Writing is generally considered mental work, but there’s much more to the physical side of it than people think. I’ve had the past few weeks off from school and have been pouring it on, spending anywhere from six to ten hours a day on the computer. I’ve made great progress, but I’ve also had to pay a physical price for it with back aches, neck cramps, numbness and tingling in the legs, a stiff shoulder and hand on my mouse side, and eye strain. In fact, while my mind is reveling in the work, my body is making periodic threats at a strike. Fortunately, I’ve begun to find some ways to appease my body without losing a lot of time from my writing.
1. I stay hydrated. Instead of a soda, I keep a bottle of water at hand and refill it as necessary. (I’ve found this is a good way to get myself to drink more water, in fact.)
2. I take frequent breaks and actually do some stretching exercises. Just a minute seems to help. Even at the computer I take moments here and there to roll my neck or stretch my upper body.
3. I force myself to switch position more frequently in my chair. I have a habit of sitting with my left leg curled up on the chair and my right leg over it. I’m trying to alter that about on a more regular basis.
4. I’ve given in and admitted that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and have used my word processor’s zoom capabilities to significantly increase the apparent size of the font.
5. Concerning vision, I’ve also had my eyes tested and am getting a new glasses prescription, which should help.
6. I’ve cut back during my off periods on playing any computer game that requires a lot of repetitive mouse work.