Self-Care Tips for the Self-Publishing Author
Publishing is stressful. Writing for a living is not for the weak at heart. Just as it is important for you to continually work at mastering your craft, it is also important that you are attentive to your self-care needs. Not taking care of yourself will show in your work and in your body. Neither is a good look. It can be difficult to find the time in between making a living and having a life. I’m here to help. Here are five self-care tips for the self-publishing author.
Take your self-care seriously.
Every where you turn there is some article, blog post, Pnterest tip on self-care. It is the newest, oldest trend and can sometimes prove overwhelming to address. Of course, that means most of us ignore anything “self-care” related. Here is the thing, noone likes to be bombarded with an idea. Being bombarded with self-care suggestions is not a good reason to dismiss it’s significance.The ramifications of putting yourself last on every list and neglecting your mind, body, and soul can be devastating. From major physical health ramifications to mental fatigue and spiritual disconnect, most of these things can be avoided by simply taking more time to care for personal needs/ wants.
For some people, their self-care routine is a particular hair or spa appointment. For others, its a daily workout or free time for entertainment. The great thing is that all of those are the right thing for those people. Don’t feel inclined to make someone else’s way, your way. Instead, figure out what you need to nurture you while pushing through the long hours of being creative. Whatever your thing is, place it high on your lists. Carve out time, and make those moments sacred. Treat caring for yourself with importance. Treat yourself well.
Self-care is about penciling yourself in.
Working your schedule will optimize your production. Leaving things to chance increases the odds that they won’t get done. You can afford to put somethings off, but not everything all the time. Namely, not yourself.
When you create your work schedule, be sure to set aside thirty minutes to an hour that is solely about caring for your mind and body outside of writing. Yes, writing can be cathartic. There is peace and surrender in doing what one loves. It is still important to separate yourself from the work on occasion. Doing so benefits your clarity as a writer and allows you to nurture those parts of you that often go neglected when trying to write the perfect scene.
Your writer can come secondary to your mental, physical and spiritual health. Whatever your mode of release is outside of writing, do that. Spend that thirty minutes to an hour on something that benefits you one multiple fronts. Maybe, you declutter your desk for mental healthy and work organization. Maybe you take a long bath to soothe your aching muscles and work out the kinks in your climax. If you ar a parent, maybe that thirty minutes or so is your only respite from parenthood as well. Use it for reflection, exercise, or just to finish a hot cup of coffee. Self-care isn’t about extravagance. It is about taking a much needed moment to yourself to assess personal needs and address them. One small way a day, prioritize yourself.
Self-care is about listening to your body.
When I was working on the follow up to An Alpha’s Dream and before I started working on An Alpha’s Second Chance, I spent about a month working until four in the morning, and getting up at eigth to take care of my darlings until my lover made it home . Then, was dinner and you guessed it, back to work. After finally deciding I was tired enough to take a break, I planned a weekend off. I would not type, write, or even sit down with pen and papers to muse. I would take the weekend completely.
Three days off because I was tired, turned into two weeks of headaches, long restless nights where I couldn’t sleep, and unexplained sickness. Actually, the last part was a lie. It wasn’t unexplained. I ignored my body telling me that I was tired, that I was beyond tired and that it was on the verge of shutting down. So, on the first chance it got, it did just that. Finally, I had to see someone and get some real information. The diagnosis? Exhaustion.
Your body will tell you when you are hitting your limit. Whether it is falling asleep at the keyboard, or a shift in your normal attitude/ behaviors. Shortness of patience, disorientation while following your regular routine, and even loss of appetite are all signs that your body isn’t operating normally. If you notice it early, rest. Quit an hour early and take a nap if possible, read something you didn’t write, or watch your favorite show. One month of not taking proper care of myself cost me ninety plus days of writing and engaging with my readers. The routine I’d worked hard to establish was gone.
You are building a career, but that is only part of what you are doing. You are also building a life. When your body takes an uncharacteristic turn, listen. Rest.
Self-care is about what you consume.
Eat well, drink plenty of water, and read things that inspire you. The simplest advice is always the hardest to take. When it comes to self-care, most of it is simple advice. However, this is probably the oldest. Eat well, drink lots of water, and read things that inspire you.
Self-publishers can sometime keep long hours. Add to being an authorprenuer, the day to day of parenting, being a spouse, and other aspects of your life and what you have is a recipe for neglect. Missing meals, eating poorly, and not drinking water are such daily occurrences for most of us that it seems like a non issue. Except your brain needs proper nutrition and hydration to work well. Get your vegetables, fill up on super brain foods, and drink water.
Of course you can still have coffee, and cookies. Maybe add in a cup of hot tea and bowl of fruit as a substitute or one of your sweeter preferred snacks. Give yourself a fighting chance to get through the long hours and writers block. While you’re eating those great snacks and meals, enjoy a book, blog, or news article that does more than incite your rage. Find a story that is fun, and invites you in. Pick up that memoir that is inspirational and makes you think compelling thoughts. Check out a self-help book that prompts you to take positive changes in your life.
Self-Care is about putting your body in motion.
Writing is a sedentary career. There’s no way to deny it. Most of our work is done in front of a computer, sitting in our preferred spot and cranking out greatness. Our minds are working hard, but our bodies are not. The long hours alone take an immense toll on our bones and our blood flow. To lessen the effects of sitting for long hours, pick an activity that gets you moving.
Yoga. Pilates. Cardio. A walk around the block. There are numerous ways to add physical activity to your schedule. Be deliberate about how you move and when. Without warning, you will notice an increase in your energy levels, the restfullness of your sleep, and your overall health as your body adjusts to its new found normal.
Being a dedicated writer is wonderful, but your body needs more than just your talent to function. Pay the same attention to your mental, and physical health as you would your craft. After all, the health of your body has a significant effect on your quality of life and your ability to pursue things you are passionate about.
In short, feed you brain with good food, your body with good energy, and your heart and mind with good thoughts. In my mom voice, there is only one you. Take care of yourself.
What are some self-care tips you would like to pass on to others? Comment below.