Writing takes a toll on writers’ bodies. We slouch over our keyboards. We peer all day at screens. We can sit for hours at a time. We drink a lot of coffee. Do this for a few decades and you can wind up looking like a pretzel. So what can we do to help ourselves? Here are five things that have worked for me.
Consider a different keyboard
A split, curved keyboard helps reduce pressure on arms, wrists and shoulders. On a regular flat keyboard, you tend to twist your hands toward your lower finger (or pinkie finger, as the case may be.) This can cause the carpal tunnel to constrict, according to Kinesis. It also forces you to hold your palms flat for long periods of time, which stresses your arm muscles, which then causes pain in your shoulders and back. These ergonometric keyboards take a while to figure out how to use, but the self-care benefits are significant.
Test out Audible
When I’ve been looking at a screen for enough hours, there’s no amount of Visine that will take the red out. My eyes just need to rest, and I’ve found listening to books on Audible (or any other listening platform) allows me to give my eyes a good rest. I just sit there and listen and make believe I’m holding a book.
This is the answer to almost all self-care issues, as far as I’m concerned. But especially my shoulders, which usually wind up around my ears at the end of the day.
Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor, but I’ve found taking B6 vitamins tremendously helpful. You buy it over the counter. I feel like it gives my brain a boost of energy and it helps my memory. I take it around 3:00 p.m., when I generally feel like I’m losing my mind.
Walk (and look at trees)
This goes without saying. 🙂
Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series. Her stories have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The MWA anthology, Crime Hits Home, in which she has a story, just won an Anthony Award. She teaches novel-writing at Gotham Writers and is on the staff of the New York Write to Pitch Conference. www.susanjbreen.com