by Susan K. Stewart
Editing is a sedentary activity. Many of us spend four to five hours at our desks each day. We have to make conscious decisions to take care of ourselves.
Our well-being goes beyond our physical health. We also need to care for our emotional and spiritual health. If any of these three are lacking, we aren’t at our best mentally to attend the details of editing. Healthy mind, soul, and body are achieved with the same three components: exercise, diet, and rest. Let’s explore each one.
Some editors and writers set a timer to remember to get up and move. Walking to the refrigerator or finding our cell phone to answer text messages shouldn’t be considered exercise. Sorry. I’m talking about a real exercise routine.
We may have had to change our exercise routines due to COVID restrictions. For example, the restrictions at my gym make it difficult to get my workout. But working our muscles and getting our hearts pumping can still be accomplished. A friend of mine meets with her exercise group through Facebook Live. She says it’s not the same as being together in one place, but they are still holding each other accountable.
Vigorous activity not only keeps the muscles toned and the heart pumping, it also releases endorphins needed for a positive outlook. And a brighter outlook helps us to think more clearly.
Low-carb/high-carb. Meat/no meat. Gluten free/gluten fine. There are as many diet philosophies as there are foods. Your body knows best. But there’s little argument about the types of foods we should eat. Fruits, vegetables, and protein are the basics of a good diet. The closer to the source (fresh vs. canned, whole vs. processed), the more nutritious the food. Processed foods have all kinds have additives, including hidden sugars and the processing cooks out many of the nutrients of food.
How does a good diet help us? Healthy foods promote healthy brains, which then think better. While comfort foods may seem to help when times are hard, consistent healthy eating keeps us ready for whatever may come our way—a big editing job or family emergency.
As at-home workers, it’s tempting to work more hours, even into the evening during our usual resting time. Have you done this? Then, the next morning looked at what you’ve done and found it less than optimal?
When we encroach into our resting time, we rob our bodies of valuable time to renew. Resting allows time for healing and rejuvenation. In addition to daily rest, we also need at least one full day of rest each week. If God can take a day off, so can we.
Another pitfall of working from home is the temptation to work either too much or not enough. Working too much can deplete our systems of vital energy needed to function at our best. Working too little can be as problematic. When we succumb to procrastination, we often find ourselves in the stressful situation of trying to catch up to meet a deadline. The vicious cycle begins—work longer hours, skip exercising, eat quick meals at our desk. Our bodies suffer; our work suffers.
When our bodies are functioning well, our emotions will be in balance. We will be able to handle even the hard days better.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, … You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23–24 ESV). Our jobs may not be in the limelight, but we have the same mandate as the best-selling author: work heartily (from the heart) for the Lord. We are serving him. To do this we need to be our best—body, mind, and soul.
Susan K. Stewart, Nonfiction Managing Editor with Elk Lake Publishing, teaches, writes, and edits nonfiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen, Preschool: At What Cost?, Harried Homeschoolers Handbook, and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. Her latest book, Donkey Devos: Listening to Your Donkey When God Speaks is scheduled to be released spring 2021. You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.