How to be comfortable streaming on Twitch and YouTube

As someone with ADHD and chronic pain, I (naturally) have a hard time staying still. So during my time spent streaming D&D, I developed some techniques to go three hours without aches, pains or nervousness. Everyone has different needs, of course, but I’ve put together a guide that will hopefully be broad enough to help most people understand how to feel comfortable streaming.

1. Make room for the essentials

Your playing space should always have room for character sheets, dice, your secondary devices if you are using apps, etc. If not, I recommend getting a foldable music stand with a relatively flat, level surface. I love these, even though I only use one to view entire character sheets at a time.

2. Lift your feet, or not

The comfortable placement of the feet is the basis for a durable and ergonomic sitting position. No matter how you like to sit, your feet are the basis for the rest of your posture. Make sure they’re level, hip-distance apart, and ideally far enough apart to keep your hips above your knees. Maintaining this relationship between your feet, knees, and hips should help prevent pain in all three.

3. Choice of chair (s)

As you can imagine, the posture I just described is easier for certain body types and in certain types of chairs. Gaming chairs and office chairs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but here are some of the choices from Polygon staff.

I will say that as a tall person with hip issues, the bucket seats on gaming chairs tend to be a bit… tight. If, like me, your hips have pain after sitting for hours, I recommend a kneeling chair like the Sleekform Alpharetta. Of all the ones I’ve tried, this is the only one with an adjustable seat angle. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no one makes a kneeling chair with a weight limit of over 275 lbs, so if you’re tall like me and longevity is a concern, consider sticking with the Big and Tall section.

4. A real pain in the neck

Text neck, less called forward head posture, is a fairly constant cause of pain for anyone stuck looking at a book or screen for more than a few hours. I recommend a drastic alternative: don’t do it.

Considering the general trend to move away from using an external monitor, there’s a good chance you’ll feel a bit challenged by this one. Listen to me, though… While newer high-end monitors cost up to $ 600, for under $ 200, you can still find fairly high-end monitors. If that breaks the bank again, eBay and Goodwill both have varying quality options at all prices. If you want to stream regularly, I highly recommend a USB monitor and camera or laptop riser. If money is absolutely impossible, you can stack boxes or books to create an effective, albeit precarious, alternative. Not that you need another reason here, but you’d be surprised at the difference the camera placement has on your appearance.

Photo taken with a camera mounted on a monitor
Photo: David Jones-Krause for Polygon

A photo shows the author from an unflattering angle

Photo taken with a laptop camera
Photo: David Jones-Krause for Polygon

5. Don’t miss a thing

The name of the game is anticipation, and you are playing against yourself. Water and a snack are a great place to start, but I’m serious when I recommend taking all. No one wants to get burpy at the mic knowing they’re hours away from the fairy Pepto Bismol’s salvation.

For my neurodivergent siblings, this also includes stimulation. Give yourself the tools to be comfortable and present in these moments of inactivity. Discomfort takes many forms, and the point here is to verify Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs as if it were a shopping list.

6. Know yourself

Ultimately, we all have our own distinct needs. You know your body and your space, and you decide how best to adapt it to your needs. Except maybe the thing with the camera. No one needs to see the inside of your nose.

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