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I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about self-care lately, and feeling a bit of pressure to have a daily self-care routine. When I thought about it, I realized I already have a great self-care routine, but I hadn’t made it formal by calling it that.
Self-care can be anything you do for your well being, whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. I like to think of it as anything that’s just for me, that makes me feel good. We spend so much time doing things for other people, it’s nice take some time to focus on ourselves.
Why Self-Care for Writers?
In my opinion, everyone needs to take good care of themselves, not just writers, but there are two areas of health that stand out to me when it comes to people who write for a living: physical and mental.
Let’s start with the physical.
Sitting at a desk for long periods every day, as is usually the case for many writers, can be hard on the body. One thing that can help with this is taking frequent breaks and using tools such as a standing desk, kneeling chair, or stability ball chair. I try to get up and grab a snack or cup of tea at least every hour and do some quick stretches.
Now for the mental.
In some ways, writing is harder on our mental state than our physical body. There are often highs and lows that come with the acceptance and inevitable rejection of our work. It’s hard not to get down when you’ve had a long streak of negative feedback.
When I’ve had a rough day like this, I like to blast some tunes and dance around the house. The dogs think I’m crazy, but it makes me feel better. I have some affirmations I like to pull out for these rough days too. Sometimes just reminding myself that I get to write stories every day makes me feel better.
Here’s a great list of affirmations to get you started. If you’re not a writer, try adapting them to fit your needs.
My Current Self-Care Routine
A year ago, my husband started a new job that involves tech support for businesses in other time zones. This means that some days his shift starts at 5 a.m. which used to be the time we got up. Since he has a commute, we now get up at 3 or 3:30. And we also go to bed when the kids go to bed at 7:30 or 8 p.m., lol!
Because of this change in schedule, my self-care routine changed from enjoying a relaxing soak in the tub after the kids went to bed, to getting up early to read and workout. This is why it’s so important to have a variety of self-care activities you enjoy. It’s also totally fine to change your routine when life changes.
Actually, being flexible with your self-care might be the most important part of your routine!
So, here’s my current routine…
Drag myself out of bed at 3 or 3:30 a.m. to workout with my hubby. We use Beachbody On Demand. With over 500 streaming workouts and yoga routines, we can always find something we both enjoy. We like the ease and comfort of working out at home.
After the workout, I make a cup of tea and decide what book I’m going to read. (I always have a couple on the go!) I usually read from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. When it comes to self-care, mindset is really important. I used to feel guilty for spending an hour reading rather than working, but it’s helped my state of mind which, in turn, helps my writing. It’s so worth it, I can’t imagine giving up reading every morning.
When I’ve finished reading for the morning, I still have about an hour left to work before my kids get up. This is usually my most productive hour of the day.
Throughout the day, I try to remember to take short breaks to do some relaxation breathing, or just doodle and paint. There are two apps I like to use throughout the day as part of my self-care breaks: Daily Mudras and Down Dog Yoga. Both allow me to take 10 or 15 minutes to do something physical that also relaxes my mind. The Daily Mudras app also sends me notifications throughout the day, so it’s a great reminder to take a quick break.
Recommended Self-Care Journals
When I first started making a conscious effort to incorporate more self-care every day, I found a journal was really helpful. I started by creating a self-care page in my bullet journal. I wrote “self-care” in the centre and drew a bunch of hearts all over the page. Each time I did something that I felt fit the description of self care, I wrote it in one of the hearts. Some of these things included:
Eat some dark chocolate,
But a new pen or journal,
Take a hot bath,
Tracking my self-care like this really helped me realize there was already a lot of things I was doing to take care of myself. Here’s where you can find the grid-lined bullet journal I use.
If you’re not big on journaling but still need a little help in the self-care department, here are two very different “journals” I’ve used and recommend. I use the term “journal” loosely because, as you’ll see, there’s not a lot of writing involved with either one.
This planner is a printable created by Angela Vaz of Stray Curls and is filled with her super cute artwork. You can print the pages as you need them or all at once. It’s 15 pages and includes habit trackers, quick self-care ideas, quotes and more. At only $7 it is a great way to get started tracking your self-care.
Even just looking at Angela’s adorable artwork is inspiring!
The nice thing about Choose You by Sara Robinson is that all you need to do is check a few boxes and make some quick notes to track your self-care each day. The book provides a short introduction to the six types of self-care (emotional, mental, physical, practical, social, and spiritual) and gives you some ideas for finding more time for self-care.
Whether you need a mental or physical break, remember to take the time to look after yourself every day. It’s important! I would go crazy without my alone time and my breaks throughout the day!
I’m curious, do you have a favourite self-care activity?