It honestly doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not, self care is important. There are some myths about it being self-indulgent, a waste of time, and expensive. Not to mention the idea that all artists are supposed to suffer (queue my eye roll here).
Self care is not self-indulgent
There’s so much in this world to feel guilty about, let’s not feel bad about taking care of ourselves. Taking time for yourself is not a problem and it’s important for words and ideas to flow. If you’re stressed or burnt out, you’re going to find it hard to return to your work.
Self care is not a waste of time
For the same reasons it is not self-indulgent, it is also not a waste of time. It’s hard to hold yourself to the discipline of sitting and not working, but it’s well worth a moment of silence. We were not meant to work 24/7, so take a break.
Self care is expensive
It doesn’t have to be. Sure, if you take yourself to the spa every weekend, that’s going to add up. But self care can also be a nice long bath, a TV marathon, a day without your cell phone, or a walk in the park. It’s about what makes you feel nice, relaxed, and refreshed.
The artist is supposed to suffer
No. We. Are. Not. When the artist starves, the art suffers. Period.
There are many things you can do to destress, but some of these things are things you should to do destress as a writer.
Set up a back up system
Use a program like Scivener or Dabble which automatically backs your work up in the cloud. This will help you relax if you lose power, internet connection, or if anything goes wrong with your laptop.
Oragnize your notes and files
Whether you keep it in notebooks or documents, make your notes easy to find and access. I find it helps to have a special folder for each project that contains notes, images, former drafts, and feedback.
Find a community
An active writing community is truly a blessing. Connecting with your fellow writers and comiserating or sharing in your successes or holding each other accountable is something every writer needs. You can join mine through my Buy Me A Coffee.
Take breaks from your writing
There is a fear that if you don’t do it everyday you’re never going to go back to it. But, if you do it every day, you’re just increasing the chance that you will grow to despise the craft.
Take a shower
Get the water nice and steamy and let the water wash over you for at least 15 minutes. Then get out, dry off, and get to writing.
Do a guided meditation
Find one you like on YouTube or an app that works best for you and try to do a short meditation each day before or after you write to help center you.
Read a book
Craft book, fiction, non fiction, something that’s similar to your manuscript, or the furthest thing from your work. It doesn’t matter. Reading is relaxing.
Move your body
Get up, stretch, go for a walk, a run, do some yoga if that’s something that you’re into.
Binge your favorite show. Play video games all day. Take a nap. Wear a face mask. Do nothing. Or whatever makes you happy.
Keep a small notebook
You will not remember that great idea when you wake up in the morning, so get a small notebook and keep a pen with you to jot down those great ideas.
Eat junk food
You have a favorite food that’s totally unhealthy for you. My go to is peanut butter cheesecake. Eat a portion of it when you hit your milestones.