1 Take a break. Writing can be mentally exhausting, so it is important to ensure that you take enough time to rest and recover. Remember to give your eyes and brain a break from your computer screen, make some ‘you time’, and let your energy levels replenish. You’ll feel refreshed, more enthusiastic, and have more interest in your writing if you allow yourself time to rest and relax. And, if you are feeling refreshed and rejuvenated it will show in the quality and output of your work.
2 Don’t spend long periods sitting at your desk. The writer’s routine can involve some heavy, uninterrupted hours sitting hunched over a desk – shoulders, body, and posture stiff and stationary – leading to strain or suffering health in legs, back, shoulders, neck, and circulation. Try breaking long hours into multiple writing sessions, and incorporating movement into part of your regular/daily routine. You might consider a timer at your desk for timed writing sessions, incorporating exercises at regular intervals, or investing in a treadmill or standing desk.
3 Go for a walk. A daily walk not only improves your overall fitness by boosting your cardio-vascular system and strengthening your heart and lungs, but also helps to reduce negative influences and energy on your mind and body. Walking can help to alleviate stress and anxieties through the release of endorphins, and can even help to boost your levels of creativity. Walking promotes a positive mental attitude, and allows you an escape in which to unwind/relax. Find a local route you enjoy, or explore somewhere new every time. The fresh air, sunshine and/or change of scenery will also help you to feel good.
4 Don’t snack on unhealthy foods during your writing session. Eating while you write is a common practice for many authors. It’s all to easy to overindulge in cliff-hanger or writer’s block related chocolate sessions, but it is best to keep these to a minimum. Instead, try snacking on fruit, chopped vegetables, nuts, or even a piece of dark chocolate – these foods are healthier, more satisfying for your body, and actively work to promote your health and stimulate your mind. You’ll feel fresher, have more energy, and lower your risk of developing health issues or diet-related diseases.
5 Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is very important for your general health. It can help to reduce fatigue and drowsiness, and boost mood and endurance. It can improve your brainpower, lower stress levels, prevent headaches, protect your heart health, aid with good sleeping and immunity, and prevent the development of certain diseases. Ensuring that you are maintaining proper hydration can lead to improved fitness and health, and a better/positive mental attitude. Always have some water with you when you are writing!
6 Relax. Finding ways to relax and unwind are great for your mental and physical well-being. Relaxing can lower your stress levels, muscle tension, and can increase blood flow to major muscles – thereby reducing the frequency/severity of chronic aches and pain, and lowering your breathing rate. Activities such as listening or music or reading actively stimulate and exercise your brain – leading to improved memory, empathy, and mental dexterity.
7 Be social. Social relationships and spending time with friends and family helps to keep us healthy, promotes general well-being, and aids in helping us to relax. A good social life can improve your immunity (reduce risk of colds, flu, etc), motivation and relaxation, and can promote good sleep. It can reduce stress and/or anxiety, lethargy, and lower your risk of depression. Spending time with friends or family can also boost your mood and your mental outlook. You might even find new writing ideas, character quirks, or snippets of dialogue to include in your work through social interaction.
8 Be aware of your ‘writing set-up’. With the amount of time you will be spending at your computer, it is important to consider what furniture you have/will be using. Consider investing in an ergonomically designed chair, a back/neck rest, wrist supports, etc in order to reduce/alleviate tension and muscle strain.
9 Stretch. Avoid cramp and muscle tension by stretching at your desk. Not only will this help to prevent muscle pain or strain over time, it will help to increase your blood flow. Be aware of your posture when you are sitting, and open your lungs by taking deeper breaths. Consider taking up yoga, meditation, or similar activities that help to ease stress and aid oxygen and blood flow in your body.
10 Sleep. Be sure to get enough sleep as part of your daily routine. Sleep helps to keep you feeling refreshed and happy, and fights against heart and blood damage. It helps to lower stress, and reduces risk of heart related diseases. It’s also good for boosting your energy levels and boosting your brainpower and general health.