It’s October, meaning all the leaves light up like illuminations, then promptly fall within a week. Alas, such is autumn in Canada.
As I was looking through some possible things I could talk about in the Author Health series, it came upon my mind how vital self care is to authors. And not just actually authors, but anyone.
After I do self care, I’m more energized and feel…well, recharged. Like when you plug your phone in when it’s dying.
Without proper self care, we become that dying phone.
So without further ado, I present to you 5 Self Care I Like to Do.
1: Taking A Walk
I know, I know, I sound like some old lady with a walking stick. But hear me out. Walking is actually a very good form of meditation when you focus on the act of walking alone. I personally dislike sitting around and meditating, because I automatically sit in seiza like I do in karate. And after I do meditation, I begin the gruelling training sessions.
At least, that’s the feeling I get.
So instead when I feel stressed or tired out, I take a walk. I like to take short walks around the neighbourhood that barely spans five to ten minutes, and super long walks spanning hours.
I love getting outside because it allows me to come out of my head. And as authors, that is one of the most important things to learn since we get so caught up in our stories and works and whatnots.
2: Having a Bath
Yes, I used to have a bath everyday. Yes, I’m Japanese. Thank you for asking.
It’s a little unrelated to the topic, but I have had terrible eczema since childhood. I also have like a bazillion allergies to keep track of, and asthma on top of that. So whenever I got particularly stressed, all of these factors would combine and attack me at the same time. Which, for your information, is not fun at all. (Rather dreadful, I say.)
Having a bath with essential oil–like tea tree or lavender–always calms down my sensitive skin. It also helps my body relax. Soaking in the hot bath and just letting your mind settle down in the heavenly scents of aroma is one of the perfect self-care. Even if you don’t have a full bath, soaking your feet in hot water instantly warms up your body and re-invigorates your blood circulation.
3: Throwing Yourself a Tea Party
If you have been with me for a while now, you would probably know just how much I love drinking tea. (I drink coffee, but usually diluted with 70% soy milk and cream.) In fact, I probably drink at least five cups of tea per day…which is partly because I grew up in a tea drinking culture, and we always have a kettle full of tea.
But what I’m talking about here is not just simple tea drinking whilst you bang out thousands of words.
It’s called throwing a tea party.
This is where you drop everything you’re doing, salvage a nice set of tea cups or mugs, excavate cookies and pastries that go along the occasion, brew yourself a wonderful cup (or cups) of tea, and enjoy that moment like you’re a sophisticated Victorian lady.
And, you don’t even need to invite other people. (You’re more than welcome to, of course, but I find it much better when I am alone.) I mean, it would also depend if you’re an introvert or an extrovert… *goes to hide my extreme introversion in the closet*
4: Going out on a Date
Didn’t see that coming, did you? Here you were thinking I was going to be your friendly old-maid fifty-years-down-the-road, and I pull up “Going out on a Date”. And you thought I was introverted!
Well, calm yourselves down, since I don’t mean anything like a modern date. What I really mean is, set up a date with one of your girlfriends (that would be my Mum and my sister) and go out into the world to have some fun!
For example, my sister and I are going out on a date this very afternoon. We’ll go to the wonderful central branch library to drop off books and pick up a few holds, go to Muji and drool over organic clothes and pens, perhaps get something to drink at a coffee shop, and go to a department store.
See? Doesn’t that sound absolutely lovely?
And even when we don’t go out “out”, we might throw a karaoke party and sing Vocaloid songs until our throats have failed us, paint our nails, do a little spa activity. That sort of stuff.
(I do apologise to any of the gentlemen in the audience today. It is kind of turning out to be rather girly and all.)
5: Reading Inspirational Books + Listening to Music
And lastly, one of the simplest yet effective self care activities: Reading inspirational books and listening to music.
Notice here I don’t say just books. I said inspirational books. This is because, as authors, when we are so drained from writing or the work that comes from writing related activities, sometimes we don’t even want to read books. Let alone see them.
I’ve been there a few times when I was so overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to make my story work (“Just please by the name of Aslan, work thyself out!”) that I didn’t want to read other people’s stories. I know, drastic. But it happens.
So when you’re feeling extremely burnt out, sometimes the best thing to do is pick up one of those self-help books or a mindless read–perhaps a fluffy YA contemporary–and listen to music while you’re at it.
I myself personally recommend reading the Bible or books like Carrie Pilby (my new book love) and play some Delius or Strauss or lo-fi. Chopin’s études are also fun to listen to. Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, Liszt and the like are too grand for my liking.
Anyhow, the point is this: You pick up a book that you know to be inspiring, and listen to light-hearted music. That’s basically it.
And with that, I conclude the 5 Self Care I Like to Do.
I hope you enjoyed these tips! What did you think of the self care I mentioned above? What are some of your favourite self-care activities? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!