I went to bed early last night. Like—"it was still light out” early. I have zero regrets because IT FELT GLORIOUS.
And today, I’m in a much better mood than I’ve been in for over a week. I’m one of those really annoying chipper Monday morning people right now. If I didn’t feel so good, I might hate myself a little.
I used to think I was always really good at “self-care”. I don’t mind asking my husband to cover for me with the kids and the house when I need to decompress.
But I realized that self-care, as buzzy of a word as it is, is so much more than just finding some me time every now and again. It’s every step and action you take to rest up, recharge and feel re-energized.
And, as a writer, especially as a writer, you need to be fresh and energized in order to be creative and tackle your goals.
Writing is hard work. Frustratingly hard. It’s so easy to get down on yourself and spiral into a black hole of Eeyore-like doom on a regular basis. And there’s nothing wrong with a pity party every now and again (I have held many for myself) but if you want to stay with this writing thing, you have to feel good.
Here’s how I’m tackling the self-care thing. Hopefully some of these ideas might work for you, too.
Go to bed early
Before I lose you (because I feel like most writers are night owls more than morning people), just try for a night or two to go to bed super early and see what it does for you. We all know how important sleep is for your body. But it is so crucial to how you feel about the world and your place in it, too. When you’re rested, it is so much easier to feel better about your goals and accomplishments and you'll likely find you really want to tackle and achieve them. Try going to bed at least an hour before you normally would. Even better if you could try two hours! And try getting up earlier, too. Just as an experiment. You may find you really like the new schedule.
I bet most of us writers do this, but just in case you don’t, I’m going to highly recommend reading. If you can find time in the day to get comfortable—in bed, outside on a warm day, in a shady spot in your backyard—and just forget about everything other than what’s happening in the book? That is indescribably relaxing. I might even suggest you take a TV hiatus in order to find the time to read. (GASP!! But what about the Netflix??)
Do something alone
Yesterday I went for a walk by myself. The kids wanted to come, and as cute as they are, and as much as I like spending a lot of time with them, I said no. I told them I wanted to be alone for 20 minutes. So I went for a walk and listened to some music and let my mind wander. It doesn’t have to be walking—finding anything you can do alone for even just a short amount of time will help you feel re-energized.
This might be my favourite. I went out and bought myself a set of new fancy pens to take notes with and a really pretty notebook to jot down my story ideas in. And as nerdy as that sounds, it made me happy to start using them. Getting yourself a little something nice is always a fun way to give yourself a little boost. If it relates to writing, even better.
I was given the Five Minute Journal a while ago, but didn’t use it right away. I’m not sure why—because gratitude is changing my life. At the end of the day, if you write down three great things that happened that day (as the journal suggests), you are focusing on remembering just the good stuff that goes on in your life. If you do that repeatedly? All you tend to remember is positive things that made you happy. Do you know what that can do for your entire life? It can make you happier, change your relationships, give you the desire and courage to tackle lofty goals. And all the power is yours. You don’t rely on anyone else to give you something or to do something to make you happy. Life changing, I tell you.
There are many, many other things you can do to rest up and recharge as a writer—these are just a few I’m focusing on right now. What do you do?