As bloggers, we know we should look after our health more, but we often don’t. No matter how many times people tell us to step away from the computer and take a break, we just keep on writing those posts, gripped by an idea we’re afraid we’ll lose if we leave the computer for even a single second. The truth is we’re not doing ourselves any favors by being obsessive about our blogging and writing routine. A bit more balance would lead to better health and might even boost productivity. To help us all make a start on better health in our blogging lives, here are some helpful tips.
How Does Your Work Area Look?
Getting your workspace set up right is the first priority. Make sure your monitor is just below eye level (difficult with large monitors sometimes). Too high or too low and you will get neck strain. Keep the monitor at about arms length – or slightly more – to avoid eye strain. Make sure that your arms can fit in a neutral position – a straight line – above your keyboard (there are problems if you have to angle your wrists too much) and make use of wrist rests if needed. This will help you to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, which is both a literal and metaphorical pain. When sitting in your chair, you should be able to place your feet flat on the floor, though you can also use a footrest. Your chair should be height adjustable and using a headset for phone calls will help you to avoid neck strain. If you get up at the end of your day feeling achy and cramped, then there’s probably still some work to do to achieve the optimal ergonomic setup.
We always think that we must finish the post we’re writing right now, but would it really kill us to take a break? When I say break, I mean a period where you actually leave your desk, not a break where you play an online game or check your Twitter account instead of working. Regular breaks of at least five minutes every couple of hours will safeguard your health, by allowing you to stretch your legs, wrists and arms. I know from personal experience that failing to do this leads to pain and can stop you from being able to work for a while. If you have trouble scheduling breaks, use software to remind you or build time for making coffee or doing household tasks into your day.
Exercise and Diet
Even better, if you work at home like many bloggers do, leave the house for a while. Take a walk around the neighborhood or go to your gym and burn some calories. Take up yoga or pilates to build up flexibility and core strength. Not only is exercise good for your body, but you’ll feel a resurgence of energy which will help with creativity. If you’re worried about being away from your desk for a while, using a treadmill or other exercise equipment at home will do the trick (and don’t crane your neck to check your computer screen at the same time). Time your exercise around meals and you can avoid that heavy feeling after lunch which kills creativity, and use things that will make your life easier at helping you with this stuff like these practical products. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the day (and cut down on the caffeine, if you can).
As well as physical stress, you can also experience mental stress if you’re an obsessive blogger (ask me how I know). Working through the night and multitasking as you go can make your brain seem to overload and put you on the way to burnout. Try getting enough sleep and singletasking to keep yourself sane. Reduce the number of times you check email and social media and check one thing off your to-do list at a time.
I’ve been working hard on taking my own advice and I’m making progress, though I still have some trouble with singletasking. Any tips to add?