To Your Health

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By Linda W. Yezak

Yesterday, I couldn’t get my eyes to focus. I was trying to read something on the computer screen and none of the three lenses on my trifocals would make the print clear for me. If I brought the laptop a few inches from my nose or used the commands to make the print larger, I could see okay, but that didn’t explain why I was having trouble when just the day before my eyes were fine. Another time, I glanced up from my computer and had the oddest sensation while looking at a 3D world. My depth perception had gone wonky for some reason. The sensation didn’t last long, but it was a definite warning.

Two things my doctor recommends, besides taking breaks to rest my eyes, are Ocuvite eye-health supplements and Systane drops, both of which can be found anywhere over-the-counter drugs are sold. Systane has a line of products of different strengths, from simple drops to the “restorative formula” lubricants. If your eyes are dry and scratchy, this stuff is like magic. If it doesn’t work, then you’d better go to a doctor and get something prescription strength.

Aside from working so long my eyes get tired, I also forget to move around periodically. A friend insists on getting up to stretch every fifteen minutes and taking a walk every couple of hours. I balk at having to stop my flow every fifteen minutes, so in the alternative, I often write standing up.

I imagine you’ve seen advertisements of the desks that raise and lower, and you have heard how much more energizing it is not to sit for so long. The desks aren’t really expensive, but I’ve found that my kitchen counter is about the right height for me. I also find that, if I concentrate hard enough on what I’m doing, I don’t take advantage of the proximity to my Oreos. On the other hand, if those Oreos are calling me, it’s time to take a walk.

Last, but not least, wrist care. Back in the dark ages, before computers and electric typewriters, I had a typing teacher who would swat our hands if we allowed our wrists to drop. Supposed to keep them straight, if for no other reason than to prevent the bad memories of ruler-swats forty years later. But truth of the matter is that keeping your wrists straight prevents Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I’ve noticed writers who allow their wrists to drop and rest on the computer, and if that’s your propensity, you need one of those special wrist pads to keep them level.

Still, I find my wrists getting sore not because I don’t keep them straight, but because my keyboard is smaller, requiring me to turn my hands at an odd angle. That may just be my problem, but if it’s yours too, this will help: wintergreen oil.

Yeah, it surprised me too. I used to bathe my wrists in Aspercreme, which helped. But the other day, I tried wintergreen based on something I’d heard. Twenty drops in a 10-ml vial of carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil, then spread on the wrists. Stopped the pain instantly. According to WebMD, “Wintergreen leaf contains an aspirin-like chemical that might reduce pain, swelling, and fever,” and it’s good for “achy joints, sore muscles, and lower back pain.” Doesn’t last, so once you start hurting, it’s time to take a serious break or prepare to keep redosing every few hours. Some of the essential oil companies, like Young Living, have pain relief blends already made up. May be worth trying.

We writers don’t have high-risk jobs, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks. Take care of yourselves.

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Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing. Her latest book, Ride to the Altar, releases next month.



Comments 3

  1. This was a useful post. Eye drops are a must for me now as I have the tiny beginnings of a cataract, I find moving to the couch or changing the position of the laptop as I type helps. I had several acupuncture treatments for my carpal tunnel. Awesome! But the key was the hand and wrist exercises she gave me. They work wonders.
    Doing them every day is ideal. But I don’t always. If you don’t get up and walk you can also develop sciatica. A painful nerve ache that runs from your hip down your leg. Physical Therapy clears that up. And continuing the daily exercises keeps it away.
    Walking and other movements as you say are absolutely unavoidable if you want to maintain maximum productivity as you write.

  2. Linda, I love Young Living and am definitely going to try to wintergreen formula. I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand and am hoping to avoid having problems with the left. Thank you for your article.

  3. Linda, thank you for the Nudge I Needed! As I spend more time at the computer, my eyes have been going blurry and wonky just as you describe. And like you, I don’t want to be bothered taking breaks. There’ll be some changes made starting today. 🙂

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