Self-care has become synonymous with bubble baths, candles, overpriced dessert, and putting off work that needs to be done. While this mindset can be problematic, it’s also true that we all need to unwind and destress from time to time to avoid burnout.
I’ve picked up a few habits that I specifically use as a kind of writer’s self-care. They help me loosen up, take some of the pressure off myself, and actually feel good about my writing practice. Here are my favorites.
In my experience, you really have to commit to yoga to get much out of it. You can just go through the motions and have a nice stretch or even a decent low-impact workout. But (cheesy as it sounds) if you make an effort to be present and tap into the meditation aspect of yoga, it can be a really nice way to recharge your mental batteries, too.
I’m a fan of the Yoga for Writers flow by Yoga With Adriene. Yes, some parts are a little hokey. However, it offers a lot of advantages as well:
- It’s beginner-friendly. You don’t have to worry about any handstands or complex poses that involve twisting three of your limbs into unnatural positions.
- There’s a lot of guided breathing and mindfulness built into the flow.
- Several of the poses provide deep stretches for the upper back/chest/shoulder region, which is ideal for someone who spends many hours hunched over a keyboard.
I try to practice this flow at least once a week. Of course, you can also always check out your nearest yoga studio for in-person classes.
2. Take a Walk
If you’re feeling frustrated, stuck, or just plain unmotivated, try taking a walk. Not only does movement and light exercise help boost your creativity, but getting outside for a little bit each day can also improve your mood.
Time and weather permitting, you might even consider heading over to your nearest park for a change of scenery.
Chances are, you didn’t get into writing for the money. However, it’s easy to lose sight of your passion when you’re bogged down with worries about what other people will think of your work.
Journaling is an opportunity to write without the fear of scrutiny. It can be as simple as jotting down as few sentences about your day, or as involved as brainstorming your next story. Whatever approach you decide to take, the point is to free yourself from the pressure that may be hanging over you when try to sit down and work on your latest project.
4. Enjoy a Favorite Warm Drink
Indulgent beverages are another self-care staple, for writers and everyone else. Whether you’re a coffee devotee or tea enthusiast, settling in with a warm cup of something is a great way to unwind – or to prepare yourself for a writing marathon.
Reading is an excellent form of self-care for writers. Chances are, it’s one of your favorite hobbies anyway. Plus, it can be a source of inspiration, or a chance to learn new techniques.
It can be especially beneficial to read outside your normal genre. Wake your brain up with something unexpected, be it a fantasy epic, a contemporary poetry collection, or an old classic you never got around to in high school.
6. Do Something Creative That’s Completely Unrelated to Writing
While journaling and reading can be relaxing methods to give your writing practice a jump, sometimes you just need to disengage from a project entirely for a while.
Whether you’ve just finished a first draft and want to come back to it with fresh eyes for revision, or you’re in a rut and not sure where to take your piece next, stepping back is often the best solution.
In the meantime, to keep yourself from obsessing over your project, try picking up a creative hobby that has nothing to do with writing. It should be something you can approach without high expectations for yourself – an outlet, rather than another source of tension and frustration.
Some ideas include:
- Painting or watercolors
- Knitting or crocheting
- Playing an instrument
But really, the possibilities are nearly endless.
It’s easy to lose steam and become unmotivated when you’re writing. Sometimes you just need a little extra push to refresh yourself so you’re ready to tackle the blank page again.
Next time you’re starting to feel burned out, consider trying one (or several) of these self-care tips for writers:
- Do yoga
- Take a walk
- Enjoy your favorite warm drink
- Do something creative that’s not related to writing
Want to see more posts like this one? Make sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter and follow me on Instagram!
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash.