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How To Be A Happier, Healthier Blogger

158962685 7D88120C2A BCan Blogging Be a Health Hazard? If so, how can you prevent it happening to you? In this guest post Lea Woodward from Location Independent explores how to be a happier and healthier blogger.

Ok, so you might not think that blogging is a health hazard but it’s not so much the act of blogging itself that can cause health problems – it’s more to do with the fact that sitting for hours on end in front of your computer blogging or reading blogs, can play havoc with your health.

Some of the more common problems experienced by bloggers (and anyone who spends hours at a computer) are…

  • Eye strain – from tired eyes to those whose eyesight has deteriorated noticably from spending hours in front of the computer screen (perhaps similar to Darren’s problem a couple of years ago)
  • Structural or muscular problems – such as chronic neck ache, increased back ache and RSI.
  • Energy slumps – from needing several hours and multiple cups of coffee to get you going in the morning to those pesky mid-afternoon dips when all you feel like doing is taking a nap.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns – for bloggers who burn the midnight oil blogging late into the night or can’t get to sleep and spend time surfing the blogosphere into the wee small hours.

Whoever said blogging was good for you, eh?

So, if any of these problems sound familiar, here are some things you can try to help you become a happier and altogether healthier blogger:

  1. Always take time to look away from your computer screen regularly. There is a fantastic exercise from the field of natural vision correction which I personally use, called “palming”. It can help ease the chronic strain in your eyes and is great for relaxing tired eyes. Here’s a guide of how to do it.
  2. Regularly stretch your body if you spend long hours sitting at a desk. When some muscles become stronger and tighter than others from being in one position for hours at a time, this results in the postural imbalances that can cause rounded shoulders, hunch backs, tight hip flexors (the ones used when raising your knees up to your waist) and problems with tight lower back muscles. Aim to stretch any muscles that feel tight on a regular basis at intervals throughout the day – it may well be worth consulting a qualified trainer to design a proper stretching protocol for you, especially if you have back, neck, shoulder or other long term problems and chronic pain.
  3. Energy slumps are usually caused by blood sugar imbalances. Typically, too many carbs (bread, fruit, veg) at lunch in proportion to protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) intake can cause a spike in your blood sugar leading to a drop – the energy slump you feel. If you feel drowsy 1-2 hours after your meal, this could the likely cause. Try playing around with the ratio of your meals – so if you normally have a heavily carb-based lunch, try adding a bit more protein and see how you feel. Protein helps slow down the absorption of carbs and can help stabilise your blood sugar. Similarly, if you eat too much protein and feel sluggish, try adding a few more carbs to your meals.
  4. Sleep is crucial to good health. Numerous studies have shown how disruptions to sleep patterns can cause long term health problems – and these include going to bed too late, getting too little sleep and generally any disruption to your natural circadian rhythms (sleep patterns). An ideal rule of thumb is to aim to get to bed by 11pm every night to maximise the time your body has to regenerate and heal itself (typically between 11pm and 2am). Whilst the odd late night won’t hurt you, on a long term basis it can result in niggling health problems that never go away, an inability to lose weight, increased stress levels and impair the body’s ability to heal and recover.

As a former health coach and personal trainer, I can’t say I always follow my own rules (I’m writing this at 11pm!) but health is just one of those things…you don’t miss it until it’s gone; so get into some good habits now and see how much more of a successful blogger it makes you!

Lea Woodward is a location independent business coach & consultant. She runs her businesses whilst traveling the world and can currently be found sunning herself on the Caribbean island of Grenada. Next stop? Party time in Dubai. Read more about Lea on her personal blog, or find out more about her location independent lifestyle here.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Biofuelsimon says:

    I like to get glass of water every hour or so, giving me time to break from the screen, the chair and the subject. I also get to re hydrate. If you over hydrate and nature calls, I find that going to a washroom on a different floor helps stretch the break and helps with fitness.

  2. melissa says:

    What a great post! Thank you! The irony is that my own blog is a natural health blog with various fitness tips and healthy decision yet I find myself often getting hunched over my work space blogging and working and it is also good to be reminded that stretching and taking frequent breaks is key.

    What I’ve found helpful is having eye drops available so that I reduce dry eye while forcing my eyes to blink.

    For stretching I try to stop every hour; stand up and use a jump rope to stretch out my upper back and chest. I take the jump rope and extend the rope above my head at shoulder’s length width and slowly I rotate my shoulders bringing the rope behind my back so it’s even with my shoulder blades. This is an amazing stretch…it can be a tad painful if you are really stiff but it will help open up your chest muscles and corrects your posture.

    I picked up this move from my pilates instructor and it has helped me significantly and reduced lower and upper back and neck pain.

    Hope that helps you and fellow bloggers. :)

    http://healthybeings.blogspot.com

  3. I do yoga on a regular basis and it has helped me get rid of tension headaches that bothered me for years. Sometimes it’s important to think of quantity over quality. I’d rather lie down and shut my eyes for 15 minutes than force my brain to work when it’s tired.

    @Melissa – that is one of the best stretches ever. It helps relieve tension in the trapezius muscles, which are major “victims” of computer work. I do it with a wrapped up towel or a yoga strap.

  4. Gary says:

    Being an ex personal trainer my self I recognised a lot of the good advice here however it made me realise how easy it is to slip into bad habits and forget to take those all important breaks. I’ll be looking into a healthier blogging regime after reading this and will definitely be doing more stretching exercise.

  5. Chiropractors Directory says:

    I am deeply in love with every single piece of information you post here. Will be back often to read more updates!