You’re probably used to streaming and know what works for you. But if you’re fundraising for us, we want you to be as healthy as possible while doing it, so we’ve put together some tips which you may find useful!
Remember to stay hydrated! You should aim for 6-8 glasses a day. Soft drinks and juice can be high in sugar, and can lead to an eventual crash in energy, so they aren’t a great hydration staple. Their calories can also lead to weight gain in the long run. Watch your caffeine intake, too – everything in moderation! If you’re fighting sleep, maybe it’s better just to let your body get the rest it needs. Caffeine can make it harder to sleep when you want to, and might make you feel anxiety-like sensations. Water is refreshing and cheap. Liven it up with some lemon, or drinking sparkling water, if you’d prefer. Also consider tea, herbal and fruit teas. More information on hydration here.
Get plenty of sleep! That means don’t overdo the streaming, especially not every day. You need sleep to recharge: adults need 6-9 hours a day. It might actually be harder to go straight from playing video games to sleeping, so try to wind down, first. It might also help to keep your gaming room and sleeping room separate, to avoid distractions when it’s time to sleep, and so that you associate your bedroom only with sleeping. More tips on sleeping here.
Eat well. That means a good balanced diet so you’re getting all the nutrients and energy you need. Again, sugary foods will give you an energy spike but you’ll soon feel a crash. Processed or fast food may seem easy, as you can eat while playing, but it comes at a cost: such foods tend to be high in fats, tend to be less healthy, and are not as good for getting the nutrients you need. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet includes a daily intake of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, protein, dairy products or dairy alternatives, high-fibre carbohydrates, and a small amount of unsaturated fats. More tips on diet here.
Take breaks. It’s not great to sit in the same position for hours – ask any office worker. It’s better to take multiple short breaks, like 10 minutes every hour, rather than longer breaks less often. You should take that time to move around and stretch, and change your posture.
On that note, make sure your streaming setup is comfortable. You should be seated comfortably (e.g. not leaning forward, or stretching your arms out). Make sure you have adequate wrist support. Your screen(s) should be at a comfortable height. You should have a comfortable chair that supports your back as you sit, and your back should be straight. Your shoulders should be relaxed. You should be able to keep your feet comfortably flat on the floor – otherwise you may need a footrest. You may find this checklist for work environments useful!
Do get some exercise to the best of your ability. It’s good to stay active, and it can help reduce stress, too. More information on exercise here.
Taking plenty of breaks is also good to get a mental reset from streaming. It might be good to go do something else for a few minutes… don’t be tempted to take chat with you! Come back refreshed.
Don’t put up with toxicity in chat. If possible, have mods that you trust active during the stream, who can take care of people causing trouble. Don’t waste energy on arguing with trolls; it’s less stressful to just ban them and get on with having fun. It may help to employ some additional mod tools, including word bans, especially if you find particular language upsetting. If necessary, raise the barrier of entry to your chat, or slow the chat down to prevent spam. Marginalised streamers can bear a higher burden of harassment, such as women, LGBTQ+ people, and ethnic minorities.
If you are upset by any interactions in chat, it’s okay to take a break and process it. Your viewers will understand and will likely support you. It might help to talk through what happened with your mods, and discuss what you felt, and what should be done next time.
Avoid fatigue. If you’re feeling tired, that means your body and mind want some rest. Know when it’s time to end the stream and catch some z’s. You can always come back another day! Some streamers prioritise their stream over their health but they usually wish they hadn’t. When you step away, actually step away. Have some boundaries: if you’re always in streamer mode, including spending the rest of your time promoting the stream and engaging with followers, you’ll fatigue fast. Especially if you’re balancing other things, like a day job!
Be yourself. There’s a certain loud “streamer personality” that feels more engaging, but it can be emotionally exhausting, and you won’t necessarily feel very authentic when doing it. Meanwhile if you’re true to yourself, you can relax more and it might help you feel good about yourself!
Stream for fun, and don’t pay too much attention to analytics. You might end up chasing high engagement and end up working yourself harder and harder, leading to burnout. The truth is, only a small percentage of streamers can earn a living through streaming. Twitch is a competitive environment for those who wish to “succeed” at it, and there’s no guarantee any streamer will make it to career level. Similarly, don’t compare yourself to other streamers: how “well” your stream does is not a reflection on you. Some viewers hide things like viewer count and feel better for it.