Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Game Audio Professionals
Back in the 90's, I would lug my three-inch-thick laptop into coffeeshops. Others would stare at this "thick-top" in awe of the sleek design and sheer computational power. Today, every single coffee shop seems to have legions of laptopers working on school projects, work projects, social networking, dating sites or cat videos. I cannot lay claim to this phenomenon, but one thing is for sure - the "brick-top" is gone forever. Composers and sound designers, programmers, artists and developers are now forced into being techies. Every tool needed to create, arrange, mix, master and implement game audio is on a computer. The hours, days, weeks and decades now roll by in front of a screen. In fact, this very article is on a screen! @_@
Here's some tips for reducing screen time and improving health. I am not a nutritionist, trainer, scientist or doctor, nor do I play one on TV. We see these same health and wellness tips all over the place, but success does seem to require reinforcement for it to actually seep in. For self inspiration, it made sense to compile some key points. It would be cool is someone else reads it too and gets affected in a positive way.
1. Stop reading news on the computer. Read the newspaper and save your eyes. There is something therapeutic about turning a real page and reading from a tangible piece of paper. For music and audio news, simply sign up for a free copy of TapeOp, which features real world interviews from the top engineers, producers, musicians and artists as well as gear reviews. Get your favorite magazines and read books. What about social networking sites? We all need our #gameaudio fix, but just know when you are bored - make the decision to do something off-screen. Actual socializing would be a great choice. Join IGDA and attend the meetings
2. Walk. Humans are built for walking, but spend most of their time on their butts. We now sit in a chair all day, then walk twenty feet to our cars so we can sit again, in traffic. It's the root cause of nearly every health problem. There's nothing like a good hour long walk for instant health. Is your area too boring for a walk? Put on some music and get outside, it will work wonders for your attitude and overall health. Heck, try jogging too. The first couple minutes will be uncomfortable, but then you break through to a world of healthy endorphin and adrenaline flow.
3. Get lots of sleep. This is key, but many people think they can cheat nature and get by with six or less hours of sleep. We then brag about staying up all night for a face-melting computer session. Everyone is different, but we now know that eight or more hours of sleep is a major step in improving health. I go for 9 or 10 if possible and this extra time gives the body time to repair, recover and restore health. For deeper sleep, try and make the room as dark as possible. Studies show this to greatly affect quality and depth of sleep. Turn off the phone and all electronics. c
4 Drink Water. With sugar laden sodas around every corner, its easy to forget that water is essential to human life. Eight glasses a day is what doctors recommend for healthy living, but we shrug it off whilst slurping a Big Gulp. If you drink coffee, water is even more important, since coffee dehydrates the body. This works in tandem with walking and jogging. Your body is made of 75% water, so keep that in mind. We are not made of 75% Cherry Pepsi, so get it together and start avoiding all sugary crap.
5. Eat Real Good. Techies in front of a computer tend to snack a lot. Instead of artificial junk food, reach for something healthier, like a real apple. Eating a salad never seems to happen for me, so I make a power smoothy and seize the day. I'm now a huge fan of Tonic Alchemy, which has 91 ingredients sourced from the farthest reaches of this planet. There are others too, so head on down to the health food store and get healthy. I throw a scoop in the blender with half a banana, water, ice and a giant hunk of almond butter. It's quick and tastes like a milkshake, but packs a heavy punch of nutrition and chinese herbs for energy and immunity.
Take Breaks. Sure enough, whilst writing this very article, I became stagnant and started feeling like a lazy walrus. I then got up and walked on down the street for a bite to eat and drink. Although it was a short walk of about 4 blocks away, it completely changed my day. Now I'm back and writing this, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the screen. The positive shift from taking a break can work wonders for writers block, programmers block or game audio block. (For Your Health)