead of cake today.
Try a new vegetable every week. Become as adventurous with food as you are in your writing. Be creative.
Drink lots of water. Maintain your hydration.
Choose to eat with friends at least once every two weeks.
Enjoy the good food
More importantly, love well, laugh often, and share with one another. This is good for both spiritual and physical health
It is my hope that you have found some of the above tips to be helpful. I am sitting here at the computer planning my healthful goals right now. Remember, you are the only one who controls your health as a writer or a human being. Oh my, look at the time, 2:50 P.M. I’ve gotta go, gotta get some cleaning done in the next five minutes. Hope to see you moving around. Bye for now!