Working with an injury sucks.

Working with an injury sucks.  Most of us have been there.  From working with a headache, back aches, period pain, RSI, cold and flu, lack of sleep for one reason or another, most of us would have worked on a job when we're not 100%.  As a freelance animator/illustrator, I am normally contracted by studios, so I don't receive sick pay or vacation leave in majority of the jobs I've done,  I didn't use to get superannuation either but that has at least changed over the years.  I am still woefully behind in that regard though.

Anyway, the reason I mention it, is because I have been working injured for a few months. My wrist started acting up when I had a lot of work in April and I just kept pushing through it.  It was first a dull ache that ended up with me not being able to cut up my own food for a weekend.  I rested for a few days  but I was under contract at an animation studio so I just kept working until the end date of my contract. That studio did provide benefits like sick leave though, so that was fortunate.  After that job ended for me, I've decided to take a 6 week break.  First actual break I've had since working that doesn't involve me leaving the country for a vacation.  This is just me, doing my own thing for the next few weeks.  Here's the kicker though, I am on break to lay off from drawing, especially my detailed ink works and heal up but it's the main thing I want to do right now.  It's a real bummer.  I've compromised a little bit by editing existing art work (nothing from scratch) on the computer and taking loads of breaks, just so I don't go too crazy but I ultimately have to spend less days drawing and more days doing everything else.  At least painting doesn't strain the wrist too much or typing for that matter.

Attempting to draw with non-dominant hand

The thing about working through an catches up to you and I as much as possible, I wouldn't advice it.  Right now, I actually got lucky.  My injury will go away with rest, no surgery required and it's not taking that long either now that I've stopped working 8 hours a day.  Should only be a few weeks.  I've had a friend that was bedridden for months.  Started out with a niggle in his neck which developed to full blown surgery after a while.  I had another friend that couldn't draw for 3 months, RSI on her wrist.  No job is worth your health at the end of the day.  We all need to work to earn money to live but the more you force it, the worse it will get. I am trying to remind myself of this everyday while am on break.  

What advice would I give?  Well, prevention is cheaper than the cure.  So take lots of breaks while working, make sure to stretch.  If something starts to hurt, stop, even if it's just for half an hour or so or even longer if possible.  I found icing my wrist and doing some rehab and stretching exercises really helped.  If you're a freelancer, always make sure to put away enough money for a rainy day when the work is abundant.  Always good to have an emergency stash in general, even if you do have a full-time job. 


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