Welcome to AT HOME WITH HARRIET! Each month, our dear, sweet Harriet Hodgson, will share her life with us. She will share writing tips, articles based on 44 years as a freelancer, and articles about current events and issues. You don’t want to miss one episode of AT HOME WITH HARRIET! Because as you can see from the photo below, Harriet always has a lot going on!
SELF-LOVE AND CARE FOR WRITERS
February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Because of this, we think of February as the month of love, when we give cards, flowers, and chocolates to loved ones and friends. After typing my way through the holidays, I think this month, and all that follow, are times to practice self-love and care.
Self-love is defined as having respect and regard for your well-being and health. Self-care is just that—taking care of yourself, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
But we get so involved in writing that hours pass without notice. Where did the time go? The results are sore back and eye strain, two things we don’t need. What can we do? We can take more breaks: eye breaks, micro breaks, rest breaks, stretching breaks, and exercise breaks. Let’s start with the eyes.
I wear bifocals and need them to read. When I’m online, however, I take off my glasses. To protect my eyes, I close them frequently and/or turn away from the screen and look across the hall at my bedroom. Some health experts recommend eye breaks every 15 minutes. I think that’s a good idea.
Micro breaks are quick breaks when you rest your hands, stand up for a minute or two, or stretch your body. After I read about micro breaks, I incorporated them into my work schedule. Stopping for a few minutes didn’t interrupt my writing flow and made me feel better.
A rest break is just that; you stop working and rest. You may have a cup of coffee, tea, or a cold drink. This may be a good time to toss a load of wash into the machine or start making soup for dinner. While you’re taking a rest break your subconscious mind is still working.
Stretching breaks are surprisingly helpful. I stand up and stretch my arms above my head and to the side. Now frequent stretching breaks are on my To Do list. We may take other steps, according to Jill Henderzahs, PT, D.P.T., author of “Mayo Clinic Q & A: Avoiding Pain while Working at a Desk.” Her recommendations:
- Ensure your eyes are at screen level
- Increase font size to reduce eye strain
- Invest in an ergonomic chair
- Make sure your feet touch the floor
- Avoid bending your neck
~Author, Harriet Hodgson