PJ Sharon has some great tips about self care all writers need after spending time at the keyboards…
Ever wish you had a massage therapist on call for those times your knots have knots and your neck and back make you feel a hundred years old? Well, unless you’re a bestselling author making a six-figure paycheck, or you have a pile of disposable income stashed in your mattress, it’s likely you can’t afford weekly…or dare I say, daily massages. That’s why it’s up to each of us to find ways to take care of our bodies and keep them in optimal running condition.
Chronic neck and back pain seem to be part and parcel of being a writer. Prolonged sitting has become the “new smoking” and is wreaking havoc on our health. I’m here to share with all of you, dear readers, writers, desk jockeys and self-professed couch potatoes, my favorite self-care tools for writers. Of course, proper hydration, adequate sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are the best ways to nurture and maintain your body, mind, and spirit, but just in case you need a little extra help, try a few of these ideas.
First up and on the more expensive end is a standing desk. My husband gave me one for Christmas and it has changed my life! With my own chronic neck and back problems, my writing is often derailed by my inability to sit for more than thirty minutes. It has long been recommended that people get up and stretch every 30-45 minutes, but when you’re on a roll, it isn’t practical or productive to stifle the creative flow. A standing desk allows you to sit for short periods of time, and then stand as long as is comfortable. My VERIDESK is easy to adjust and even comes with a cushy mat and a special stool that allows me to lean back and take a load off my legs and feet for short periods of time, offering me multiple opportunities to check in with my body and change positions as needed. I have doubled my productivity with this revolutionary invention! Cost: About $800. Save your pennies and invest in your long-term health. It’s totally worth it!
My second favorite tool—and one that won’t break the bank—is a Theracane (aka, my Back Buddy). At a cost of about $30, this multi-use tool does the job of that massage therapist in working out those hard to reach knots along your shoulder blade, neck, or lower back. It even works on feet! It comes with instructions and is super easy to use once you get the hang of it. The trick is finding the spot that hurts, moderating the amount of pressure you’re using to shut off that trigger point, and adding a little range of motion to get in a bit deeper and release the tension without having to move the Theracane around or causing yourself more pain. For example, simply hook the Theracane over your shoulder and press the pointed knob GENTLY into one of those hard to reach knots. It only takes the weight of your hands on the “handles” (the bars that stick out on the top and bottom of the Theracane) to create adequate pressure. Once you find the spot, shrug and roll your shoulder in small circles or turn your head side to side slowly to “pin and stretch” the muscle until the trigger point dissipates. My Theracane sits next to my couch and I work on my neck and back while watching TV or relaxing. Of course, I also get a massage once a month!
Number three on my list is my foam roller. This has been a lifesaver at reducing sciatica and reversing poor postural adaptation. I use mine to roll out the piriformis (the gluteal muscle that often contributes to low back pain and sciatica), mobilize my thoracic spine (which often locks up due to prolonged sitting), and I lay on it lengthwise to stretch the front of my body and my pectoral muscles. There are some excellent You-Tube videos showing how to correctly use a foam roller. Cost: About $20
Number four on my list is for those of you who continue to find yourself hunched over your laptops on the couch or who want to write on the go but don’t want to suffer the consequences of poor ergonomics. I found this amazing lap desk that I now take everywhere when I travel with my laptop. It’s made by Yogibo and costs about $40. Yogibo has many great ideas for comfort, ergonomics and just plain fun. My Yogibo Max (which is like a giant bean bag chair but a hundred times better) is the only place I find myself completely pain free and comfortable. I sit in it to watch TV at night (yes, I watch too much television), and my grandkids LOVE it!
And finally, on my list of favorite self-care tools for writers is a yoga and meditation app from Yoga Journal. It’s only $2.99 and goes with you everywhere your phone, i-pad, or laptop takes you. It includes twenty-seven different sessions of varying difficulty, a pose dictionary, and detailed explanations of correct posture, alignment and benefits. There’s no excuse these days for not doing a little yoga or taking time to touch base with your body, so take a few deep breaths and show yourself some love!
Be well and keep doing what makes you happy.
Peace and blessings,
In addition to authoring award winning young adult novels, PJ Sharon owns ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy and personal training business in East Granby, CT. With over twenty-five years in the health and fitness industry, Ms. Sharon offers a multidisciplinary approach to wellness. Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle. (A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes), her debut non-fiction title, is a holistic living, self-help book, sure to motivate readers toward a more balanced and active lifestyle. As a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPFT), and Yoga Instructor, Ms. Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients and workshops. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Ms. Sharon also holds certifications as a trainer through the NFPT and teaches therapeutic yoga. A Black Belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, and former figure skating and power skating instructor, Ms. Sharon’s passion for holistic health and healing comes through in her writing—whether she is penning romantic and hopeful stories for teens or sharing her wisdom and experience with clients and workshop attendees. When she’s not writing, or spreading the love through her practice, she can be found kayaking in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and renovating an old farmhouse with the love of her life.
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Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle
(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)
A holistic living, self-help guide, sure to get you motivated and moving toward a more balanced and active lifestyle.
Amazon BUY LINK e-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017JL1E20
B&W Print Edition: $15.99Amazon:
Color Print Edition: 34.99