Health, Fitness, and Productive Writing

I have mentioned, in varying levels of detail, that this year holds some unusual challenges for me and that my life will be fairly chaotic in the coming months. What I did not predict, however, is that I would have my attention pulled away so significantly by health concerns. I did not particularly need a reminder that health and fitness are important, but events in the past few weeks have certainly served to underscore that. Luckily, and I can be truly thankful for this, nothing has been particularly serious. The incidents that have cropped up in the past month have been just disruptive enough to make me more wary of larger problems, as well as the need to proactively take better care of myself. I am sharing this on my blog not to simply talk about myself, though. I am mentioning it here to encourage other writers (and everyone, really) to also take a moment to consider what they are doing to stay healthy and fit.

One unpleasant surprise for me in the past few weeks was experiencing the most common form of vertigo, which is known as BPPV. That stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and, curiously, it is caused by out-of-place "stones" (crystals) in the inner ear, which interferes with the way our bodies detect motion and position. When I first heard about the condition from a relative, I will admit that I was skeptical. If you are feeling equally skeptical, here's a link with more information. Luckily, I was able to get the condition under control by myself without seeing a doctor. One of my siblings pointed me toward a handout online that described the Epley maneuver which I could do at home. I think a doctor would have had better results since I have not completely resolved the problem, but at least I am not falling down. :D (That only happened once, and I was somewhat prepared for it, so I was uninjured.)

Another distraction in the past month was actually not about my health but that of a family member. Several years ago they were commuting to work by bicycle and an uninsured driver ran a red light and hit them, nearly killing them. Without going into their personal details, it was extremely disruptive and entirely without warning. It also caused lasting damage, including some for which they needed to undergo surgery this month. I stayed with them for a few days after surgery to help adjust to the limitations imposed by the recovery process. While this surgery was planned weeks in advance, the unplanned nature of the original cause was not lost on me.

There were other health-related things in recent weeks that added even more chaos to the expected disruptions, but there's no need to go through a laundry list of those things. The important thing for me was to recognize how important it is, if I want to be productive, to ensure my body is up to the task.

When our bodies fail us, our productivity will go out the window. There are many things we can do to avoid or delay that, though. Getting up and moving instead of staying at the desk for long hours, eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, respecting our need for sleep, and similar self-care measures might sound like nagging from a doctor, but it's also about protecting our ability to get work done. As I look back over a frustratingly unproductive month, I know I need to make changes so that my body serves my productivity instead of undermining it. I've already started (slowly) adding time on our elliptical, which for months was "folded up" and inconvenient to use. I also need to make more adjustments in diet, sleep patterns, and more.

If you have found ways to maintain or improve your health while remaining productive, feel free to leave a comment below.

Image based on photo by ronnieb on morgueFile.com. Used under license.