This Writer's Terrible Health

by - May 02, 2019

This writer talks honestly about how her poor health might just be killing her writing — and also herself. She shares the first few steps to changing.

Even before the writing started last year, I'm already aware of how unhealthy I am. But my terrible health became more apparent to me when I noticed my focus wavering just within half an hour into my writing. Every time. I'd be exhausted after an hour or two sitting at the computer. Any longer and I'll have a migraine. Recently, walking the short distance to the library had left me struggling for breath.

I need to stop ignoring this terrible state I'm in. If my body breaks further, so will my mind and soul. I'm horrified by the idea of being unable to write because of my poor health. Writing is the only thing I can do right now. So I'm finally keeping myself accountable here.

So here are the first few steps I'm taking:

Taking Five Powerful Breaks 

My version of breaks has always meant watching Youtube videos. Never moving away from the computer. Even having my meals there. Yup, crumbs and all on the keyboard.

So what am I changing?

No more Youtube. The breaks are the Salaah , the five obligatory daily prayers for every practicing Muslim.

I admit I'm not very good at keeping my daily prayers. But I'm getting there. Don’t judge me.

Recently, as I started to do my prayers properly, I experienced a clarity of mind and a much more peaceful heart afterwards. Shifting my focus to Allah swt for just twenty minutes five times a day has really helped. Now I approach my writing with a fresher perspective each time. Indeed, the best break ever!

Walking Outside To Energize And Socialize

In my family, I’m infamous for being a hermit. I don’t go outside much. I spend hours in my tiny writing room aka windowless store room. I use writing as an excuse not to go outside. Going out only meant the library or the ATMs.

The real reason? Social anxiety.

But enough!

I've not walked outside yet. But at least I've placed my shoes outside. I also have my walking clothes ready. In the next few days, I'll be walking along our corridor first. One step at a time.

Yes, that's how terrible my anxiety is. But I must change to be a good writer. After all, meeting more people means more new characters and story ideas!

Eating Healthy And Sleeping Right

Even as I can't give up my coffee yet, eating healthy has never proven more necessary now. My focus often wanes after eating junk food. It isn't a drastic change but I'm weaning off the snacks and choosing my meals better.

Meanwhile, for sleeping, as undeniably important, I admit to my terrible habits and hours.

I do have a set bedtime. Everyday at 10pm, I'd be ready for bed but for more than 3 hours, I'd be on the phone watching Youtube videos. Then finally, falling asleep without realizing it and waking up at 10am the next day. Yes, I've missed my Subh, the dawn prayer a few times.

What am I changing?

To just wake up every day at the same day. That is, 6am for Subh. For bedtime habits, that phone must be put aside, I know. Sleep is sleep. Perhaps, I should also wudhu before going to bed. The ablution might help to relax my senses then sleep will come easily. Gonna try that out tonight.

I'm far from being the lean mean machine of a writer but these are my first few steps. Look forward to more updates in the coming weeks — especially because Ramadhan is in a few days' time!

Are you also making things better for yourself? What have you done so far?

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