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How to Overcome RSI While Building Your Dream Writing Career

How to Overcome RSI While Building Your Dream Writing Career

RSI. Repetitive Strain Injuries.

The worst nightmare of anyone who uses a computer for longer than four hours every day without taking proper breaks.

Writers are no different. If it’s not their dry eyes or stiff neck, then it’s illnesses with sexy names: tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve entrapment syndromes, and so on. These are only a few of the many chronic health issues writers face while making a living and delivering on their promises to clients.

The pain and discomfort that come along are anything but sexy. RSI can be extremely debilitating. It can reach the point where voice-to-text software is the only way to help them do their job. Physical therapy is needed to treat the effects and avoid a roaring relapse.

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Unless you pay attention to your work habits, RSI won’t spare you. Your body will respond, even though not immediately, and you’ve got to listen to it.

Use an Ergonomic Mouse

We all know we have to take breaks when we use the computer and yet we get all caught up in our work, thinking, planning, talking on the phone while we keep holding on to the mouse. We forget we have to simply let go of it and rest the arm and hand. Keeping the hand passively on the mouse puts nearly the same amount of strain on your muscles as in the active state, slowly damaging them.

An ergonomic mouse with a vibrating sensor will detect when you’re passively holding the mouse for longer than 10 seconds. It then vibrates gently, prompting you to take your hand off and rest your arm and shoulder. When you need it again, you simply pick it up and continue to use it. You’ll take a lot of micro breaks and after a while, it just becomes a habit.

Sit in a Correct Posture

Sitting in a bad posture is also a major contributor to RSI. Make sure you sit up straight even if you’re tempted to slouch or lean forward. An ergonomic desk accompanied by an equally ergonomic chair will help you sit and work comfortably. Pay attention also to your work environment. A fresh air flow that’s neither too cold nor too warm, as well as proper lighting that doesn’t shine on your computer screen, are highly recommended.

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Take Breaks

Proper breaks can be used in so many constructive ways. Do take advantage of them!

Set a timer to keep you focused and to force you to take breaks.

Run in place, do push-ups or sit-ups. Move around and have a glass of water.

If you prefer to still sit at your desk, do some simple mobility exercises for your hands and wrists.

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If using EyeDefender, by default you can rest your eyes for two minutes after working non-stop for 45 minutes. You also have the option to customize the interval between breaks as well as the break duration.

You can also meditate sitting or lying down. Better yet, try walking meditation.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you regularly keep yourself in motion or simply relax.

Don’t Ignore the Power of Sun

Whenever you get the chance, expose your body to the sun, at least for short periods of time. To be on the safe side, use sunscreen with high SPF. If you live in a humid and cold climate where you’re mostly used to rain, which only aggravates your symptoms, you know what I mean by craving sunshine. The sun’s warmth on your skin will feel like balm for the soul. Apart from that, sun bathing also helps you build your immune system and treat vitamin D deficiency.

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Give your muscles time to rest and heal. Listen to what your body tells you.

Avoid putting pressure on yourself and you’ll be the healthiest, most prolific and inspired writer that you want to be.

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Anca Dumitru

Freelance Writer & Content Strategist

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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