Self-Care for Writers – Vacation

Good self-care includes breaks.

Which is why I am on vacation this week. I’m visiting my Dad and enjoying his company very much. However, he doesn’t want to be on social media, so I’m just sharing the cosy spot on his balcony where we share meals when it’s nice and warm.

Give yourself breaks. This is a very low-cost one (just the train tickets, really), and it’s incredibly restorative.

I’ll be back to posting full articles next week.

Dad's balcony

Dad’s Balcony

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Self-Care for Writers – Walking

Walking

Walking

I’m going to stay just a little longer with that terrible word: Exercise.

But since I believe that gyms provide a most unnatural way of exercising and  are about the most evil invention ever (granted, they are helpful if you need to strengthen some specific parts of your body), you won’t ever get a recommendation for gym work from me.

Instead, I want to suggest something else entirely:

Walking.

Humans evolved as hunters and gatherers. Which means that walking (and sometimes running) are the most natural kinds of moving around. And walking is safer than running, for your joints and your heart, and in combination with dogs. Ahem.

So get up and walk – start today!

Now, I’m in the lucky position that I can actually walk to work. It’s a mere 2 km (a little more than a mile), and I do it twice every day, in about 17 minutes straight. In fact, I take a little detour on my way back to walk through a park which takes a couple of minutes more.

I’m also aware that I live in Germany and am very fortunate that there are lots and lots of public sidewalks, dirt roads and hiking paths freely available to the public. And in fact, most forests are open to the public, too, even if they are privately owned. They cannot be fenced in. So getting good walks here is easy.

Even so, I encourage you to find a route in your neighborhood that you can walk daily.

Daily! Yes, indeed.

It’s a nice addition to the little hourly dance I suggested last week, because it’ll get your body’s systems up and moving for a longer time, adding stamina.

Also, don’t use headphones during that walk.

Why not?

Because if you walk with your senses engaged in your surroundings, you are safer. And you reconnect to nature, even in town. You can probably see and hear birds, listen to the wind in trees and feel it on your skin. But you need to be aware to do so, and you won’t be if you’re shutting out the environment by listening to a book or music.

A walk is also a great time to daydream about your stories. I’ve found many a plot twist on my walks to and from work. It seems that moving your body can also jog that old brain.

If you’re out on a walk and you don’t take your smartphone – eeeek! – you can also think without being disturbed by anyone. And honestly, a 20 min break away from being online won’t cost you anything, but it may bring you some peace.

Reconnect with nature.

The best thing about daily walks? They reconnect you to the rhythm of nature. Yes, you might get wet once in a while because rain is part of that, but you’ll also experience the seasons.

Once you have found your route, you’ll notice little changes every day. Flowers that come and go, even if they are just weeds in the cracks. Different kinds of birds…. you might even learn to identify their calls.

I saw a wren sing for the first time in my life just a couple of weeks ago – on my walk to work. I stopped for a minute or two to watch and listen. It’s a little moment of joy that I hold in my memories.

A little walking can give you a lot.

So if you’re like me and you sit at the computer way too much every day, do consider setting aside 20 or 30 minutes for a walk every day. You don’t need a dog for that. And you could even make it a “worthwhile” tour by getting groceries or taking pictures or using it as your plotting time. Just allow yourself to be aware of nature while you do.

And if you think you can’t… well, here’s some tapping to make it easier for you.

Even though I live in a place that doesn’t let me enjoy a walk, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to explore anyway.

Even though it feels dangerous to leave the house and walk along the lane without a sidewalk, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to do it carefully and with lots of common sense.

Even though I don’t really want to get up and move, and taking half an hour out of my day seems like too much, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to experiment with that for a couple of days.

Your Turn:
What do you think about regular walks?
Do you have a good route to walk?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Moving

Dancing on the Spot

Dancing on the Spot

I think for many writers there is a nasty four-letter word that’s spelled with eight letters: Exercise.

I mean, we usually sit at a desk in front of a computer (like old-fashioned me) or somewhere with a laptop or even cell phone, but usually we sit, and the only parts of our body that really move are just our fingers.

Exercise simply takes precious writing time, especially if you’re scraping out your writing time from work, caring for a family and having other obligations.

So for now, I’ll just say “moving”. Because that’s a form of exercise that doesn’t sound as dangerous, does it?

There are lots of ways to get moving.

Now I’m in the happy position that I can walk to my day job, which takes me roughly 20 minutes each way. That is pretty good, and yet I’m not really in good shape. But if you can add 20 minutes of walking at a good clip to your day, you’ll already get a lot more movement than most writers.

Alternatively, you can get a dog and walk it every day. That’ll give you more than 20 minutes of moving around, but of course, having a dog does take more than just walking it.

I also know authors who use a standing desk, and it helps them to move around more and still write at the same time. Taking this idea a little further, I suppose one could install a treadmill under the standing desk.

I even know a handful of authors who dictate their writing while hiking up a mountain.

By now, I think you’re really shaking your head.

Nope, not your kind of exercise. And you don’t have the time for it, either.

So I have a little suggestion.

In fact, I do this, not as often as I should, but I do it more often than not:

1. Set your computer to remind you every hour on the hour to move around a little.
2. Get up and dance on the spot for a minute or two when it does.
3. Repeat every hour that you’re on the computer.

This will get your heart rate up a little, it’ll make you breathe a little deeper and faster, and that’s all it’s supposed to do. And this will change your metabolism, get your blood flowing and make you feel alive. Plus, maybe it’ll also help to regrow some of those atrophied muscles. (I’m joking!)

And it only takes a minute!

That’s perfectly doable!

And I’m offering a little tapping to help you enjoy these little breaks from sitting and focusing on the screen.

Even though I really hate exercise and I feel so guilty for not exercising, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to find ways of moving around that fit me and my life-style.

Even though just the word “exercise” can make me feel bad and guilty, and possibly furious, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to find good ways to move around more.

Even though I really hate the social pressure to “exercise”, and I don’t have time for any horrible gym anyway, I’m totally okay, and I now choose to find perfect ways of putting more movement into my day.

Your Turn:
What are your feelings about exercise?
Do you have a good routine to move around?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Insomnia

I can't sleep

I can’t sleep

There are few things worse than trying to fall asleep and failing. Getting angry at not being able to sleep, which of course makes everything worse. And feeling bad for not getting all the nice sleep you scheduled after reading last week’s post.

I’ve been there.

In my case, it was made worse by a snoring partner (those days are gone, though), and by a lot of worry. I think worry is actually the thing that is behind most of the times when we cannot stop the brain from thinking.

My brain serves up anything from worry to character dialogue to old incidences that still bother me to imagined disputes with imagined people, trouble with the electricity company… you’re probably nodding because you know all this.

Well, most of that stopped after I discovered EFT.

Because that tapping is a fast way to relieve stress and calm the body and mind. It helps to regulate the vagus system (which is that part of the nervous system that rules over healing, digestion, sex and relaxation). The vagus system is turned off if you have too much adrenalin rushing through your body aka too much stress. Instead, you’re in fight/flight mode, which is anything but conductive to sleep.

Unfortunately, being worried can become quite a thought habit.

And if your busy, busy, busy all day long and manage to ignore all that worry in order to get stuff done, your brain catches up with the amount of worry due when you curl up in bed and try to sleep.

Which is why the EFT tapping phrases I’ll offer below are about reducing the amount of worrying in your life.

A special EFT trick can help.

But before I do that, I want to share a trick that I sometimes use when I have trouble falling asleep. It does require that you are somewhat familiar with the EFT points, so you might go and look at the tapping video again where I explain the points. (The Tapping Video)

Now, doing full tapping rounds while lying in bed is a tad annoying. If I need that, I do it in my mind, but that does take a bit of experience as well. The trick is much simpler:

Put two fingers on the first EFT point (Inner Eye) and take a slow, comfortable breath, as deep as feels good for you. When you’re done, move to the next point (Outer Eye) and repeat. Go through all the points if you can, but at least go to the Collar Bone one – the others are less easy to reach.

Do another round if you aren’t calm enough after the first one.

Usually, this calms down the mind, the body and allows you to fall asleep.

In addition, it really helps to develop a habit of thinking about something calming in bed, like imagining a lovely beach, a waterfall, a sunny clearing or something similarly soothing. (Yes, you know that, but it rarely works for you. Try that after the breathing exercise and make it a habit.)

The good news is that insomnia isn’t a fate you’re saddled with all your life. Now you have something you can do! And the next step is to release as much of the underlying worry as you can.

Here are your tapping sentences:

Even though I’m so used to worrying about everything in my life, it’s something I learned to keep me safe, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to unlearn that old programming and stop that worrying right now!

Even though I was taught to worry and to expect bad things in order to be protected, I’m totally okay, and I now realize that this thought habit is not helping me at all, so I’m letting it go now.

Even though all this worrying keeps me from getting enough sleep and really makes my days harder than they need to be, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of that harmful thought habit and focus on nice things while falling asleep.

Your Turn:
What are your experiences with insomnia?
What do you routinely think about while in bed?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Sleep

Getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep

Today, I’m escalating the rest topic, and will talk about getting enough sleep. I know so many friends who are so busy that they don’t get enough sleep. Or cut their sleep time short on purpose as a habit. It scares me. I don’t even think that pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline will yield good results. I will explain below.

Let me start with a little memory:

At a coaching event, one of the speakers described her new method to become an even more successful business owner: Limit her sleep to five hours per day, and use the new-found time to get even more done. She was serious and quite proud that she had trained her body to get along on just five hours. And she suggested that everyone could and should do that, and stop wasting so much time on “useless sleep”. Anyone getting more than five hours of sleep was a slacker in her eyes.

I was appalled.

This is the most self-destructive decision and suggestion I can imagine. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Rest

Rest

Rest

Let’s start with the big and obvious one: Rest.

If you’re a bit like me, you work pushing yourself, trying to get stuff done, finish the book, the editing, the formatting… and you ignore the effect all that focused work has on your mind and body.

Here’s an easy test:

Close your eyes for a moment.
Be aware of how that feels.

When I do that and get the sense I could keel over and fall asleep right away – then I know it’s beyond time for rest. It’s a quick way to check in with your body, especially if you – like me – live practically glued to your computer and the never-ending activities that demand attention.

Rest can take many forms for me, and you need to figure out what works best for you.

Just to give you a range of options, this is what I do: Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Permission

Permission to relax

Permission to Relax

Before we get into what you can do for self-care, and all the little things that make life better if you actually do them (ahem), I want to take one step back with you.

Because before you can actually really work on self-care, you have to give yourself permission to do so.

If you don’t, you’ll go through the motions and still feel bad about it. You’ll need lots more willpower to keep exercising, cooking meals or getting enough sleep. It will be hard – and it doesn’t have to be if you take the time for this small but fundamental step.

I’m quite serious about this, and I often do this with clients.

You see, modern culture has a tendency to value money above everything else. We also measure success in money earned. And in order to earn that money, we have to spend time creating our products – our books, pieces of art, and possibly working in a day job on top of that. A lot of time.

And any time we do not spend being productive, working on something that will bring us money, can be seen as wasted time. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Introduction

Love your body

Love your body

Most of us are either freelancers or people with a day job who write when we make time for it. And I know how much time writing can take – especially when a story is flowing well and exciting things happen, or when you’re getting ready for a launch.

And I can be honest with you: I find it difficult to maintain good self-care in times of stress as well. So I know how that goes…

Of course, we also all know that it is important to get regular, healthy meals, get some exercise, get enough sleep (!!), and keep a healthy mindset going.

All of that takes time away from writing, however. And from making money.

So we tend to cut it short.

Eat at the desk while checking FB.  (Or on the sofa if you use a laptop.)

Decide to exercise tomorrow. Or never.

Skip meals or eat oatmeal all day.

Tell ourselves that sleep is overrated…

And in the long run, this kind of behavior exacts a price.

Now, I live in Germany, a place with health insurance, so things usually don’t get completely dire. But we have our own little obesity epidemic here. We generally lag behind American trends, but they usually show up here, as well. So yes, the warning signs are there.

The simple truth is: We need to take good care of ourselves.

And this is why I’m creating this blog series. In the next months we’ll explore beliefs and blocks to taking good care of ourselves while we write. We’ll take a look at family system dynamics which do have an influence on our health and health habits. And I’ll give you lots of tapping suggestions to help you shift your habits into healthier ones.

Because I want you to keep writing and stay productive for a long time!

Here’s some tapping to help you pay more attention to self-care and staying healthy.

Even though I hardly find enough time to write, and I can only do so by cutting into my time for sleep and self-care, I’m okay the way I am, and I’m now open to the possibility of finding a better balance between writing and health.

Even though I learned to live on little sleep and it’s okay for me, so I can write, I’m okay the way I am, and I now choose to take a good look at how healthy my life really is.

Even though all I want is to write and get books out, and finally earn money that way, I’m okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to take a step back and look at how I treat myself – and possibly change that.

Your Turn:
What comes up when you hear or read “self-care”?
How hard do you push yourself every day?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Conclusion

My book

My book!

Today, we come to the end of the blog series about the author’s mindset when publishing. And I can tell you from experience that the whole process is not for the weak-minded.

(Insert long story of mix-ups with Amazon and CreateSpace, delivery of wrong books etc. I might eventually tell it…)

The one thing all authors need when embarking on publishing their work is resilience.

Because there will be setbacks. There will be errors, days or weeks or months with no sales, bad reviews, and nasty readers. You will lose money over ads, or maybe a cover design. You’ll freak out about spelling errors. There will be days when you ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

All of this is enough to stop someone.

And you can’t let it stop you.

Or you will no longer be an author. Continue reading

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The Publishing Author’s Mindset – Dealing with a Bad Review

Bad Review

Bad Review

It will happen eventually, once your book is available. A bad review will drop, and you will actually read it.

And cringe.

What happens then totally depends on your mindset.

You could go into a death spiral of doubt and self-loathing, crying in devastation. You could lose sleep over this for at least three days, and it could stop you writing for a week or longer. Maybe forever.

Or you could laugh, cheer and keep writing with even more joy. You might print it and frame it and stick it on the wall at your writing desk, grinning every time you look at it.

Obviously, both reactions are a little exaggerated.

Now, we’d all prefer the second kind of reaction, but it’s hard to get there, right?

Because that bad review strikes at your heart.

That reader completely misunderstood your story.  They trampled on your characters, your world and your plot. Or they just dissed your book with no reason at all.

Either way, it hurts. Continue reading

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