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Writing and Staying Healthy—Was Your Mother Right?

By Roxanne Rustand

Yes—she was right, about getting enough sleep, exercise and eating properly.  But how easy it is, to ignore that wisdom when there aren’t enough hours in the day to work on your writing career!

Whether you are an aspiring writer longing for a first sale, a busy author working on deadlines, or someone with responsibilities in a non-writing career—there’s also the obligations to family, church and other aspects of your life that take a lot of time.  It can be all too easy to forget your own welfare.

I sure did, going back when I was desperately longing for my own first sale and later, while keeping up with my book deadlines. As a mom of three with a master’s degree in nutrition and public health, and my career as a registered dietitian, I should have known better.

There were certainly no extra hours to carve from my normal day for writing, unless I stayed up late or awoke early, so that’s what I did from the very beginning—frequently staying up until two in the morning until I was falling asleep over my keyboard, or waking up early, while the house was still quiet.  Does that sound familiar to anyone here?   Those lost hours of sleep might have helped me complete two full manuscripts and bring me to my first book contracts, but they certainly took a toll–though for years I didn’t pay attention to just how serious that can be.  Those sedentary hours and hours of total focus at my computer didn’t do me any favors.

We all know how we feel if we’ve had the occasional poor night of sleep—tired, crabby, that loss of focus and diminished productivity.  But loss of sleep, stress and inactivity can lead to litany of even greater problems. Sleep deprivation can increase your stress hormones and resistance to your body’s natural insulin, which can contribute to weight gain….which in turn creates am even greater risk of heart disease, high blood pressure,  and risk for type 2 diabetes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19910503.)

Regular, inadequate sleep can impact your overall quality of life—from your immune system, mental abilities, coordination,  creativity and ability to concentrate,  to your longevity.  Quote:   “A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864873/) That website can lead you to many other important articles, as well.

I have never regretted my love of writing career, nor hours, months and years it took to reach my first book contracts.  But I do regret not taking better care of myself throughout the years and the  health situations that were exacerbated by those years or sleep deprivation and a sedentary life style.    Now, I’m (finally!) getting to the YMCA at least three or four times a week, and wear a Fitbit with a sleep tracker, so I can work harder at getting enough sleep—a challenge, for a night owl!  At my cardiologist’s insistence, I get out of my desk chair every hour and do some walking instead of sitting still for hours while lost in my fictional world.

So….how are you doing? Have you found it hard to fit everything into your life and still work at staying healthy?  What changes can you make?

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful Christmas!

USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand has written over thirty-five traditionally published novels and four indie novels.  She started writing secular fiction, but since 2007 has been happily focused on inspirational fiction and sweet (chaste) romance.  A Golden Heart winner in 1995, she received two RT Bookclub Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and has been nominated for an RT Bookclub Magazine Career Achievement Award.  She currently writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line, and is continuing with self-publishing. She and her husband live in the country with three horses, two goofy rescue dogs, and a half-dozen barn cats. Visit Roxanne on her website, Facebook, BookBub or Amazon.

 

 

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