Workout is done.
Green juice is by my computer.
Even though I love writing as many who write do, even though I know it's an essential part of my life and I can't imagine my life without it, I know it might not always be the best thing for my heath.
They say sitting is the new smoking. Sitting makes you fatter. Sitting might contribute to heart disease, diabetes, stress, chronic inflammation, might promote cancers. Sitting steals your physical and mental energy. "“ All kind of "good" stuff you get sitting too much.
Sitting is killing you basically.
As a writer you might be spending quite a lot of time on your rear end.
I know I used to.
I used to sit at least 6 hours a day on a good day, doing something I love, something that was also killing me.
At some point I realized I got to change something, if I cared about my physical health AND the quality of my work.
As a writer you probably read a lot too. My guess is you might be doing it sitting down.
Let's say you spend 3-4 hours a day writing. A couple of hours reading. And then you probably spend some time working on your computer, checking your email, using social media, exploring the WWW, studying. Another wild guess "“ that happens in a sitting position also, right?
And then you might watch some TV during the day sitting in a comfortable armchair or on your sofa.
You have your food sitting down.
You might see some friends at night spending most of your time together sitting.
You might be easily spending 8-10 hours a day sitting!
Did you know that sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3? Even if you exercise regularly!
Then there is food issue. Lots of us writers end up eating too much because we are by our fridge most of the day. Snacking. Not moving much.
Then we might spend too much time inside, without fresh air and sunlight, without enough exercise.
All that contributes to poor health that eventually will make us worse writers than we could be, if we took a proper care of our health, our body and our brain.
At some point I realized that to have a balanced healthy life as a writer, to become better at writing, more productive and prolific, I got to install some new routines and set some new rules.
So what did I do and what you can do to improve your health and become a better writer as a result?
First I changed my sitting situation.
I started writing and reading "“ and doing anything I could "“ standing up.
I do not have a specially designed standing workstation, but I use my kitchen counter as my standing work station. Writing while standing up also makes it easier to walk around, do some stretches, allowing creative ideas to flow into my head.
It might feel a bit weird at first to write standing up but after a few days it'll become your second nature. When you see how your productivity increases, you'll be even more motivated to keep that habit and forget your chairs for good.
I feel more energy now. I'm more creative, more productive. I don't feel as tired as I used. Now I can easy spend 3-4 hours writing non-stop not feeling tired. It might sound counterintuitive, but sitting actually makes you tired much faster, because it causes a lot of stress and inflammation. We are designed to move, not to sit down. We did not evolve as species with chairs around us.
My posture improved as a result too. My breathing got much better.
I also read standing up or walking around my room now.
It keeps me alert and more focused. Keeps my mind more active.
I write better and more. I learn better and faster, retain more information. I read faster.
All that I got because I traded sitting for standing up.
My favorite position while standing up is actually a tree pose. It works perfectly for me. AND probably improves my balance.
You might even need less coffee as a result because of improved circulation!
Then I took care of my eating habits.
I noticed that standing while writing helps me to control my appetite. I don't feel that hungry in the first place, when I don't sit on my rear end that much.
To stop my mindless eating while writing I created eating schedule for myself.
I usually set the time to eat and have my nutrition plan at least for one day ahead.
I plan all my food the day before so I don't make any decisions about it the next day.
It helps to save my mental energy and avoid unnecessary decision making that steals energy from my writing.
When It's time to eat, I eat and then I don't think about food till my next meal. At the end of the day I reflect, see how I felt. I decide what I want to eat the next day.
I always have healthy snacks available, in case I get hungrier than I expected "“ always be prepared and don't keep stuff that is not good for you at home. Want unhealthy snack "“ work for it. Get off your butt, if you haven't done so already and take yourself for a walk to the store. Get one portion of your favorite snack, amount you plan to eat right away and leave the rest at the store to avoid the temptation.
If at the beginning, or in general, you don't have much self-control, to prevent mindless constant eating just go somewhere else to write.
I go to a coffee shop close to my house. Sometimes I just feel I need to get out of the house, see people, change environment to get new ideas flowing, move more, maybe, try some new food because I'm bored with what I have at home.
Novelty feeds our minds and you get to watch people and have interesting conversations.
I would definitely choose some interesting coffee shop that attracts writers and other like-minded or just fascinating individuals. Places with good wi-fi internet connection, comfortable places to sit, work, place with books, magazines. I'd definitely try to find one with healthy options to eat.
I found my perfect spot. It has a pond in front, you can work inside or outside (getting some fresh air and sun also), it has healthy foods, green juices and smoothies, healthy desserts and snacks. Design of the place is creative with writings all over the ceiling, comfortable chairs and sofas. AND creative people hang out there all the time. The cafÃ© is in CNN building in media city Dubai. All kind of creatives go there!
I can just feel ideas sprouting in my head when I'm there.
The only downside is you have to sit to work there.
Well, sometimes you can't have it all.
My other healthy writing routines.
To make the brain healthy and sharp, to keep creative ideas flowing and have enough energy to work, we got to keep moving and keep our body in a good shape.
I love working out before my writing sessions. It gives me lots of energy for my writing. I love going to the gym and do some weights.
For inspiration and more ideas I walk every night listening to some audio book or podcast, or taking to my friends and exploring new neighborhoods.
That way I kill too birds with one shot: I exercise and keep my body and brain healthy, AND I get to spend time with my friends and socialize. Plus, I promote healthy lifestyle and make my friends move more that is beneficial for their health.
Those night walks also create a healthy sleeping routine.
After my walks I usually write in my diary, have a cup of herbal tea, meditate and go to bed.
It's a perfect daily writing routine. Keeps me creative, productive AND healthy.
And at the end of the day I'm just happy with myself. I not only managed to write and read a lot, but I also managed to take a proper care of my health.
You don't have to do the exact same things, but you might try some things I mentioned to become a healthier, more prolific and productive writer, reader, learner.
Share your writing daily routine.
Where do you think you could make some changes improving your health? How can you become a healthier writer?
If you are not sure what you can do and how "“ let's talk. I'll give you a few ideas and I'm sure together we will be able to figure out a way for you to do the best work you are capable of and stay healthy.