Guest Post: Brianna Lamberson
I’m a Health Coach. But I’m also a writer. And as a writer I know first hand how mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing the process of writing can be. There are huge health risks that writers face and if we’re not careful these risks can sidetrack our health.
Health risks for writers
Generally speaking, writers write alone in front of a screen or two or three. Because we love what we do, we can easily become engrossed in our work not realizing hours have passed.
We forget to take breaks, drink water, go to the bathroom, and breathe. Worst of all we forget to move around and get off our bums.
Add to all this the pressure to reach deadlines and the impending stress of hammering out our thoughts on a page and you get a recipe for weight gain, fatigue, depression, and more.
It’s a myth, in my opinion, that writing is full of whimsy and romance. No way! In fact, writing is hard work. It’s mentally and physically draining and if you’re not proactive, it can easily take a detrimental form.
1.Deal with nervous energy and mindless snacking
I’m an emotional eater. I like to snack when I get nervous or have anxiety about something.
During the entire month of January I was working on completing a book project that had a firm deadline. I had to write the majority of the project in 30 days.
This was stressful to say the least.
I found myself wanting to tear through anything I could get my hands on to quell the nervous energy.
If you snack while you write, try switching to a more nourishing snack like almonds, celery, carrot sticks, peanuts, or raisins.
2.Get a standing desk and practice deep stretching
Another huge health mistake I see writers making is sitting too long at their desks, kitchen tables, coffee shops, or couches while working.
Unfortunately, this practice kills your creativity and health. Sitting has been shown in some cases to cause more deaths than smoking.
And going to the gym even a few times a week isn’t enough to combat the ill effects of extended periods of sitting. The very best way to remedy this is work while standing.
You don’t have to buy a standing desk though. I actually work from my kitchen bar window and bedroom dresser. You can rig something up and make it work. You’ll increase mental clarity, energy, and focus.
3.Practice nasal breathing
It’s a well known fact that working at a computer hinders proper air flow. Writers who get into “the zone”, tend to disconnect from their bodies during this state of flow.
We need our brains working at full capacity. So instead of constricting airflow, bathe your brain in oxygen. Adopt the easy habit of ujjayi, or deep nasal breathing, practiced in yoga.
When you find yourself in a pensive state, step away from the computer and take a short break. Breathe in and out through your nose, making sure to inhale deeply so as to exchange the oxygen in the lowest part of the lungs.
Breathe in through the nose for 5 counts. Pause and hold for about a second. Breathe out through the nose for 5 counts. Do this up to 6 times. Practicing this even once increases alpha brain waves and reduces stress. Hooray for alpha brain waves!
4.Take a break and jump up and down
Aside from having a standing desk and doing nasal breathing, it’s important to take regular breaks. Breaking from deep work helps to avoid burnout and even helps to increase productivity.
Even with a standing desk our joints, muscles, and minds can become rigid. While you’re pausing to recharge, practice the ancient art of jumping up and down.
In yoga, the simple practice of jumping up and down will help to raise the heart rate, increase blood flow to the brain and limbs, and boost creativity, energy, and mood.
5.Diffuse Essential Oils
Have you ever been cooking with rosemary and felt the sudden urge to grab a handful, bury your nose in it, and inhale deeply?
Yeah. Me too.
Essential oils are crazy popular right now, but in truth aroma has been used for thousands of years for a wide range of ailments.
For example, rosemary stimulates memory and enhances brain function, lavendar lifts depression, and cinnamon wards off ants.
While you’re working at your standing desk writing your next masterpiece, diffuse some of your favorite essential oils a reed diffuser, or tea light diffuser.
Let’s not stop here
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your health and life with simple changes, you’re invited to subscribe to my blog where you’ll get access to a free 7 day video course all about how to live a cleaner, better life from the inside out.
Brianna Lamberson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and author of Simple Is The Cure. She helps stressed out creatives simplify life and health so that they can achieve their dreams and change the world. She and her firefighter husband along with their dog Beau live in Knoxville, Tennessee.