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Healthy Choices for Busy Writers - Small Changes

Whether you come home to your WIPs after a day job or you're a full-time writer, odds are you spend a lot of time at a desk. I think we can probably all relate to the aches, pains, and strains of realizing you've spent too long typing, sitting, and staring at a screen. To some extent, it feels kind of avoidable. But what if there are small changes we could make to lessen those negative impacts?

I'm going to focus on tips and tricks that work for me. From meal prepping, to mobility and stretches that I like to combat computer time, to ways to get more water, the goal is to talk about things that are simple, straightforward, and accessible. This isn't about spending a lot of money on special tools or programs or suggesting things that ignore our very real time constraints.

You may be familiar with a chart like this, basically showing the difference in making a 1% change--positive or negative--or no change at all every day for a year would look like. Granted, we aren't perfect, and there are days that we'll miss entirely, but my favorite part about charts like this is the reminder that progress in the beginning is slow. So slow, that you might not even realize it's happening. I've been really into fitness in the past and had a career in continuous improvement, and between those, I've seen a lot of instances where people or groups either give up too soon because they don't see the changes they want or try to jump the gun and do more drastic things because they aren't seeing change quickly enough. Ultimately, my point is that we don't want to take on so much that we burn ourselves out when we could do some minimum beneficial amount and see the pay-off.

Tip #1: Get up from your desk* every 30 minutes. Bonus: This one works for writing and if you have a sedentary day job.

Maybe you work on the couch, your bed, the kitchen table. Whatever it is, getting up a couple of times every hour is such a small change, but it has the potential to make a really positive impact. You don't need a fitness tracker to get into the habit of breaking up your time sitting, and you don't even need to get 250 steps every hour. Set a timer. It could be your phone, a kitchen timer, or even something web-based like a Pomodoro Timer or one of the many timers on Youtube that often even have ambient music, if that's your thing. We'll talk later about some quick stretches you can do, but for now, just try to get up. Go to the bathroom. Take a walk around your home or office. Go check the mail. Refill your water. If nothing else, just stand up and take your eyes off your screen for a few minutes before you get back to it.

If you have suggestions, or like what you see, I would love to see your comments on these. What's your biggest struggle? Your favorite healthy tip for writers?

Stay spooky, stay healthy,


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