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  • Francine Beaton

Healthy Writers

Photos: Pexels/Canva unless otherwise specified

I haven't been the most active person in the world during the last few years. If you look at me, you wouldn't believe that I played netball well into my thirties, was an active jogger and swimmer but I had been. I exercised seven days a week, from aerobics, netball, jogging or dancing. Things had changed dramatically in my early thirties with job challenges and travelling. It got even worse after I had my daughter when I was 37 and in to my forties and I can only blame myself.


When I started writing, I could sometimes write for hours on end if nobody is bothering me. And even if my husband is at home, or even more so, I do even less. He will constantly bring me cups of tea and sandwiches, do the shopping and all the other household chores, so I can write. Which is great, of course, and I often am the envy of my fellow authors. The problem is that I then got even less exercise because I didn't have to walk up and down the stairs so many times to get tea. Without even noticing my weight shot up even more than it had been, and I started to suffer from high blood pressure, back pain and all the other kinds of aches and pains associated with a sedentary life.


One day I realised I needed to do something otherwise I won't see my next book being published. So, I started walking. Not far, not fast, but each day I did a bit more. Later on, instead of stress-eating when my WIP frustrated me, I walked. I lived in a townhouse complex and the gate was about three to four hundred metres from our door. I walked that stretch up and down a few times and at the end I figured out my issues with the WIP - and got exercise.


I know, it is not much but it works for me.


Unfortunately, exercise at the moment is limited due to COVID-19 lockdown here in South Africa. I'm at my sister's and we worked out that if we walk up and down her driveway sixteen times, we will walk one kilometre. Yep, it is a short driveway and it can become very boring. We try to make it fun but it is still boring.


Exercise is not the only issue we have as writers. We often have too much coffee, especially when we're on a deadline. We may celebrate too much when we have success. Our minds keep too busy with our WIPs then we can't sleep properly.


We need to find ways to relax. The picture above may be deceiving. No, I don't do Yoga. I tried, but I lack that balancing thing. And believe me, I tried.


I read (some times, when I'm not busy with a new manuscript, which doesn't happen very often). I paint, and I find that either very frustrating or very therapeutic. I love photography, so I will go for a walk with my camera or these days for safety sake, just with my phone.


The important thing, whatever you do, is to find a way to switch off and relax, taking your mind and your body away from your work. Watch a movie. Take a long, candlelit bath. Meditate. Do something different from the norm. Which in my case will probably be cooking!


Especially now, when we worry about the virus and those around us, we need something to relax.


Stay healthy


Until next time


Francine


PS. I haven't read it yet, but I see that Joanne Penn has a book out called Healthy Writers. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/healthy-writer/

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