Today 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:
“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.”
“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.”
“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:
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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…”
“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.”
“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:
“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:
- 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.
- 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).
“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:
“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…”
“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.”
“Two things I find to be health lifesavers are:
- Taking a break every hour or so, to get up, eat a little something, walk around, go outside, stretch
- 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.