One of my main writing mentors, as regular readers will know, is the inspirational Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently about her promoting her latest book “The Healthy Writer”.
I’m not a full-time writer (yet!) but it’s made me pause and reflect more on my own health and self-care.
Recently I’ve been plagued by headaches that last a few days at a time. They’re not quite at the level of full-on migraines, but they do leave me feeling rather incapacitated and frustrated that I can’t do what I’d like to do. A spare half an hour to edit another chapter of my book? No thanks, all I want to do is lie down in a darkened room!
The message that I’m receiving loud and clear is that I need to make it a priority to look after myself. I’m not doing myself or my family any favours if allow myself to get run-down and end up lying in that darkened room instead of doing something more productive.
With the headaches, I realise I need to look more seriously at ways to reduce stress, rest my eyes, drink more water and check my posture.
I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment too because I haven’t been able to run for three months, due to a recurrence of plantar fasciitis in my right foot. I know that this may sound a bit strange to the non-runners out there, but running is my main stress-reliever, and I’m really feeling the effects of not being able to tie on my running shoes and jog up to the seafront and back when I feel like I need to get away and breathe in the fresh sea air.
On the upside, it means I have more motivation to do yoga more regularly now, since not only is it a great stress-reliever and great for posture and flexibility, but it also helps to build back strength in my foot and massage the damaged tendons.
In an effort to drink more water I invested in a new water bottle that has a little sippy straw. I find that it’s much easier to drink more water that way.
I’ve also been looking into spending more time in prayer and meditation. I’ve found a great app called ‘Jesus Words Meditations’ and I’m trying to do those more regularly.
Watching my diet is always important for various reasons – I’ve found I’ve gained a few pounds from not being able to run! I cut out sugar as a New Year’s Resolution and so far (as of February 7th) I’ve managed to stick to it. The next vice to try to cut out, probably, is crisps (aka potato chips).
Finally, as an introvert, it’s really important to guard my ‘me-time’. My Wednesday writing afternoons are one of the highlights of my week, and I fight to protect them from things that would otherwise so easily encroach. I’m also trying to carve out the odd half an hour here and there during the daytimes when I can disappear with a good book, but this is not easily done as a homeschooling mum of four, one of whom is only three! But something that has changed since the New Year is that I now view my morning ‘quiet time’ as a real priority, and if I haven’t managed to sit down with my Bible before I have to take my little one to pre-school, then I’ll make sure I have fifteen minutes to do so when I come back before I start school with the older two.
Self-care isn’t just important for writers, obviously! I’d love to hear what your priorities or goals are for this year as you think about your own health and wellness, so do comment below!