Writers have several health hazards to contend with:
- Anxiety. Will they love it? Will they hate it? Why have my sales stopped? Will that bad review kill my sales? Should I have posted that comment? Did I spend too much on my cover?
- Indigestion. Stress is a factor for common digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Diet is important for good digestion, so writers need to work a good eating plan into their busy schedules.
- Heart health. All that time sitting down at the computer writing needs to be balanced with some exercise.
- Vision. Reading and writing several hours each day can cause eye strain.
Stress is a big problem. It’s easy to get, hard to get rid of, and can have a big impact on your health. Stress is a factor in many common chronic health conditions like asthma and IBS.
It’s easy to say, but hard to do. But to help reduce stress, you need to not let things get to you. You also need to avoid things that can increase anxiety like checking sales reports avidly, checking reviews frequently, responding to reviews, or setting unreasonable expectations. Find things that you can do or people you can interact with which make you feel more comfortable.
Regular exercise is important for your health, and may even help you release some stress. At the very least, exercise for a few minutes multiple times each day. Force yourself to get up from the computer periodically and take an exercise break. Surely, you can spare a few minutes here and there.
There are probably times where you are stuck in your writing—great times to get up, stretch your muscles, and move your arms and legs around with some exercises. When you find yourself just checking one more thing online when you really don’t need to, or checking stats that you had just checked a few minutes ago, force yourself to get up and exercise for a few minutes.
Something like an elliptical is handy because you can move both your arms and legs actively for a few minutes. If you have asthma, exercise in spurts instead of lengthy workouts if longer workouts are more likely to trigger your symptoms. Even if you don’t have asthma, working out more frequently for shorter periods might be easier to fit into your schedule. There may be health benefits from longer workouts, but shorter workouts are better than nothing.
Swimming is another great way to exercise your limbs, if you have access to a pool. But you don’t need to invest in an elliptical or swimming pool to exercise. All you need to do is invest some time. After incorporating regular exercise into your schedule, you might just find that you feel better in more ways than one.
If you have digestive problems like acid reflux or IBS, you need to watch what you eat, as certain foods are more likely to trigger your symptoms. In addition, minimizing stress and exercising may help with these conditions, too.
It may benefit your heart to avoid long periods of sitting down, and to get up, stretch your muscles, and move around for a few minutes in between. It may also benefit your vision to rest your eyes, avoiding long durations where you stare at a computer monitor.
I’m not a medical doctor. If you want medical advice, consult with a medical professional. However, if you have a math or physics emergency, I do have doctorate in physics. 🙂
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)