5 Health Problems Common Amongst Writers
Reading the title, you might wonder how writers are particularly mentioned here. Well, the reality is that this seemingly laid-back profession can harm your health. When you think of cops, firefighters, or other front-line workers, you get a clear picture of how there are chances for these people to get hurt. But how can a person, merely sitting down in front of their laptop screens for most of the day, face health issues? Well, the description itself states the cause.
Writers live a sedentary lifestyle and sit for many hours, doing repetitive tasks in front of a screen, which is extremely dangerous for health. Writers are at risk of developing physical as well as mental health issues.
Here are five common health problems that you, as a writer, should look out for.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
This is a musculoskeletal disorder that is the most common amongst writers. You might be surprised why your muscles feel sore, even when you do not do a physically demanding job. For example, sitting in an uncomfortable position or chair and continuous repetitive motions negatively affect the muscles.
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to pain in the wrists. As you keep typing day in and day out and repetitive clicking and moving of the cursor continues, it is common to develop pain in the wrists. This is because when the wrists do repetitive tasks, the nerves weaken and get damaged. This leads to continuous pain in the wrists, especially at nighttime; in severe cases, your hands will even numb. But you can avoid this whole situation simply by using wrist supports. With a bit of online research, you can get the best wrist supports that you can use to prevent this harmful scenario.
2. Eyestrain and Headaches:
We live in a technologically and digitally advanced world with screens everywhere. You work on your laptop as a writer, staring at the screen. When you are done working, you pick up your phone and scroll through social media, staring at the screen. While having dinner, you turn on the TV, and the interesting show catches your attention, and there you are again, staring at the screen.
With so much exposure to electronic screens, the strain on the eyes increases. The blue rays from such screens harm the eyes and disrupt the sleeping pattern. Blue rays harm the retina, thus increasing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. If you spend too much time on the screen, you will experience migraines, headaches, sore and itchy eyes, blurred vision, teary or dry eyes, etc.
However, you can prevent these issues by reducing your screen time, placing the computer below your eye level, and wearing glasses that filter out the blue rays. Also, use the 20/20/20 rule, i.e., staring 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes. Simply put, take breaks to relax your eyes.
3. Writer’s Cramp:
It is also referred to as focal dystonia or hand cramp, which is something to watch seriously. Writer’s cramp refers to movement disorder in the arms, wrists, fingers, or hand. If you write for long periods, it means overusing your hands, arms, and forearms.
In the case of a simple writer’s cramp, you will feel pain when you are about to write, i.e., about to put your hands and arms back into the writing position. But if it gets severe, you will face difficulty performing other tasks like makeup, shaving, etc., referred to as dystonic writer’s cramp. Excessive poor wrist posture and excessive pen or smartphone hold lead to such pain.
Sometimes the fingers even fail to respond to a command, and the wrists will flex in this case. Also, for people who don’t use a pen and type instead, it can still happen and is called a typist’s cramp. Unfortunately, it’s also like a writer’s cramp. To date, there is no cure for this condition. So the best solution is to write for short periods or hire an assistant to divide your work if you have to write thousands of words daily.
It is no surprise that sitting for hours will lead you to gain unnecessary weight. As a writer, you don’t have to move much. You have to sit still to focus and be able to write. Especially for those writers who work from home, the situation is even worse. If you go to an office, there is a possibility of moving around like taking stairs, for example. But as a work-from-home writer, you move from your bed to your desk, which is a few inches away.
It might not look like a problem initially. Still, gradually your weight increases too much, putting you at risk of many health diseases like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, etc. Also, it will feel easy to order take-out instead of cooking and moving from your table. So all this unhealthy eating will deteriorate your health to a great degree.
Make it a habit of standing up from your desk and walking as much as possible. You can walk around your desk or take a quick walk around the block. Just move your body. Also, prepare meals in advance so that you will have healthy food options available, and there will be fewer chances of you eating unhealthy food.
5. Mental Health Problems:
Writing can seriously affect your mental health, too. The most common mental health-related issues in writers are stress and depression. Writing is a lonely profession, you have to focus on your work quietly, and you don’t get to converse with and socialize with your friends much. There are deadlines you must meet, final assignments you have to turn in, and so on. It becomes stressful. And once you get stressed, it leads to even more health complications like hypertension, heart conditions, etc. You feel exhausted; lose focus and energy at times.
It would help if you positively tackled the stress. Take breaks and chat with your friends. Start socializing more. Talk to a friend or family member that understands you well. Don’t allow the stress and loneliness to trap you in cycles of depression. You feel better when you talk to people; you become more creative by sharing ideas, etc. Thus interact with coworkers, friends, and people.
Writers face many health risks due to the nature of their work. Take a look at these five diseases that are very common amongst writers. Their symptoms can be minor in the beginning, but as time passes, the situation can get worse. Take necessary precautions so that you can prevent these issues from happening.
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