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Are Bloggers Really Putting their Health at Risk?

bloggers-health.jpgToday Lea Woodward asks whether Bloggers are putting their health at risk and a number of ProBlogger readers add their pearls of wisdom on the topic.

Darren posted a timely response a few weeks ago to the NY Times article that talked about bloggers blogging until they drop.

Despite the fact that some readers felt the subject was over-hyped – and quite rightly pointed out that blogging isn’t necessarily any more or less stressful than many other jobs – you don’t have to be a medically-qualified doctor to notice that many bloggers have extremely unhealthy habits…erratic sleep patterns, junk-filled diets, overloading on caffeine, no exercise.

The previous “healthy blogging” posts I’ve posted here on Problogger have yielded some excellent advice and collective wisdom from readers. Here are some of those nuggets:

On balance:

Courtney
“I find that my blogging is a lot better when I maintain balance. That means I need to work out, eat right, and maintain healthy, social relationships. Once I let myself get out of whack, my blogging starts to suffer because I’m not as happy.”

Sheamus
“I’d file the ‘risk’ of ill-health to blogging alongside the scares surrounding people playing video games excessively; while the odd freak person might do it to a point where they get ill (or worse), for most (normal) folk it won’t even be an issue. It’s always a balance; everything is 50/50.”

David
“I think it’s all about balance. An addiction to anything is usually unhealthy, as it pushes other healthy aspects out of your life. It can be blogging or playing worlds of warcraft. You can even be addicted to exercise, for crying out loud.”

On what to eat & drink:

Lance
“I’d also like to stress the importance of staying away from processed foods and drinks. It is so easy to grab a can of cola and a bag of chips as a quick snack to curb the hunger, and quickly get back to the online networking frenzy. Give your body the nutrients it is begging for, not the processed chemically synthesised junk foods that have zero nutritional value!”

NoCaf4Me
“Tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks and chocolate share the same nerve toxin (stimulant), caffeine. Caffeine, which is readily released into the blood, triggers a powerful immune response that helps the body to counteract and eliminate this irritant. The toxic irritant stimulates the adrenal glands, and to some extent, the body’s many cells, to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream.”

Evan Hadkins
“If you battle to know what is healthy for you probably the best thing to do is keep a food diary. On one side of the page you record EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth. On the other side how you feel – you can use a scale 1 for great to 5 for poor to make it easier.”

On stress:

Foxnomad
“It’s better (for you and the people around you) to make it a business. Set hours for work and define your objectives. Ever since I began doing this a few months ago I’ve produced better quality posts. The extra free time also made my relationships with other people and commitments smoother…”

Tish
“If the content isn’t flowing freely from my head through my fingers, I need to do something else for awhile and go back later. I use the same “walk away” strategy when I become frustrated with the technology I’m trying to use. Sometimes I leave it for a couple of days and when I get back to it, things magically come together.”

JQK
“Stress can nip away at our health without our even realizing it. Being in a prolonged battle with an undefeatable opponent is among the worst of stressors. When a blog is allowed to be viewed as an ‘opponent’, to be conquered, it can be devastating, over time. I try to see it as a friend, a demanding one perhaps, but a friend nevertheless. A friend that I enjoy spending time with…on my terms. The key factor is enjoyment, when my blog turns on me, as it sometimes does, it is no longer enjoyable or healthy..it’s time to walk away…for awhile (guilt free).”

On exercise & posture:

Rainmaker
“For me, exercise is critical to clear thinking. I can get totally engrossed in what I’m writing for hours and days. One of the best things I do is instead of grabbing that mid-day caffeine, I take a brisk walk for about 30 minutes. The problem is dragging myself out of the chair to do it. The trick I learned is to set an alarm in my calendar for about 2pm. This does two things for me:

  1. I see it every time I look at the to-do list.. because, if it’s not there, I’ll totally forget to do it.
  2. It interrupts me with an alarm… AND I don’t turn off that alarm until I get up to walk (I may snooze it every 10 minutes for a couple of hours, but I won’t actually turn it OFF until I get up).

Melissa
“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.”

On healthy habits:

*Miss Universe
“If possible, blog by a window. The natural air that trickles in does wonders for your lungs. Also the natural light is more harmonious that just florescent or incandescent. If there is too much sun, just pull down the shades , you will notice a nice glow that even makes your screen look better…”

Frugal Dad
“Blogging, like anything else, requires the discipline to stand up and walk away every now and then. I’ve fallen into the trap of writing, commenting and researching for hours on end. I try to force myself to stand up and walk around the house, or go outside for a brief walk, or spend some time with my family as a small break.”

Sharon Sarmiento
“Two things I find to be health lifesavers are:

  1. Taking a break every hour or so, to get up, eat a little something, walk around, go outside, stretch
  2. Changing my work schedule with the seasons so that I have more time to play outdoors.

Right now I’m doing a Springtime schedule that gives me free time between 8:30am and evening (I work in the early morning and the evening so the day is free). Experimenting with unconventional schedules is something that most of us can do, and it really helps with morale too!”

There is a clear link to your health and your success as a problogger; you just might not notice that link until your health is gone.

Lea Woodward blogs about life, business and a lifestyle of permanent travel.

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. Farfield says:

    Nice tips. I think blogging is as bad for your health as any activity you need a computer for and that can be as captivating as blogging can be :)

    As I’m working at my computer every day there’s not a lot of difference between blogging and doing other work.

    I’m surprised that so many blogs keep writing about this.

  2. MrCooker says:

    Got to say I can imagine blogging being bad for your health, but then again. It’s all up to each and every bloggeer himself. You and you alone are the one that decides what you do with your health. If you think blogging is more important then your health, then by all means, blog till you die (sounds a bit wrong in this case)

    For me it’s not really an issue. Perhaps it has something to do with my blog? I’m risking everything except my health.

    Anyway for the hardcore bloggers out there..there is nothing as important as your health, so take good care of it.

  3. teamray says:

    bloggging becomes bad for your health when it reaches stage of being a job. those that get health problems from blogging faces stress from having blogging be their main source of income. so if they dont blog no money comes in. turnover rate for some blogging jobs can be high because so many are qualified tech is one of those sectors. performance anxiety is rough

  4. Ben says:

    I guess I talk a whole different approach to blogging than most people, since health, family and friends come before any blogging activities. And, if I don’t post for a while, I don’t “stress out” about it. Maybe if we all learned to relax a bit, then we would not have anyone dying from blogging.

  5. Frugal Dad says:

    Blogging is really no different than any other seated activity in terms of detriment to health. Office jobs that require long periods of sitting, typing, etc. usually lead to weight gain, circulatory issues, etc. I need to invent a treadmill blogging tool to keep us up and moving about as we post.

  6. Sangesh says:

    Sure, putting ones health @ risk will and does not help blogging at all. In my case I prefer to take time vacations so that I can recharge myself for blogging and other various works too. This will also help in regenerating new ideas as well and helps to keep your mind fresh.

  7. Sangesh says:

    Sure, putting ones health @ risk will and does not help blogging at all. In my case I prefer to take time vacations so that I can recharge myself for blogging and other various works too. This will also help in regenerating new ideas as well and helps to keep your mind fresh & alert too. Happy blogging to all.

  8. i’m not stressed but i’m guilty of not working out and eating a lot of junk foods. and smoking too, helps me think more.

  9. Simple Mom says:

    I can understand that stressful feeling of constantly needing to post, to stay updated with social media, in general, to be “out there” on the web – I’m guessing this a seed of some people’s poor lifestyle habits that lead to poor health.

    For me, it’s often helpful for me to remember WHY I blog. It’s my channel for being a work-from-home mom to contribute to my family’s finances on a part-time level. I’m not out there to be a six-figure blogger. Maybe one day that can be a goal of mine, but for now, it’s just not realistic with 2 small children & a spouse that works full-time.

    That helps curb that nagging feeling of always needing to be at the computer, and therefore, keeps my stress level low. I agree with the clocking in and out idea – I log in my day’s hours, then I get back to my main job – managing the home. The internet will still be there tomorrow.

  10. Good Article !

    I work on the web and maintain a blog that aids my business.

    I could work till I dropped but, then, I couldn’t enjoy the accrued benefits of working world-wide while sitting at home…

    ~ Alex

  11. Very good article for how many bloggers operate. I try really hard to get out and walk about an hour each day, not only is the exercise good, but it clears my mind and allows me to be better focused on the tasks at hand when I get back.

  12. Is it not the same as working as a desk monkey in an office for 8 hours a day?
    Or gamers or anything sedentary….you need to balance pc time with the real world…

  13. I think more than physical health issues, bloggers face more mental and emotional problems. Physical problems are common to any person who spends long hours in front of the computer. But the mental and emotional issues are unique to bloggers.

    Some of the mental/emotional issues include
    - the pressure to post frequently
    - hurt by negative criticism
    - inferiority complex
    - less social interaction between family and friends etc

  14. Agent 001 says:

    Ya we blogger do risk our health bringing good posts or articles for our visitors.See me I am still awake and its 12:00 here at night.
    But I do some exercises and take healthy foods. Healthy blogger can write healthy articles. I am student so not only I risk my health but also my studies. Its quite hard to manage you know.

  15. Alex says:

    While I’m a pretty healthy eater, get exercise and take lots of breaks, I’ve started developing a slight repetitive strain injury from typing. It’s particularly noticeable in my pinky fingers from constant use of the shift keys. I’m also starting to feel the several years of mouse-clicking in my index fingers. I alternate and use both left to right hands but now both hands are getting tired…

    Has anyone else had experience with this, or have any advice that would help prevent a worsening problem?

  16. Rachel says:

    Great thoughts and ideas. I completely agree it has to be about balance whether its blogging or any other type of business. I learned this the hard way last year. Thankfully I am here to be able to write about it. :) This is a great reminder. Even though I eat healthier now and live a more balanced life, I find myself slipping into old habits that push my limits.

  17. Color Expert says:

    Sure it is easy to get caught up in any activity online but the flip side is that when you work for yourself you have the ability to work your schedule so that you can fit in a work out or time to eat well.

    When I was in the corporate world I rarely had time for fitness and ended up eating junk because it was the thing that was most easily available when you were working late or skipping lunch.

    I’m much healthier in all ways…physically, mentally and emotionally…as a blogger/consultant than I ever was as a corporate executive.

    It all comes down to what is important to you and while I am still driven to make money I have learned that I can do that even better when my life is in balance and I’m feeling good about how I look and feel.

  18. I have a health and fitness blog, and right now I’m thinking maybe my niche should be bloggers!

    Any “job” you’re passionate about has the potential to consume you. Maybe it’s more of a health risk to be in a job that you’re NOT passionate about and where you CAN’T control your own income, etc. I believe they are two different kinds of stress.

    The American culture is focused on finding balance between work and play. I used to be involved with the Montessori Association and they teach that the right work IS play. Buddhism teaches that right livelihood is part of the “Eightfold Path” that leads to the end of suffering.

    Perhaps when you are enjoying the right career the line between work and play blurs a bit and so balance is more organic.

    In any event, no matter what job you have or what kind of stress you’re experiencing, making a commitment to regular exercise and good nutrition is key to energy and health.

  19. Kate at BFTM says:

    Darren, you do have a habit of slipping in brilliant tips in an off-handed kind of way. For instance, your mention of a “Springtime schedule” is an excellent one.

    Adjusting our lives and routines to take advantage of good weather is important not only for our bodies — getting out there and actually soaking up Vitamin D and sun rays, for instance — but also our minds. Avoiding year-round ruts helps stave off depression and is a great way to remind one’s self that there’s life away from the computer.

    (Oh, and for the record, I’m typing this while on my treadmill which is currently stationed in my sunroom since it’s such a nice day. Multi-tasking at it’s finest!)

  20. Ely says:

    I blogged because it helped me release stress. You know, there’s this venue, like a diary, where I could put down my thoughts. Turns out too much of it can be stressful as well.

  21. wendy says:

    Ah yes, sooner or later everything comes down to “stress”. Stress is the spice of life, according to Hans Selye. In other words, where would we be without a certain amount of stress in our lives? Probably bored.

    I started blogging as a way of giving a voice to my “stress”, my struggles being a Caregiver. Journaling, blogging, or writing does provide me with an avenue to express my stress. And in the meantime, I’ve “met” a whole blogging community. Something I’d never thought about.
    It turned my stress into fun!
    But, I can see how it can become addictive – so balance is really the key.

  22. Like any activity blogging can be over done. What you do when you aren’t blogging is what will determine how your health will suffer.
    It comes back to that saying, “All work and no play…”

  23. Bash Bosh says:

    I also don’t think that blogging is harm at any way for your health. In many cases it doesn’t take much time and can release you from everyday stress.

    I think that blogging is very useful, and it’s way better than time that many peoples spend playing “useless” online games.

  24. Sandy Naidu says:

    There is always a bit of health risk when you are working from home (especially if your work is all on computer)..If you are in an office building, you are usually tempted to take walk (be it for buying a sandwich or paying the bills whatever)….In a home office it is so tempting to keep working whenever you have spare time…

    Sandy

  25. Muscle Post says:

    These are some great tips. I think the important thing to take from all this is that obviously blogging is not in itself more likely to give you health problems. However, it may be easier to develop unhealthy habits if you are sitting at home on your computer all day.

    Maintain a balance. Set aside time to blog, like it is your part or full time job. Be sure to continue to eat right, exercise, and do other things that help you to alleviate stress. Blogging should be a great experience, not a burden.

  26. Dr. Bardou says:

    I agree. We, bloggers (and me too, and you Problogger), are putting our health ar risk. But it’s our favourite work and hobby. It’s our lifestyle. And we can’t do anything with it.

  27. Ryan McLean says:

    Great tips
    I don’t want to die by doing what I love (blogging) so this is really helpful. It will help me grow my financial blog for years to come (not die in the ground before my blog gets off the ground)

  28. As a blogger I can tell you that it can be very stessful sometimes and high stress is definately not good for your health.

  29. hah I did a post a couple weeks ago about workload and your health – kind of goes hand in hand.

    Great post tho as usual Darren – thx!

  30. Kathy C says:

    My website is a health site for health promotion and disease prevention. I am planning to add blogging. Why not use blogging for healthy reasons. Health mattters such as climate change, reducing carbon footprints need to be communicated. You are welcome to start your health community. Talking on behalf of health issues can be healthy.

  31. Sheamus says:

    Groan. I’ve just noticed the link to my site in Lea’s guest post is wrong. (In the “On Balance” part.) How incredibly frustrating! :|

    If anyone has the power to fix it, that’d be grand. Ta. :)

  32. Maynet says:

    I have a blog , but i dont have anough time to add new posts to my blog, and my health is good ;)

  33. Lida says:

    As a blogger I can tell you that it can be very stessful sometimes and high stress is definately not good for your health.