First, the excitement I woke up to this morning.
People, that is Devil’s Eye at NUMBER 3 in Bargain BOOKS (NOT just Kindle books, not just Hot New Releases, BOOKS OVERALL). I intend to do a serious happy dance once I have caffeinated and am no longer in danger of breaking anything from my serious klutziness. I just had to share the happy.
:pauses for that first, fabulous sip of hot tea: Mmm.
I find myself in the best mood the last couple of days. I didn’t even get annoyed during the 2 hours I spent with my boss yesterday. I know! Shocking, right? I attribute the change to the fact that I am, quite simply, taking better care of myself.
Y’all listened to me grouse and moan from March through the end of December last year about how over-stretched and TIRED I was. Hubby’s broken leg knocked me on my butt and I never really felt like I recovered the rest of the year. There was always more stuff that needed doing, more that had to be put off for lack of time. It’s enough to fry anybody’s brain, even someone as freakishly productive and organized as me. The one thing I did to simplify my very busy life last year was to drop the community college teaching (which I hated anyway) when my university offered me more sections of upper level psych classes.
But it wasn’t enough. So I declared 2011 the Year Of Simplification! Man, y’all should see the planner in my phone. I started listing all kinds of projects that will, over the year, have the ENTIRE HOUSE cleaned out and organized (long overdue). This weekend’s project is to clean out the sock drawer and reorganize my sweaters. I’ve also made it a new policy that I can do something really shocking–SAY NO. Now I’ve never really felt like I had a problem doing this for things I truly didn’t want to do, but I do often take on extra stuff I really don’t have time for when I DO want to do them or to help folks out. I’m trying to be more realistic about what I can do without really stressing out. I’ve pulled out of a few “extra-curriculars” that were taking up time. Cut back on my food blogging a bit. All those things certainly helped my stress level.
Since New Year’s I’ve dived back into healthy eating to carve off the six pounds I gained over the holidays (stinking holiday weight…), getting my portions back under control, upping my fruit and veggie intake. Everybody at the office thinks I’m some kind of brilliant radical for bringing a big bowl of apples to keep on my desk. Might as well take them where I am when I GET the afternoon noshies. I haven’t finished losing the weight (sadly that will probably be March), but I’m on my way and my body is physically feeling better–less bloated and more functional, for having been back to normal, healthy food.
I’ve also gotten back into regular exercise. Somehow this is so often the thing to go when life gets busy. Because I get TIRED, and when you’re tired, exercise is so not what you feel like doing. Monday I’m starting a new routine where I get up earlier (I know. Shocking. Pick yourself up off the floor. I promise the apocalypse isn’t starting.) during the week so that I have time to get my full cardio workout of biking and boxing in BEFORE work, which leaves time at lunch for a weights routine or yoga, both of which I really feel like I need to do (and neither of which will leave me as sweaty and in need of a shower before I go back to work). It will tone and soothe me, which goes back to that whole taking care of myself physically.
The thing about it is, the writing just goes smoother when I FEEL BETTER. When I’m healthy and well-rested and fit, my brain just works better. And I think that’s really something that we as working writers (by which I mean those of us who have to work other Evil Day Jobs and THEN find time to write around family–or when family IS the EDJ) often neglect. We push and push and make the time for the work–which is GOOD. But we often don’t take time for OURSELVES. Women and moms are PARTICULARLY bad about this, be they writers or not. We make sure every single person in the household is taken care of and then don’t remember (or in some cases think we deserve) to take care of US.
It’s all about BALANCE. Mind/body. Work/play. Family/personal.
I feel like I’ve hit a better balance already this year, and it’s showing in my writing. I’ve been averaging 750-1k+ words EVERY DAY, where last year it was a struggle to even make 500. That, my friends, is an enormous difference.
So as I sit here about to embark on those words for the day on the anthology story I’m blowing through and contemplating a second cup of tea, I challenge you all to GO DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF TODAY. Read something fun. Cook something delicious and healthy. Go walk your dog in the sunshine. Have a hot bath and a glass of wine. Maybe it’ll only be for 20 minutes and you’ll have to shanghai your spouse or significant other into wrangling the kids, but I swear, you’ll feel so much better for having done it.