I kept running into that wall yesterday, so I finally cut myself a little slack. I went and played four miles of Pokémon and watched football (and was quite disappointed that only a couple of players seemed to use their feet) and went to bed early instead of obsessing about word counts. I’m behind… and that’s okay.
When I committed myself to crazy word counts for this NaNoWriMo season, I promised I would also practice self-care. I wanted a real body– to be a Real Person– I was certainly going to take care of it.
That’s harder than you would think when every instinct you have says to sit in the chair for 12-14 hours a day.
But I have mostly been managing it, other than being a little behind on cardio exercise. It helped that I started with a plan:
- Every morning I get up, make a big cup of tea (I cheated once and had coffee instead and felt less hydrated all day). I take a probiotic, a multi-vitamin high on Omega-3s, and (because I’m a Figment trying to turn real), a special vitamin for skin, hair and nails. (You have no idea how funny you look without those three things until you don’t have them).
- Most mornings (I have been lax at times), I then do fifteen minutes of yoga or strength training, followed by five minutes of meditation.
- Then I do this blog.
What does this do? Well, I start off hydrated and, by holding off my caffeine (and sugar), I don’t head toward an energy crash until later in the day. The vitamins help make up for those times when, instead of eating a real lunch, I grab a pastry from the coffee shop (where I’m having my coffee with too much sweet stuff). Starting out with exercise stretches out all the kinks from the day before and means I’ll get some exercise no matter how distracted I get by all the glorious words flowing from my fingertips. The meditation and blog get my mind in the right place to have a good, productive day.
I also throw in a few other things, already planned for:
- I’m rather addicted to Pokémon Go, so I get in some walking on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it’s often slow walking, as our area is inundated with gyms, poke stops, and creatures, so it doesn’t count as true cardio, but it does count as exercise.
- Other than lunches, my meals are planned out and healthy. I have a pre-planned grocery list for each week. I really don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat, so I eat what I should.
- I have no snack/ junk food in my place of residence. This does not stop the siren call of num-nums when I’m out at a write-in or escaping the construction ninjas, but it still helps.
- I use this wonderful stuff called Arnicare Gel to massage my hands daily. I’m sure just the massage does wonder (as do breaks), but the gel works well for me. Don’t take just my word for it, though. WebMD says: “Early research shows that using an arnica gel product (A. Vogel Arnica Gel, Bioforce AG, Switzerland) twice daily for 3 weeks reduces pain and stiffness and improves function in people with osteoarthritis in the hand or knee. Other research shows that using the same gel works as well as the painkiller ibuprofen in reducing pain and improving function in the hands.”
- I use a Pomodoro-style timer (25 minutes work, 5 minutes break) or word crawls to do my writing. Yes, it’s hard sometimes to stop mid-creative flow, but the frequent breaks give my eyes and hands a boost. I also find that stopping mid-thought sometimes makes it easier to start up again.
- I’ve planned on down-time/ social time. Sometimes this is just going to the local write-in. Sometimes it’s taking a walk (see Pokémon). Sometimes I even let myself watch one (just one!) episode of television.
Even if you haven’t already been taking care of yourself, it’s not too late to start. Remember, the words will be there whether you write them in November or January. If you damage your body– assuming you’re not a Figment– you’re stuck with that damage forever.
How do you care for yourself?