I am very thrilled to have Dave Chesson here once again! If you don’t know Dave, he’s the amazing Kindle Kindle Marketing Jedi and brains behind Kindlepreneur.com and the KDP Rocket (link at bottom of post). He’s someone I highly recommend writers follow!
Last year, I was incredibly moved by a post Steena shared here on this very site.
I felt a mixture of strong emotions. Admiration for her bravery. Compassion for her family. Not to mention a desire to help if possible.
But could I really help? Was it my place to even say anything?
After giving time for my feelings to settle, I figured there was only thing I could do.
To take what I’ve learned during my author career, not to mention my prior life as a military member, and condense it into a blog post with the aim of offering self-care tips.
After all, we’re going to struggle. It’s not pleasant but it is certain.
However, we have a choice in how we respond. Just as Steena has shown incredible strength and courage, we can respond to life’s challenges in a way which gives us the best odds of making it through.
Today, I’m ready to share my ideas on self care for writers. I’m a firm believer that prevention is better than cure. By following these tips, you can help keep yourself in tiptop condition, mentally and physically, in order to cope better when times get tough.
Let me be the first to admit I don’t have a perfect diet.
Heck, if you’ve ever seen me demolishing a frozen pizza with my son, you’ll know this to be the case!
However, I also know the role that nutrition plays in energy, mood, and mental clarity.
I’m blessed with a wife who takes nutrition seriously. After a tough morning trying to hit my word count, I’m often delighted by a delicious and nutritious meal.
I also have completed some pretty arduous physical challenges, such as triathlons, and I know that the right food played an important role.
I’m not pretending to be a dietician or a nutritional expert. Just a fellow traveller trying to share what he’s learned.
From an writer self-care perspective, I’d suggest the following ideas:
- Be cautious about caffeine. I am a coffee lover, and a Red Bull devotee when the situation necessitates it! However, I consciously detox from caffeine now and then. This helps to lower tolerance and offers the body the opportunity to reset.
- Find a nutritious diet that works for you. I’m not here to advocate one approach or the other. I’m a firm believer that a wide range of eating philosophies can be effective. Find something you enjoy, feel energized by, and fits in with your broader lifestyle.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you eat something you didn’t intend to. Be forgiving, kind, and willing to get back on track.
Ultimately, our entire lifestyle impacts our work as writers. Your written output is impacted by your nutritional input.
You’ve probably read about the dangers of excess sitting.
If you have the freedom to work from home, it can be easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting at the desk while writing, maybe drive to and from somewhere in the evening, settle back into a comfy chair to read.
A lack of physical activity nas negative consequences for your overall health as well as your work as a writer.
You don’t need to do anything crazy like become gym-goer of the year. Let me share with you a few ways to incorporate motion into your daily routine as a writer.
- Take a walk outside. This is a simple form of exercise which also is known to fuel creativity and deep thinking. If you really want to, you can also use the time to listen to a podcast or audiobook. That way, you’re working while walking!
- Get a standing desk. This might not be an expense you see as worthwhile at this point in time, but it’s a good solution if you’re worried about sitting down too much.
- Pair up. Find a fellow author, either online or offline, and hold each other accountable. Help each other stay motivated to carry out some form of physical activity on a regular basis. This has been proven to be more effective than doing it alone.
Staying active will make you a better writer as well as a healthier person overall.
It sounds basic, but it’s pretty easy to neglect our eyes.
This is especially true for writers. After all, we’re often staring at a screen or a book. This can have negative consequences in several ways.
How can we ensure we are taking proper care of our eyes as authors?
- Be aware of blue light. Too much blue light is unnatural. If you ever struggle to get to sleep, it may be because your brain is stimulated by the unnatural blue light from an electronic device, which your body then interprets as a signal to stay awake. Consider using a blue light filter on your device, or purchasing a protective filtration system.
- It’s good to regularly look away from the screen. This can help keep both your long and short sight balanced. One method is to look away from the screenevery 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, at an object roughly 20 yards away.
- Get regular eye checks. Using the wrong glasses or lenses, especially when staring at a laptop as us writers tend to, can be hazardous for your health.
It’s often the most important things that we neglect. Eye health certainly falls under this category. Be sure to take care of yours.
If we’re honest, finances are one of the most stressful areas of life for a lot of people.
This can be especially true for writers, especially if we juggle our creative pursuits with providing for a family.
We might want to invest in book advertising, but we also worry about whether the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Worrying about money raises levels of cortisol in the body. This can impact sleep, weight loss, and mental focus.
So what are some of the ways authors can take control of their financial situation, and lessen the stress you experience from it?
- Have a plan in place. Often, the stress from finance comes from it being out of control. There are some great books out there, such as those from Tony Robbinsand Ramit Sethi. Having a plan in place makes money a lot less stressful.
- Be aware of the financial outlays involved in self-publishing. This allows you to plan ahead for costs your publishing projects will incur.
- Switch your mentality from ‘expense’ to ‘investment’. If you stick at it with your writing, you should eventually make more money than you spend. It will take different people different amounts of time to get to this stage. However, it’s well worth pursuing.
Money is very much a double-edged sword. It can be a source of great freedom or great stress. One of the most important things you can do to care for yourself as a writer is get your financial situation handled and a watertight plan in place.
Attitude & Values
So far, I’ve explored a range of practical issues you can take to improve your health and happiness as an author.
I’ve saved the deepest, but also arguably the most difficult, for last.
Ultimately, our attitudes and values are the most powerful tool in our self-care arsenal.
So many things are outside of our control. Tragic events happen. The world will be unfair to you.
What’s the one thing we can control?
The internal response we have to the things that happen to us.
Now please don’t mistake me. I’m not preaching. I am a flawed writer just like anyone else. I’m not saying I’ve got all these things handled. It’s a constant process.
However, I firmly believe that making a conscious effort to work on our attitudes and beliefs is an invaluable gift we are all capable of giving ourselves as authors.
- Are you familiar with the Stoics? It’s a philosophical school of thought from the time of the Roman Empire. My personal take on it is being ultimately steady and consistent no matter what befalls you. This means not getting too wrapped up in negative or positive events as they are temporary. For writers, this can mean not getting too egotistical after a successful book, and not getting too dejected after a bad review or a flop. Both the positive and the negative will eventually pass. You, however, remain.
- Explore the deeper purpose for your work. Why is it you write? For me, I have chosen my path as an author so that I can a) serve others while b) being home to take care of my family. Your reason might well be different. When we have a deeper ‘why’, the ‘whats and hows’ become a lot easier to manage.
- Never allow yourself to stagnate as a writer. Learning new skills through an online writing class, mentoring your fellow writers, trying a new genre– keep it fresh in order to stay engaged and motivated!
When you have your internal beliefs and values handled, every other aspect of your life becomes easier. This is because you have a reliable moral compass to use for your decisions.
Self Care For Writers – Final Thoughts
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ideas on self care from a writer’s perspective.
It’s my sincere wish that at least one of these ideas resonates with you and makes a positive impact on your writing life.
If you have any thoughts on these ideas, or some other self care ideas you’d like to share, it would truly be a pleasure to hear from you in the comments.
Kindle Marketing Jedi, Kindlepreneur.com
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