*Below is not a transcript of video.
A few years ago, I had to go to the doctor’s office because I was experiencing so much wrist pain I had to get it checked out. At that time, I learned everything I needed to know about carpal tunnel syndrome and because it sidelined me for quite a while, I decided to start making some changes quickly to avoid ever going down that road again. I developed some really easy habits that I do every day that I wanted to share with everyone who writes, stares at a computer all day or is on the phone regularly.
A lot of writers, and creative people in general, tend to overwork themselves especially when they’re in that zone or experiencing that ever elusive “light bulb” moment. We’ll write for hours without stopping — we’re also prone to over-due it when we’re experiencing some sort of block – we’ll keep grinding and pushing, not realizing the possible physical toll we may be putting on ourselves, not to mention the mental one, by hunching over our laptops and staring at the computer screen for hours.
I believe that keeping ourselves physically healthy is just as important as keeping our mental and emotional state in check. As artists, sometimes we faulter on all of these in the hopes of creating that next masterpiece. But I’d like to offer the idea that if you can implement some really simple habits now, it may help prevent you from unnecessary injury and pain later. If you start now, it will also become a seamless part of your everyday way of working and will not impose on your creativity, but actually may help it!
So, what am I talking about? Well, please watch the video for a visual explanation. But simply, start learning to take 1-minute breaks throughout your day to do some small stretches with your fingers, your wrists, neck and shoulders to give yourself a break from sitting in a static position. Staying in the same position for long periods of time can lead to cramping, stiffness and in some cases, possible carpal tunnel syndrome. Give yourself 30 seconds to a minute break every hour at least, to reassess your body and stretch for just a bit.
I use the alarm on my phone for just this purpose. I set it up to chime in one hour increments and the “ring” I use is a very subtle soothing chime. The type of “ring” you use IS important – I learned this the hard way – because sometimes you really are in that creative zone and you don’t want something to jar you out completely. But a soft notification is just a reminder to finish the thought and do your quick stretches to take care of your fingers, shoulders, neck and overall posture.
Please note: I’m not a doctor – so understand these ideas are what work for me and I’m sharing them with you in hopes that it will help you. I also think it’s important to state that I don’t think these tiny stretches throughout your day should take the place of what we all should be doing to have good and healthy lives – eat right, work-out/be active, mediate, walk and make sure you hydrate with water regularly. But adding these small moments throughout your day will definitely help with taking care of the physical part of you, the writer, the artist, the worker, so you can continue creating all those beautiful stories the world needs to hear.
I hope this has been helpful. I’m curious what other people do to prevent from getting stiff or cramping while writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This post is also part of a great group of writers called #AuthorToolboxBlogHop – please click on this hashtag or the pic to find other great sources of tips and tricks that other great writers use to keep on creating…
As always, thanks for stopping by!