What do you do to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy (as much as is possible for your personal situation)?
Now more than ever, self-care is so important. There’s a lot going on in the world and it can be overwhelming. Not to mention, we often feel the constant need to drive ourselves ever onwards.
So you need to make sure you take some time to consider your own care.
The importance of self-care
I hear people say they can’t focus on self-care because they don’t have time. We’re not talking going for a full-on spa day (especially since that’s not exactly possible during this lockdown situation).
If you don’t look after yourself, then how can you look after others? If you’ve suffered from burn-out, you’ll know how impossible it is to continually push forward without it being at the detriment of your own health.
Don’t go too big too soon. Keep it simple, keep it small. Don’t say you’ll go for a 10-mile walk, getting up at 5 am and writing 14 pages in a gratitude journal.
Okay, so that is an exaggeration, so let me try it again.
DON’T jump in with a 1-mile walk AND get up at 7 am AND write 1000 words.
Now you might look at that example and think, “that’s not THAT difficult”.
You’ll be surprised at how well your brain will rebel if you add in too many things at once. Even if you consider some or even all of those things, “easy”.
The idea is to add in small things, over time.
I am a walking example of trying to do too much and failing miserably. Or even the times when I’ve succeeded but felt like absolute crap in the end.
What you do should…
- NOT take up too much time (otherwise you’ll not do it)
- NOT cause a big issue in your current routine (unless your routine is unhealth and it needs to get shaken up)
- NOT be something difficult or complicated (otherwise you’ll find excuses why you can’t do it)
Add things slowly
Find things you enjoy doing, that give you some peace and calm or just some REAL personal time. Add them into your routine, your schedule either daily or weekly or monthly.
This is not, “do 1 yoga pose for a week then take a full 1-hour class in week 2” kind of deal.
Purposefully keeping your self-care moments small and simple for one month before you add in ANYTHING. Especially if you struggle to maintain them.
Some great suggestions
Since I am a chronic over-worker, I thought it would help to reach out to my fellow writers on Twitter and ask for their self-care tips and what works best for them.
I got so many replies! I’m sorry to everyone who I didn’t feature, you all had awesome tips but there were just too many.
“Curl up in a comfy spot and read a book“
“Just take a day off once in a while and don’t force your self to write on a day off.“
“I go sit in a soft chair and look out the window at the canopy of the tree in our front yard, or I go to bed and rest while I watch my shows or read a book.”
“Listening to podcasts has become a daily self -care ritual for me. I’ve listened to podcasts for over ten years but now there are so many topics to explore. I learn a lot, and they’re entertaining.”
“Invest in relationships that understand your need to write. Not being understood is such a horrible feeling.”
“I set reminders on my phone to take breaks and always have a bottle of preferably water nearby-staying hydrated is important.”
“Lots of tea. I love trying new and different types, sitting back to inhale the aroma, and taking long sips.”
“Don’t compare your own writer’s journey with someone else’s – we each have our own to travel.”
“Sitting at a computer for hours leaves me stiff and achy. Scented Epsom salt baths are wonderful for this.”
“30 minutes just for me, every day. Just a walk, a glass of wine, or reading. It’s just a way to de-stress. I feel working from home, which is a blessing, makes me work more. I find myself always on the computer and easily burnt out. So take 30 minutes. Schedule it on your phone.”
“Unplug. I log off from all social media for a day or two each week. I spend time with my family, play with my pup, read, relax, work on my WIPs, or whatever I feel like doing.”
“I watch old horror movies. 80’s are the good stuff, but the 90’s have a few buried treasures (It’s Tremors, that’s it. It’s just that.)”
“Few spoonfuls of Talenti caramel cookie crunch after everyone has fallen asleep.”
“Be sure to rest your eyes every so often, like for about 15 – 30 minutes a day. We all need to reduce our screen time.”
“Dancing is a form of self-care for me. The physical activity gets the endorphins and serotonin pumping, and it’s just plain fun!”
“I try to make time for pleasure learning. Not book research or work-related classes, but learning something new just for curiosity’s sake.”
“For me it’s getting up and going to make a cup of tea, or stopping to drink said tea, I use those moments to stop and step back from what I am doing and just breathe. It’s amazing how much I find this helps.”
We run on hamster wheels, always active, but not always getting anywhere. Taking breaks, listening to what our bodies and minds need, being careful with ourselves and practising TRUE self-care is the best benefit you can give yourself.
What is your go-to Self-Care tip?