Holistic Health Hacks for Writers: Kicking Joe to the Curb

This is the second post in a series of Holistic Health Hacks for Writers (or any desk jockey).  If you want to catch up, read the first post on how to combat living in an indoor cave here.

Quick review:

WRITING = BUTT IN CHAIR
BUTT IN CHAIR = BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH

In the first post, I mentioned the Holy Trinity to romance writers everywhere: coffee, chocolate, and wine.  Unfortunately, none of those are healthy for you in large quantities.  So, without further ado, let’s talk about how your good friend Joe is trapping you in a health-eroding cycle.

I haven't had my coffee yet, don't make me kill you.

Does this sound familiar?

Problem: Caffeine Dependence

Maybe you’re thinking right now, “Oh HELL NO – I’m not giving up coffee!!!  This chick is whack!” Hold your caffeine-fueled horses – I’ve got nothing against coffee.  It’s packed full of antioxidants and has been shown to be protective of your health…in moderation. Do I need to tell you why too much is bad?  It dehydrates you and taxes your adrenal glands (two little-known lumps on top of our kidneys that basically control our energy, blood sugar levels, and circadian rhythms).

The fact is, caffeine is a drug. It’s a neurological stimulant.  It works by blocking a “sleepy” receptor in your brain so that all your “awake” chemicals stay at unnaturally high levels. Just like with any other neuro-system drug, your brain senses this hiccup and finds a work-around to get things back in balance. The result is a higher tolerance, effects that have a shorter duration, and if you quit… RED ALERT! Anyone who wakes up (or wakes up next to) a morning zombie/grump can attest that withdrawls are not fun.  The good news is you CAN kick the caffeine crutch and even wake up alert and happy without a chemical assist.
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Holistic Health Hacks for Writers: Indoor Cave Dwelling

Writing is art.  It’s an endeavor of passion.

The thing about art and passion is, it’s easy to get carried away, for life to become imbalanced.  Queue the clichés about writers who drink like fish, smoke like chimneys, forget how to use their legs, or become anti-social.

When I first discovered how much I love writing, I went on a 10-month binge of staying up every other night to write (because I was working a full-time job and attending college during normal waking hours).  That led to: caffeine dependence > Red Bull addiction > digestive problems/insomnia > using alcohol as a sleep aid > anemia, weight gain, and a host of other problems.  Basically, I was a wreck!  It took me a year of prioritizing my health (and letting writing take a backseat) to re-align my system and get on the road to okay – another two years to get to thriving.  I wasn’t able to crank out 5K words a day once I was cooking healthy meals, working out, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

Even if you’re not going to the extremes that I did, the fact of the matter is:

writing = butt in chair
butt in chair = bad for your health

Factor in the holy trinity to all the writers I know (coffee, chocolate, and wine).  Add a cup of deadline anxiety and a dash of sleep deprivation, and it’s pretty easy to find yourself out of balance in one way or another.  You could self-medicate with MORE coffee, chocolate, and wine… or you could integrate some of my favorite healthy habits to make writing not only easier on your body, but actually GOOD for you.  These tips can help anyone who works a desk job too.  😉

This is the first post in a series of posts on Holistic Health Hacks for Writers.  I hope you find one or many of them useful.  I practice most of them on a regular basis.
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