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How To Be A Healthy Writer

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How To Be A Healthy Writer

  1. 1. How To Be A Healthy Writer Kim Foster, M.D.
  2. 2. Can being a writer kill you?
  3. 3. Famous Writers In Notoriously Poor Health
  4. 4. WHY is writing an unhealthy occupation? Physical Health Issues: • sedentary • poor nutrition • obesity • muscle weakness • back strain • carpal tunnel syndrome • eye strain • poor digestion Mental Health Issues: • stress • financial stress • creative stress (the pressure to produce, self-doubt, etc.) • rejection & critics • deadlines • insomnia • isolation • substances
  5. 5. So…let’s have some solutions. Part One: Strategies to keep you physically healthy. Part Two: Strategies to keep you mentally healthy. (although the two are very much interconnected)
  6. 6. exercise
  7. 7. “Keep your butt in the chair” is great for your writing productivity... NOT SO AWESOME FOR YOUR BUTT. exercise
  8. 8. The reason exercise is important for writers? If you DIE, you can’t write BOOKS. exercise
  9. 9. solution #1: walk & plot!
  10. 10. solution #2: treadmill desk!
  11. 11. solution #3: accumulate your exercise Goal: 2.5 hours per week of moderate activity ...but collect it in 10 minute mini-workouts! exercise Mini-workout ideas: •turn on music & dance in your living room •climb up & down the stairs for 10 minutes •walk briskly to the store •pull weeds in your garden for 10 minutes •ride your bike around the neighborhood •vigorously clean something in your house •exercise during commercial breaks: crunches, lunges, hula hoop
  12. 12. solution #4: yoga at home
  13. 13. nutrition
  14. 14. 12 Great Writers And Their Favourite Snacks nutrition The New York Times, July 2011
  15. 15. Solution #1: practice healthy snacking The Ideal Writerly Snack: -can be eaten while sitting at a desk -will keep you feeling full -not high in sugar or salt -provides a sustained release of energy ie. protein and complex carbs nutrition
  16. 16. Snack Ideas: • Smoothies • Homemade Trailmix • Multigrain ryvita bread with peanut butter and apple slices • Fruit: apple slices, grapes • Cheese • Low fat greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit, honey, nuts, or granola • Raw veggies and hummus • Celery and cashew butter/peanut butter • Olives • Air-popped popcorn • Edamame • Apple with cheese and a handful of nuts • Hard-boiled egg (and don’t forget water!)
  17. 17. Solution #2: Keep track of your diet Why? • Accountability • Mindfulness • Portion awareness • Highlights connections to stress, emotion, timing, nutrition location • Can DOUBLE your weight loss How? • notebook/journal • speech-to-text function on your phone • computer program • app
  18. 18. Solution #3: Become A Portion Control Pro -shrink your dishes -beware buffets -order the lunch size -80% rule -divide your plate -be mindful when eating with friends -keep serving dishes off the table -eat with your left hand -turn off the TV -deal with cravings -beware large containers -Pistachio principle -chew more -watch your liquids nutrition
  19. 19. Solution #4: Supplement your diet Supplements for writers to consider: • Vitamin D • Omega-3 • Calcium nutrition
  20. 20. injuries & repetitive strain the dangerous life of a writer? injuries & repetitive strain
  21. 21. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  22. 22. How To Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: • Reduce your force and relax your grip • Take frequent breaks • Watch your form • Improve your posture • Keep your hands warm
  23. 23. Back strain
  24. 24. How To Prevent Back Strain: • Core strength • Take frequent breaks • Back stretches • Work on your posture • The right chair • Sit with knees a little higher than hips & rest your feet on a stool
  25. 25. Eye strain
  26. 26. How To Prevent Eye Strain: • Make it bigger • Blink • Don’t squint • Push your monitor away • Elevate your chair • Position your lights • Print it out • Take breaks • Get glare-reducing eye wear • Do your important work in the morning
  27. 27. mental health
  28. 28. Why is being a writer so bad for mental health? • stress • financial stress • creative stress (the pressure to produce, self-doubt, etc.) • rejection & critics • deadlines • insomnia • isolation • substances
  29. 29. How To Cope With Stress • Yoga • Breathing exercises • Meditation • Exercise • Music • Self-talk • Regular sleep • Vitamin D • Omega-3 • Green tea • Spirituality • Journaling • Social connections & support network • Massage therapy • Aromatherapy • Reading • Gardening • Progressive muscle relaxation • Practice optimism
  30. 30. How to get a good night’s sleep: • Sleep schedule • The right environment • Beware blue light • Limit caffeine • Curb evening alcohol • A relaxing bedtime routine • Exercise • Harmonize with daylight • Meditate • Bedtime snack • Wear socks
  31. 31. Meditation: Why? Studies have shown that meditation can: • counter the impact of stress • significantly reduce depression relapse • slow immune system decline in HIV patients • reduce pain sensitivity • help reduce drug addiction, smoking, binge eating, and anger • improve insomnia • reduce anxiety and panic attacks • increase empathy • improve the ability to work under pressure • improve mental sharpness and information processing
  32. 32. Meditation: How? Types: -guided meditation -mantra meditation -mindfulness meditation -transcendental meditation -Qi Gong -Tai Chi -yoga Common Elements of meditation: -focused attention -relaxed breathing -a quiet setting -a comfortable position How to start? start with just a few minutes, everyday, built into your regular routine
  33. 33. depression
  34. 34. Are you depressed? Over the last 2 weeks, have you been bothered by any of the following problems: 1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things. 2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. 3. Trouble falling/staying asleep, or sleeping too much. 4. Feeling tired or having little energy. 5. Poor appetite or overeating. 6. Feeling bad about yourself, that you’re a failure, or that you have let yourself or your family down. 7. Trouble concentrating on things. 8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed, or the opposite—being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around more than usual. 9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way.
  35. 35. substances & habits
  36. 36. 3. Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking? 4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover? CAGE: 1. Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking? 2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  37. 37. How To Quit Smoking Methods: •Cold turkey •Nicotine patches •Nicotine gum •Medication •Hypnosis •Counselling •Support groups Tips: •Set a meaningful quit date •Make a plan for vulnerable times •What to do with your hands? •What to do with your mouth? •Enlist support from friends & family •Talk to your doctor
  38. 38. The question you’re all afraid to ask: What about coffee?
  39. 39. The research is in: coffee is good for you. Coffee may decrease your risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Coffee can help ward off depression. Coffee may reduce your risk of diabetes. Coffee can make you a better writer. A 2011 study showed that caffeine improved subjects’ ability to proofread and spot errors in their grammar.

Notas del editor

  • Research about sedentary issues and early death.