Anyone can easily argue writing is good for the soul.
But really, what is it doing for your belly, hips and thighs?
You don’t see yourself as a couch potato, per se. It’s not as if you aren’t busy every waking hour of the day.
Still, it’s becoming evident those long hours spent poring over the pages of your novel, article, or thesis are taking their toll on your body.
Can you identify with any of the following characters?
The majority of your day is spent sitting in front of a computer, working on your current project(s). You do manage to leave your desk at lunch time, but only because you need to pee.
Knowing you’re being productive helps mask the pain of your aching shoulders and your back. When the circulation to your feet cuts off again, you hardly notice.
If you work outside the home and write during your free hours, you probably go from one sitting-situation to another. Come to think of it, you can’t really think of too many times in the past week when you didn’t have your butt parked in a chair.
That’s what writers are supposed to do, right?
You’re stressed. You have a deadline to meet. You’re behind your quota for the day.
In your experience, the best thing to relieve this stress is an extra-large, double-cream, double-sugar coffee with a jumbo choc-chip muffin. Or maybe two. You skipped breakfast this morning, so the calories must balance out.
Perhaps the tightness of that button on your pants is adding to your tension. Undoing it will help immensely.
Note to self: invest in pants with elasticized waists.
Who cares if you need to pee? You have work to do.
Lunch break? You can eat and work at the same time. That’ll give you an extra 15 minutes.
Why waste energy getting up when you’ve perfected the art of eating while you type? You can scoff a chocolate bar hands-free, and there’s plenty of space for your chips and soft drinks beside the mouse.
The most important matter at hand is meeting your deadline. Everything else is secondary.
What’s a Writer To Do?
If you’re someone who regularly practices healthy habits during your work day, congratulations! You’ll be all the more successful for it.
Still, many of us overlook our health in the attempt to be more productive.
The truth is, this strategy is counter-productive.
Some ways to balance personal well-being with all that hard work are:
- Take a stretch break every half-hour to 45 minutes. Stand up, stretch your arms and legs, shrug your shoulders, or anything else that helps relieve the tension of sitting for long periods of time.
- Do one chore for every hour you write. At home, throw in a load of laundry, wash the dishes, or vacuum the bedroom. If you’re at the office, deliver a memo personally, use the photocopier, or tidy the staff room. You’ll get a much-needed break every hour and be more productive at the same time.
- Banish food from your work station. Make it a habit to have only a bottle of water at your desk. When you eat, do it at the kitchen table or in the staff room. This will force you to rest from work and discourage mindless eating.
- Eat regularly. You can’t expect your mind to work efficiently if you don’t feed it. Have breakfast before you start writing. By choosing healthy snacks throughout the day and eating a balanced lunch, you won’t be distracted by a gurgling stomach.
- Find better ways to deal with stress. Instead of emotional eating, consider the factors affecting your stress levels. Do you need to spend more time planning? Organize more efficiently? Take on less projects at once? Find alternative ways to deal with the underlying issues that tempt you to tuck into unhealthy snacks.
Don’t let your manuscript make you fat.
Instead of resigning yourself to an inactive lifestyle, take steps to break bad habits and create better ones.