Another thing I had to work on in November was controlling my thoughts and not dwelling on the negative. Time and time again over the month the thought would pop into my head “What if your wrists are permaently damaged? What if you can’t go back to writing full time?”
As a writer who enjoys typing immensely and has always had my thoughts come to me best with a keyboard beneath my flying fingers, that thought is a really bad one. Writing and typing are huge, huge, huge parts of my life. I had to decide that I would refuse to ponder that thought more than absolutely necessary and then I had to stick to that decision even when my tired brain would pipe up with “But, but, but…” and then try to spew scary situations at me when I was too tired to shut them out.
It was a hard choice to stick to, but I did for the most part. That meant cutting off my brain’s theatrical presentations more than once and then steadfastly changing my inner dialog to a new, and more profitable, subject.
In addition to keeping the right mindset, I also worked on making physical changes that would benefit my whole body, but especially my wrists, hands, arms, shoulders and neck. I looked up exercises, the correct body posture to have while working on a computer, and took a break from my extreme writing and crocheting habits. I went to the chiropractor and was basically told to take better care of myself because I was messing myself up by with too much bending over a computer and not enough stretching. And, I also had a fellow writer email me with various suggestions of things that would help out and worked at going through his list.
Last month at this time I was sitting curled up on a sagging and comfortable chair, typing with my laptop in front of me on my laptable with my head constantly bent downward. I would work for hours without a break and throughly enjoyed it until my upper body would ache and groan too much from being bent in an unnatural position for way too long at once. I was at the point where I had an almost-constant headache and my shoulders ached continually.
This morning I’m sitting at a folding table with my laptop at eye level and a new mouse and keyboard that are designed to help reduce strain. Plus, since they are separate from the laptop I’m able to have them at the right height so I don’t have to hold my arms and hands at an unnatural position.
I’m still not doing a ton of writing at this time, but when I do I’m determined to take breaks to walk around and stretch quite often, even if it does interrupt my hours of sitting and typing that I’m used to. My feet are flat on the floor which is a rather new experience for me. I hardly ever sit with my feet flat on the floor. It’s what people said to do when I was researching the correct posture for a writer, so that’s what I’m doing.
Overall my set up is completely different and it’s a bit hard to get used to. I’ve been writing from a comfy living-room style chair for three years now (ever since I did my first NaNo) and to change back to a desk (or table) is a bit uncomfortable. It will be worth it though, and I’m so thankful that I know to make these changes now instead of waiting five more years when I’ve done even more to mess up my body.
If you spend a lot of time working at a computer, I suggest you look into ways you can reduce stress on your body and optimize that in your life now, instead of waiting until you run into a problem like I did. Our bodies are important because, let’s face it, we only get one of them. Plus Christians are commanded to take care of their bodies because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Happy December, y’all! I have a wonderful and crazy and amazing week at my non-writing job and I’m throughly looking forward to it. I hope y’all have a great week as well.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get my new writing set-up in place!