by J.M. Phillippe
I’ve been hitting the keyboard hard lately, and even though I have adjusted my set up with cushions and things like that, there is still no escaping the fact that extended time writing is hard on the body.
Healthy body movement is one of the things I struggle with most. I have a tendency to treat my body like a last minute project — I suddenly feel a pain or ache and then break out ALL the moves I should have been doing all along, as though one marathon session of stretching will undo months’ worth of damage.
So, this is as much about helping me take accountability as it is to help anyone else with their own stretching goals. My goal is not to do ALL the stretches, but to start by picking five I will attempt to integrate into my daily life.
Fortunately, there are a ton of articles and videos about the best kinds of stretches for people who spend too much time sitting in front of computers. For writers, of particular note are things to help maintain hand health and back health, since both take a beating with lots of writing.
This article talks about carpal tunnel signs, symptoms, and prevention: https://thebodymechanic.com/active-release-technique-blog/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/
And this article has great stretches to do in a (sturdy) office chair, with gifs on how each one should look: https://www.healthline.com/health/deskercise#head-and-shoulders
To be a good writer is to be a whole person, and I have to regularly remind myself that means taking care of my body as much as my imagination.
Here’s to stretching for writer health!
J.M. Phillippe is the author of Perfect Likeness and the short story The Sight. She has lived in the deserts of California, the suburbs of Seattle, and the mad rush of New York City. She works as a clinical social worker in Brooklyn, New York and spends her free time binge-watching quality TV, drinking cider with amazing friends, and learning the art of radical self-love, one day at a time