Healthy Streaming: Stay Healthy as a Full-Time Streamer

With a half of million streamers hosted on Twitch every day, it becomes easier to stand out and gain popularity as a full-time streamer. A strict schedule and amount of time you spend on streaming are those factors that increase your chances of being successful on Twitch. But, how to stay active and well-being with such sedentary life and pressure? Malnutrition, malposture, sleep deprivation, visual loop, and other health concerns are the most frequent companions of full-time streamers. Below, we suggest some tips to help you stay more healthy and sporty regardless of how many hours per day you stream.

#1. Be Aware of the Stress

It’s not that common to say that the health of full-time streamers is often sacrificed. The majority of articles about successful streaming encourage you to stream as much as possible and always be fun and happy. But, only few will tell you about difficulties and health problems that many streamers face. Like that one announcing the death of 35-year old streamer “Poshybrid” during 24-hour marathon stream. This incident has Impressed the streaming community giving rise to big debates and awareness of health issues. So, if you still wear rose-tinted glasses and think that full-time streaming is fun and easy, you’re probably an amateur. Streaming all days is not possible without physical stress and sitting for prolonged periods. Many streamers put all eggs in one basket entirely devoting yourself into Twitch streaming. Eventually, most of them hit a wall and find themselves depressed and defeated. To avoid untimely burnt-out, you should critically evaluate your state and physical abilities. When streaming, don’t pretend to be somebody else. If in reality you’re a chill and quiet person, don’t become loud and full of memes when you’re playing Fortnite. Overacting is very exhausting. To stay well-being and harmonious, get to know yourself and your limits. Find out your own ways to recharge the batteries and prevent exhaustion. Further tips will help you stay healthy and motivated. Look at the most common symptoms of burnt-out by Ashnichrist:

#2. Drink More Water

A recommendation to drink approximately 2 liters of pure water during the day to stay healthy is very general. The amount of water you should drink depends on your age, weight, style of life and physical activity. But, this fact doesn’t diminish the importance of staying hydrated while streaming. That is why, before starting your broadcast have a bottle or glass of water close to you. The more water you drink, the more often you will get up to go to the bathroom or refill the glass with water, thus stretching your legs. You can also drink tea and other beverages, but they won’t refresh you and shouldn’t be included in those liters. If you always forget about drinking water, download one of the numerous water/hydration calculator apps or use the Stay Hydrated Bot to remind you about the necessity to drink more water.

#3. Eat Well

Don’t wait until you get superhungry. Instead, try to schedule your meals. Getting nutritious food makes you feel energetic and fuels you during long streaming sessions. Make sure that you have eaten enough well-balanced food to maintain your brain activity before your broadcast. Plan healthy snacks and have breaks every 2-3 hours. In spite of sitting for a long time, you spend a lot of calories because you’re multitasking, interacting and concentrating your attention. The common food of all gamers include Red Bull, chips, cookies - products with a lot of sugar, fat and salt. However, if you want to stay healthy you should limit such foods in your diet. Consume more fiber: vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts. Serve a limited amount of food in a plate or a bowl, instead of eating all chips from the package.

#4. Plan Your Breaks

For many of us planning may sound boring, but it’s very important. Planning helps achieve more goals and maintain your body in a good state. Instead of using all free time for streaming, try to elaborate a wise schedule that will include streaming sessions and breaks. Imagine, if you want to reach new level in games like CS:GO, what would you do? Continue to endlessly play as you used to? Or set a definite goal for each game to improve your skills, change tactics, like professional gamers do? The same thing happens with streaming: without a plan, you will stream chaotically and get tired quickly. First, decide for how long you intend to play, for instance, “Today, I will play 3 hours from 6:00 to 9:00 AM”. According to the recent studies, it’s enough to walk during 5-10 minutes after sitting 1 hour to prevent blood pooling. If based on this theory, your schedule should look like this: “6:00-6:50 AM Gaming, 6:50-7:00 - Break, 7:00-7:50 Gaming, 7:50-8:00 Break, 9:00 the end of stream”. If you play competitive games, try to make breaks after every match you finish. With other casual games you can do it any time you wish. For professional full-time streamers that often stream for 8 hours per day, we would recommend to make longer breaks (30 minutes) every 3-4 hours. Use this time to do some physical exercises, take a walk, refresh your mind.

#5. Don’t Neglect Physical Activity

In our developed world chair-living becomes a norm. Indeed, sitting is not bad, but in its excess it can be harmful and addictive. In order to regenerate your body needs motion. Sitting for a prolonged period with tension in moving wrists, forearms and hands is a big stress for your organism. The longer you sit without changing position, the more negatively you affect your overall health.  That is why, there are so many studies all over the world that aim to elaborate a new model of working for all who have to sit all day long. For instance, adjustable desks that allow you to switch between sitting and standing, “walking meetings” that lately become more popular among office workers. At home, you can also break the pattern and include more physical activity into your sitting live of a streamer. Healthy streaming supposes making regular exercises during the day: you can lift weights, walk on the treadmill, do yoga, etc. Breaks are necessary to give your hands and fingers some rest. Rolling your shoulders and stretching your fingers reduce the chance of having the repetitive stress injury. If you can’t exercise between streaming sessions, try to schedule some physical activity on your rest days: sportshall, walking, hiking, etc. If you forget to take rest during the stream, set reminders with the help of Moobot or ask your audience to remind you to take a break.  For more inspiration, look at RAWRsquared Twitch account the guy managed to combine his daily cardio exercises and gameplay. Initially, he started the initiative with intention to lose some weight, but now sport is an integral part of his life. Every hour of gaming (the streamer loves different games from RPGs to fighting), RAWRsquared dedicates 10 minutes to do some sort of physical activity. The streamer provides a beginner fitness training from Monday to Friday as well as the advanced marathon training from Thursday to Tuesday. It comes up that till the end of 5-6 hours stream he has been physically active at least 1 hour.

#6. Check How You Sit

In case you are sitting against the computer during 2-8 hours, it’s crucial to take care of the right posture and ergonomics. Good posture is not something given for granted. All streamers that sit in a right way practice good posture because they are aware of the possible problems and have made a conscious decision to sit like this. With good posture you will be able to play longer with less pain and aches in your body. Moreover, when you are sitting right, your rib cage is more relaxed providing better respiration and oxygen delivery to the brain. Here are some good posture tips:
  • Your feet should stand on the floor while your knees should post up a little below the hips
  • Adjust your computer height to have your neck in a neutral position looking straight ahead
  • Your lower back should have a gentle curve above your bottom, avoid slumping
  • Don’t put pressure into your forearms when pressing your mouse/keyboard, use the wrists and move your shoulders
  • Perform the following actions to find your ideal posture: bring your chest up, tuck the chin, bring your shoulder blades together
The main aim of ergonomic equipment is to help you put the body in the right posture. So, use the chair that supports your lower back and encourages a good posture. An ergonomic mouse is designed to achieve a more natural hand position and reduce muscle strain. Similarly, the ergonomic keyboard, constructed in a V shape, allows your right and left hands to be in a more natural position and avoid muscle strain.

#7. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Many streamers neglect their mental health and don’t know how prevent themselves from burning out. They want to grow their viewer count, always compare themselves to other streamers, and then lose their passion and motivation to continue. Burnout is only one of the mental health problems that face streamers. The list of common illnesses also include depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, PTSD, ADHD, etc. Indeed, it’s difficult to balance success and self-care, but there are some simple tips to maintain your health streaming:
  • Recharge yourself several times during the day: do physical exercises, meditation, listen to music, read a book anything that you enjoy
  • Take a rest from social media organize a so-called “social media detoxes"
  • Increase your positive emotions and self-confidence
  • If you emotionally feel yourself at the breaking point, do extended break from Twitch, YouTube or other platform you use
  • Don’t follow the common advice “to stream more”. Stream as much as you feel comfortable, do breaks, relax and remind yourself why you’ve started streaming
  • Discuss your mental health and problems with your viewers, they will understand and support you

Takeaways

There is no such a streamer that can be smiling and 24-hour streaming without consequences for their physical and mental health. Healthy streaming supposes enough rest and time to distract and recharge for your body and mind. Don’t pursue fame as a goal in itself. Let yourself breathe and enjoy the process. Positive attitude and right planning will prevent you from stress and burnout.

2/11/2019