It took me a little bit of time to write this post because I wanted to make sure I was respectful of the situation. I’m not sure how you could have been an online gamer in the past month without hearing about the father of three who died during a 24 hour gaming marathon on Twitch. I wanted to make a few points and I wanted to open up a dialog about the nature of charity streaming, streaming marathons, and how I see this whole situation as a #HealthyGamer.
The first point I want to discuss is the idea of a 24 hour streaming marathon. They are a great way to capture a worldwide audience because you will literally span the entire globe as you stream the day away. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention that I’ve done 24+ hour streaming marathons in the past. My very first one raised over $5,000 dollars and my second 24 hour charity marathon raised over $4,500 dollars for Operation Supply Drop back before they even had a nice website to make teams and campaigns on! To be completely honest when Wildstar launched I completed a 50+ hour streaming marathon where I only slept for 2 hours when the game servers had to go down for maintenance. Before we continue I have several points that I want to discuss here but they all live in the same wheelhouse so bare with me as I dissect them with you folks.
Human beings are not meant to be sedentary for 24 hours. I’ve written about various exercises, stretching, and even eye strain reduction techniques that streamers and gamers should be using. If you are planning to do anything for a marathon amount of time, it is my suggestion that you train for it. No one would just jump up and try to run a marathon in real life, I am not sure why so many people think it is safe or healthy to do so in the gaming space. Physically you should be getting up to walk around, stretch, and loosen up your body every few hours. I used to even work out while on Twitch with my audience on game breaks, while in a loading screen, or on a flight path. Get up and do a few pushups, squats, and wake up your body. Even if it is a small break to rotate all of your major joints and limbs quickly before sitting back down. I also highly recommend getting a chair that supports your lower lumbar area. You can also make sure to look away from your monitor every 10 minutes to help reduce your eyestrain. You need to take care of your body if you are planning to do a 24 hour marathon. I strongly recommend setting up a workout/break routine that you can do every set interval that gets you out of your seat and gets your body in motion even if it is just for 5 minutes. The next things we need to discuss is doing a sleep schedule in preparation along with nutritional preparation also!
A sleep schedule is simple to setup for a healthy-er 24 hour streaming marathon. Around 2 weeks before your planned marathon start adjusting your sleep times. Go to bed a little later at night and wake up earlier. Work in a nap around noon to two every afternoon. When you plan for your 24 hour marathon, plan for it to begin at noon. The night before your marathon you are going to push your sleep time a bit more so aim for a 2 am sleep time and set a wakeup for 10am. This will give you a solid amount of sleep and still plenty of time to prepare for your stream. You won’t find yourself getting sleepy during your stream until around the 16-20 hour marks, and you can trick your body. It is around this time you will want to start using a little bit of working out and caffeine to help maintain alertness until the end of your marathon. You should also adjust your lighting in your room a bit more brighter to help trick your brain that it is day time and you are suppose to be awake.
Nutritional preparation is another huge one that makes me lose my mind. Do you think that professional athletes just toss cookies, soda, and chips into their bodies and are able to perform at the top levels that they do? Not even close. If you are going to be successful at doing a 24 hour stream you need to preplan your meals and snacks also. Every body has different needs but if I can make a suggestion of healthier alternatives to crap food, I hope you’ll listen. If you’re starting off your stream around noon, as part of your prep for stream make sure to have a light lunch of some meat (fish/chicken/turkey), carbs (veggies), and some healthy fats (throw some nuts in that salad!). Throughout the rest of your marathon make sure to have prepared smaller meals and snacks that consist of all of the nutrients that you need in a day. While I will always recommend organic and real food compared to a protein bar, when you are up against a deadline sometimes you have to munch down a bar. I’d rather see folks snacking on a bar focused around the nutrients that you need versus a bag of chips and a 2 liter of soda. Some of my quick favorite meals when I was streaming would be something like barbeque chicken breast with some mashed sweet potato and steamed broccoli. Or salmon on top of some rice and beans are easy to prepare and warm up when you’re ready to eat.
As the #HealthyGamer OG I did want to have my final say here. 24 hour marathons on Twitch are fine. I don’t believe it is up to Twitch to police streamers in this situation. I believe it is up to the streamer to be able to balance potential profit, viewership gained, total subs and donations, and uptime with your own health. I wish that some of these charity organizations would plan 2 day events where the streamers would be encouraged to do a 12 hour stream one day and a 12 hour stream in another. I just feel like that is a much more accomplishable goal without as much pre planning needed and less risk. In any job or career it can be assumed that the more you spend on learning about it, working on your brand/work, and putting work into it will only help increase your potential earning ability. However if it is causing you to have severe negative physical, mental, and emotional stress way out of your normal routine, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your current situation and life choices. Your body is the only one you get and it is up to only you to take care of it. It is sad that this man has passed away and I can only hope that this becomes a cautionary tale for our community of online gamers and streamers alike. As viewers, mods, and people who care about our streamers, make sure they are taking care of themselves. We want to keep them around for a very long time. Rest in peace man.
Health Disclaimer: https://www.healthygamer.org/disclaimer/