How does your art affect your body?
My last job required me to sit bent over a desk for hours, staring at a computer screen and moving little more than my fingers (while occasionally lifting up a mug of coffee).
I would then pack up, walk home and spend the remaining evening bent over my creative projects. It took about a year for the niggling pains to really kick in. At first I took no notice, but after a while the ache in my spine and stiff joints began to affect my creative output and I knew that I had to do something.
Since I left that particular job, I have been trying to repay my body for my sins against it. Inspired by the London Marathon and in honour of my dad who ran this race 22 years ago, I have begun a proper jogging routine as well as regular yoga sessions.
Already my back has massively improved and I am feeling loads more energetic. And now the sun is shining and the children are back at school, my runs have changed from puffed-out, red-faced torture to something I am beginning to enjoy.
If you feel that your art is affecting your body badly, then don’t wait for the problems to get worse. Make an effort to re balance your day and establish some new healthy habits. After all, your body is the vehicle of your art so you need to keep it in great shape. Here are a few ways you can begin …
Being lost in the flow or determined to hit your word count for the day may tempt you to miss meals, snack on junk or fuel yourself on endless mugs of coffee. You deserve to take regular breaks just as you would in any other work situation, so make sure you take them. Move away from your desk and prepare yourself a gorgeous breakfast or lunch with lots of fresh vegetables, salads and a glass of water. As writers and creators we need our brains to thrive, so nourish yourself of food rich in iron, phosphorous and B Vitamins. I recently read that B6 is great for overcoming writers’ block.
USE MOVEMENT TO TRIGGER CREATIVITY:
Get away from your desk, stretch and move about. Many writers use physical movement to trigger fresh bolts of creative energy. Sci-fi author Ray Bradbury would swim. Comedy writer Peter Vincent breaks his work up by doing some yoga stretching. Grab a skipping rope, do some star jumps, run around the garden! You’ll return to your desk feeling fresh, alive and full of motivation.
COMMIT TO EXERCISING REGUARLY:
Okay, so maybe you have never exercised in your life, but that doesn’t mean you should let your inner slob win. Within every human being there is an inner athlete just waiting to strut their stuff. Just start doing some sort of exercise. Walking or running are both great as they don’t require any expensive equipment. The fresh air, new landscapes and resulting endorphins will expand your thinking and make you feel great.
LOOK AFTER YOUR EYES:
If, like me, you spend a long time looking at a computer screen, you may find your eyes feeling sore or itchy. Try bathing them in a cooled herbal infusion or camomile. Alternatively, cucumber slices or diluted lavender oil on a cool damp cloth are also soothing when laid on closed eyelids.