We all know the importance of self-care and focusing on our physical and mental health. But what does this mean for a materials writer? And where can we start?

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK recognises five actions that we need to focus on, in terms of wellbeing. These are based on research findings so are worth using as a starting point when we consider our wellbeing specifically as materials writers.

Connect with other people

Lots of freelance writers spend a lot of time alone but having a social life is key to our mental health for emotional support and to enjoy a sense of belonging. This doesn’t have to mean going out to parties and events, of course. It’s all about meaningful connections. Face to face meet-ups are great, of course but we can also organise social get togethers online. We can meet up with friends, colleagues or family members. The Society of Authors in the UK organises free online events for members and non-members called ‘Afternoon tea with …’ They are an opportunity to mix with people in a relaxed format, to listen, ask questions and share personal experiences.

Be physically active

The very nature of a materials writer’s work means that we tend to spend long hours every day sitting in front of a computer. It’s important to make time for physical exercise, not only for physical health and fitness but for the positive effects on your mood and self-esteem. Why not schedule exercise into your diary? Do whatever works for you but try to do it regularly. There are things you can do in your working hours too. Take regular breaks to walk around the room and stretch your limbs. If you sometimes forget to take breaks, try setting an alarm as a reminder.

Learn new skills

Besides boosting self-confidence and helping create a sense of purpose, learning new skills as a materials writer can place you in a better position regarding work opportunities. Why not look into the CPD (Continued Professional Development) courses available? Have you thought of training to use a digital authoring tool? Or perhaps an editing course or a course on making promotional videos would open more doors for you? What about starting a blog? You can also learn a skill that is completely unrelated to your work, of course. Browse through the options until something sparks your interest.

Give to others

Research has shown that acts of kindness can help your mental wellbeing by instilling a sense of purpose. There are many ways that you can give back as a materials writer. You might consider giving a webinar or creating some materials for an organisation who might otherwise be unable to afford to pay for them. You could volunteer on a mentoring scheme or offer to help a colleague by piloting and giving feedback on materials they have created. Be careful not to agree to too much ‘free work’ though. That would be counter-productive.

Pay attention to the present moment  

There are many ways you can pay attention to the present moment and focus on your thoughts, your body or the immediate world around you. As a materials writer one thing we need to be aware of is the way we position ourselves within our workspace. Spend some time reading up on ergonomics and check to see whether your set up is the best it can be. While you might not be suffering the consequences of bad posture now, prolonged mis-use of a mouse or a badly positioned chair can have long-lasting negative consequences that could prevent you from working effectively later on.

We’d love to hear what you think:

What do you do to improve your wellbeing?

What new actions can you do to improve your wellbeing further?

© Writing ELT Materials Limited 2024

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Reference

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/five-steps-to-mental-wellbeing