As the carefree days of summer wind down and we find ourselves facing some of the busiest months of the year, I thought I’d share some of my go-to strategies for self-care and dealing with stress. Self-care has become a bit of a buzz word lately, and all that hoopla can sometimes make it sound less accessible for us regular humans. But it can be really simple—and really helpful.
1.) Take a Breath
It seems silly, reminding yourself to breathe, but try it. Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and take a long, deep breath. It’s amazing what that simple action can do for your body and mind.
2.) Take a Break
Experts say you should get up from your desk and move around at least once an hour. This can be hard to do for an author in the writing zone, or for an editor who’s just gotten into an editing rhythm. But getting up out of your seat will help clear your mind and jog ideas.
3.) Take a Walk
If you’re feeling stressed or just in a bit of a brain fog, grab your sneakers and head outside. The crisper, clearer air of fall is the perfect weather for a stroll. The exercise will energize you and can help you work through a problem. If you tend to brainstorm on your walks, however, you may want to record your thoughts, or bring a pad of paper so you can write down your ideas before you forget them. And take it from me, you will forget!
4.) Take it Offline
This can be hard for authors and editors, too, because it’s part of our job to be online. But there’s also a lot of negative crap out there and going dark can remind you that you don’t have to own that negativity. And if you’re going through your own rough times, it can help to talk to someone one-on-one.
5.) Take Time
Time can feel like a luxury in this fast-paced age—there never seems to be enough of it to get through your to-do list. So prioritize yourself. Block off some time for your favorite activity. Treat yourself to a small luxury. The laundry will still be there.
6.) Take Your Zzzzs
Go to sleep! Sleeping is amazing, and it’s good for you. Most North Americans don’t get enough sleep. And most of the time it’s because we’re watching movies or shows we’ve already seen! You will be more productive, less cranky, eat better and live longer. Ok, I can’t guarantee that last one, but trust me, this is good advice.
7.) Take it Easy
And I don’t mean throw all of your responsibilities away and live on a beach in the Maldives (at least not before you send your editor that second draft 😉). What I mean is, try not to be too hard on yourself. Don’t aim for perfection, or to be Superwoman. Just be you. Because you’re ok. It’s going to be ok.
Those are my self-care go-tos. What are yours?