Self-care has a loose definition. We each think of self-care in a different way. My definition of self-care could be taking a walk while listening to music, whereas your definition may be drinking some tea while reading a book. The common denominator of self-care is doing something you enjoy or putting systems into place to preserve your well-being. In this blog, we will provide a few self-care suggestions that may help you improve your writing and everyday well-being. Evaluate each suggestion, decide if it aligns with you, and if it will be valuable to include in your day-to-day.
Stick to a writing schedule
Read just to read
Find time for movement
Allow time to rest
Stick to a Writing Schedule
Sticking to a schedule may not inherently be doing something you enjoy; however, it is a useful tool to free up time in your day to add in the things you do enjoy. When you set a schedule, you are allowing yourself to take the breaks needed to refuel yourself. It can be easy to feel the need to write for as long as possible, or force yourself to stay at your desk for hours on end in order to feel productive. If you experience burnout from this method, consider setting a schedule and implementing a writing routine to help provide more structure and less burnout. Test out a few different routines and see which makes your day flow the best. For example, try setting a schedule by writing out your ideal day on a piece of paper, and then following through with it the next day. If the day is chaotic, not productive, or does not flow well, re-evaluate and try another schedule. Remember to add time to do something you enjoy each day such as watching your favorite show after dinner, picking up a new hobby, or spending the evening playing games with family.
Read Just to Read
Did you grow up reading books on books, but now as a writer, have found less time for reading the “fun” books? It can be easy to get wrapped up in reading books for research purposes or feel like you only have time to read your writing over and over again. After staring at words all day, do you even want to read more books? For some, reading may be the last thing on your list of self-care, and that is okay. However, if you love reading, but have found yourself with less time to do so, here is another opportunity to utilize a routine! Scheduling time in your day to read something completely different than your writing may be what you need to refuel and nourish your brain. Take a break to go to your local bookstore, pick out a book from your favorite author, and enjoy the time getting lost in the pages.
Find Time for Movement
Exercise is another self-care tip to help nourish your mind and body. When we exercise, our body releases serotonin and dopamine. These are neurotransmitters that have an impact on productivity, motivation, and general well-being. Increasing these neurotransmitters does not have to be done through a difficult run or an intense workout class. A walk around the neighborhood, yoga, or other forms of your favorite exercises can help boost your energy and neurotransmitter production. Remember that movement is different for everyone. Do what excites you and leaves you feeling ready to add movement into your day again tomorrow. There are even ways to move while you work. Check out this under-the-desk treadmill to increase your steps while you write! Moving your body will help you as a writer to increase mental clarity, increase creativity and refresh your mind and body for the day and days ahead.
Allow Time to Rest
At the end of a long day of writing, taking the time to relax, unwind, and prepare for a restful sleep can help you feel replenished during the day ahead. If you are a writer doing most of your writing on a computer, consider taking at least an hour before bed to decompress away from your screen. According to the Sleep Foundation, our screens emit LED and fluorescent lights which have been shown to decrease sleepiness and alter your natural melatonin production. Essentially, when we are consuming too much blue light close to bedtime, our biological clock does not know it is time for sleep! Here is a great opportunity to include an hour of relaxation before bed into your schedule. During this time, grab your favorite novel, try on your favorite skin care mask, or finish that puzzle you bought years ago! Do the things that fuel your mind and soul and prepare you for tomorrow.
Self-care is different for everyone. Not all of these suggestions will align with you and your values and that is okay! The intention of this post is to get ideas flowing in the direction of taking care of yourself as a human outside of being a writer. We can get lost in our writing very quickly and burnout can appear before we know it. If you have other self-care tips that help you as a writer, we would love to hear about them over on The Habitized Life Instagram.