Blogger’s Note: Due to the holiday season, this blog will be on hiatus until Monday, January 8, 2018.
Friday finally arrived. Christmas was ten days away, and quite frankly, work had kept me on my toes and my mind constantly engaged. Long story short, I was pooped and wanted nothing more to go home and curl up in my pajamas. Not to mention, I was struggling with what I could only define as a low-grade virus. I knew what I needed to do: Throttle back and rest. Hard to do when it’s close to Christmas.
Even during normal, everyday life, it’s easy to get run down. We can get sick by not taking good care of ourselves. We writers aren’t immune to this, especially if we work full time as well. Here’s some statements.
- I have a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings and I constantly feel like I need a nap.
- I go between feeling good and getting the shakes.
- Climbing a set of stairs winds me and makes my legs quiver.
- Sometimes, I don’t think clearly and feel thirsty a lot.
- I feel distant from God.
I think at one point or another, we all can say we’ve agreed with these statements or something similar. It’s a signal that we’re not taking the best care of ourselves. Below are ways to address these issues.
- Get enough sleep. I know. I know. Easy to say and hard to do, especially for writers who work full time. I constantly have a full plate of things to do. Combine that with my night-owl tendencies, and I routinely don’t get enough sleep. Still, sleep is crucial. Aim for seven hours by turning off the computer at a certain time and avoiding the blue light that comes from computer, tablet, and phone screens. I recently discovered a feature offered by Windows 10 that will start adding shades of warm light at an hour I set. It’s a way to start calming my body, but it’s also a signal to shut down and head to bed.
- Eat right. I think everyone struggles with this. I do. We need to have a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, and carbs. Since I’m not a diet expert, I’m not going to get into details, but there are plenty of resources out there related to eating right. I also suggest counting calories since it’s easy to overeat in our culture. Several apps can assist with this.
- Work out. In writing, we exercise our minds all of the time. We also need to exercise our bodies. Workouts don’t have to be two hours of lifting or sweating it out running or in a spin class. Thirty minutes of activity a day can work really well. Again, the Internet contains a vast collection of resources on this topic. The important thing is to be intentional because we’ll have more energy and feel better in general.
- Drink water. In terms of taking care of our bodies, staying hydrated should be at the top of our list. Remember that we’re 75 percent water. To get dehydrated, even a little, can impact our bodily functions, muddle our thinking, and mess with our emotions. If we writers can’t think clearly, how can we write? Aim to drink water each day.
- Have daily time with God. Many times when talking about taking care of ourselves, we forget the spiritual side. As a writer, I’ve come to understand how having time in God’s Word centers me and enables me to deal with the twists and changes in life both writing and in my day job. It’s taken me years to find a time to have with God. I’ve finally decided on mornings before the worries of the day crowd my time. I journal. I read scripture. And I simply sit and clear my head. I suggest something similar.
It’s hard. I know it is because I’ve struggled with everything I’ve discussed above. Yet when I do these things, I feel so much better. Try it for a month. I know you’ll feel better as well. If you don't, then it's probably time to see your doctor for a good checkup.
Question: What are ways in which you take care of yourself?
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