Sometimes it’s really hard, with all the sponsors writing posts for all these rounds, to come up with something new and original. I know something similar to this has been done before, but everyone has a different take on things.
So…I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. This thing about taking care of ourselves. My thoughts have turned this way mostly because I’ve failed so miserably at this. And I thought maybe some of you felt the same way.
Many of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to write without the burden of full time jobs. And some of you have small children to take care of, even if you don’t work at an outside job. Or you could have some other commitments that take a lot of time. So all of us are busy one way or another. There are groceries to buy, a house to clean, clothes to wash…so many things! And then there’s the writing. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by all these things, we forget to take care of ourselves.
My advice is always to do things in baby steps. Many times we get gung ho about something and jump in with both feet, ready to take on the world. And then we burn out because we tried to do too much. As much as we meant to keep going on that exercise plan or that healthy way of eating, it was just too much for us.
Let’s look at some little things you can do to take care of yourself, and then maybe you can build up to something bigger.
- Don’t sit for too long. Writers tend to get on a roll, and the next thing you know, a couple of hours have passed. Try not to sit more than an hour at a time. Being still for a long time can lead to complications, especially blood clots (my best friend died of this). Also, your legs get stiff, your back hurts, and then you don’t want to write anymore because it HURTS. Get up and do something for just a few minutes before sitting back down.
- Sip something as you write. It’s important to stay hydrated. I’m not going to sit here and say it must be water. I would be a hypocrite. I don’t like to sip on water. I tend to chug-a-lug it and get it over with. But a cup of hot tea (or a glass of iced tea) is lovely. And it breaks up the monotony of just sitting and typing.
- If you feel guilty because you aren’t cleaning house, etc., it can really wreak havoc on what you’re trying to write. If you feel you must do something, when you take that break to move around, put in a load of clothes or wash a few dishes. Doing little things at a time can help you get things done without spending hours on the house while neglecting your writing. Using every little minute is efficient and will make you feel better about spending the time writing.
- Take time for your family and friends. I know we tend to “get in the zone”, and we go for days without much interaction. Sometimes we feel like we have to get those scenes written, so we turn down invitations because we don’t have time. It’s perfectly fine to say no when we need to. But our mental health is important, and we need some of that relaxing time with others to just chill.
- Add healthy things to your diet little by little. What does this have to do with writing? Well, I’ve noticed lately that I don’t have a lot of energy, and I get sleepy early in the evening. This cuts down on my productive time. Adding healthy snacks and cutting back on chips and other unhealthy snacks can make a difference in how you feel. And if you feel good, you are more productive. So if you like to have snacks while you’re writing, try carrots, olives, pickles, cucumbers, grapes, apple slices…there are SO many things.
Those are just some thoughts I’ve had recently in my own life about how to better take care of myself. You might not be ready to jump into a gym membership or completely change your eating habits. You might not be able to suddenly become the most productive person ever. But taking one step at a time, and one day at a time, will gradually help you learn better habits without overwhelming you. After all, we have enough to do without adding the extra pressure of trying to be perfect, right? Baby steps!