(This is from early 2017 but published again after it was lost while updating the blog. So much for making sure everything was prepared before updating 😉 )
Ever really stopped to consider how much time you spend on the computer a day? There’s a lot of reasons you might be on it, from goofing off on the web to blogging to writing.
Recently I stepped up the amount I write each month, climbing from 10,000 words a month to 25,000. Over the past year I have written roughly 135,000 words. To put that in perspective it’s like I wrote an entire Harry Potter length book.
The more I write, the more my wrists give me a fit. They pop and hurt and one particular nerve from my thumb down to the bottom of my wrist hurts like mad when I finish a particularly long writing stint.
As well, I often get depressed when I think about I’ve made little money with writing so far and people tell me I need a “real” job (yeah, you know what kind of people I’m talking about.) Then, my anxiety flares up when I think about how much I need to do, and how I’m a failure for leaving college after my freshman year and…and…
Frankly, I’m a mess.
But this past year has taught me something important I want to share with you: we all are messed up in some way. This brings me to today’s topic: self-care.
If you’re a writer, reader, or really any sort of creative (or a person ), you need to take care of your physical and emotional state. Below, I offer a few ideas on how to keep yourself sane (mostly) and healthy while doing what you love.
- Keep a routine
I freely admit I suck at this. Keeping a set bedtime, lunchtime, or really any set time for anything that’s part of your daily routine helps lower stress. I love going to bed at 3 am, but even at 19, I feel the serious consequences. Try to go to bed between, say, 10-11 each night and get up at 8. I also try to keep a consistent writing time.
- Reward yourself
Remember as a kid that teacher in elementary school who rewarded you with stickers every time you reached a goal or finished your homework? Time to become that teacher! Set little goals and reward yourself when you reach them. Every time I reach my writing goal, I buy myself ice cream. Sometimes it’s a 10,000 word goal, but sometimes it’s just a motivation to plop my butt in a chair and type up 2,000 words. Working towards big goals are great, but if it takes you five years of writing to finish a first draft of your novel, you’re going to get worn out if you hold out for the big goal. Use a combination of big and little goals. Find what motivates you!
- Buy a Wrist Brace
As I said earlier, I’ve recently dealt with pain in both my wrists, especially the right one. If you type a lot, I suggest you invest in a good brace. Carpal Tunnel is rampant among creatives, and after hearing horror stories of surgeries and meds and sometimes numbness in the arm, I promise you don’t want to go down that path. I recently bought the Futuro For Her Slim Silhouette Wrist Support from Target. At $22, it’s affordable, fairly flexible, and perfect to wear while writing, cleaning, or even cooking. I wear mine an hour or two a day and it has drastically decreased the pain.
- Eat Healthy
I know. I inwardly cringe at the idea of giving up junk food too. I am writing this post while eating a banana split, so you know…
However, a healthy diet, a few walks, and maintaining your weight helps you physically and emotionally.
(Need a diet to follow? I highly recommend trying this book. It’s about staying healthy, not just dropping off the pounds, and you don’t stay hungry on this diet.)
- Take a Bath and Soak
A hot bath in some Epsom salts helps the body relax and unwind. Epsom salts and essential oils are great for the skin and sore muscles, so run to Walmart and pick up a bag in the cosmetics section!
- Find another creative outlet for when you’re upset
Sometimes, even writing doesn’t help my anxiety and depression, and that’s when I pull out the coloring book and pencils or a book on my TBR list. If you hate coloring, try knitting or woodworking, or considering taking a class to learn a new hobby. Also, if you want to excercise more, try yoga.
- Consider Counseling
Even if you’re not depressed or anxious doesn’t mean you don’t have things you need to talk about. Many creatives use their art as a way to work through issues, and while that’s completely healthy, a little counseling goes a long way for a good self-care routine.
- Make yourself laugh at least once a day
I don’t mean a little chuckle. I mean a pee your pants kind of laughing fit.
I’ve never been a sunshine kind of person (kind of obvious with depression and anxiety), but I love to laugh. When I’m having a panic attack or just a really bad day, I get on Pinterest and search “humor” or “autocorrect fails” or “puppies.” It always lifts my mood in a matter of minutes. Youtube is another great option.
An Extra Tip:
Get a good chiropractor! I’ve been going to one for several years, and it’s the reason I don’t have more back and wrist problems. It’s also helped my pollen allergies and migraines. Highly recommend!
I’ve also heard massages are great for severe back pain, though they aren’t my thing.
As always, hope these suggestions help!
Thanks for all the emails. I loved reading them