Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge - Day 4
In September 2001 two years after my first book, Creative Acts of Healing: after a baby dies was published, my right arm went on strike. An intense pain from fingertips to shoulder —a sensation I likened to, but knew was not a stroke— forced me to carry my arm around on a pillow. Cooing, "I'm so sorry," I stroked my fingers, wrist, forearm and biceps. My physical therapist said I'd done to much, worked too hard on too many things. Between stretching of large canvases, painting, cutting mats, pruning fruit trees, weeding, cooking, cleaning and writing I had worn out my poor arm.
The verdict: Rest.
This was relatively easy, since I couldn't even hold a lock of my hair between forefinger and thumb. Learning to use my left hand for tasks normally performed with the right turned out to be possible. For a while I typed with only one hand, and learned not to delete, but highlight, cut and move/paste instead, to save time and energy.
Of all my activities typing was the least harmful. Adjusted armrests and a lumbar pillow helped with the correct ergonomic position, a splint kept my wrist aligned. I was off to a good start, yet slowly but steadily I was turning into the office version of a couch potato. Writers joke amongst themselves that they need to apply glue to their seats to get a project done. Glued to my seat I was. Staring at the monitor day in day out, I discovered my thighs were turning to pudding.
A year and a half ago, I started working out with a personal trainer, and eleven years after my arm went on strike, I feel more fit, and stronger than I did before that time. Remembering what happened back then in 2001, is a reminder to take care of myself. Working too hard on too many things will wear out the best of us.
What do you do to stay fit while writing?
This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License