Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about self-care (check out my Pinterest board on articles I’ve collected) and I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate it into my life. Self-care means dedicating time to do things that make you feel good, like taking a warm bath or watching your favorite show. Currently, I’m going through an adjustment period. I’m stressed out and need to take some time to self-care before I burn myself out.
I had a baby girl in September last year. In November, my husband started a new job, and in December, we moved to a new town. Life in Germany has not been easy for me ever since I moved here in 2012. Not being able to find a job really crushed me and brought me to a dark place. But it also brought me to a place of enlightenment: I started meditating regularly, doing yoga, and journaling. All of this helped me find my passion: writing. But after believing I had found my path and the reason for all my struggles, I’m now facing a new struggle: trying to make it as a writer.
When I wrote my novel, everything was easy. I finished my first draft in three months and found a great writing community on Scribophile. I got positive feedback on my writing, which really motivated me to keep going and I believed that my novel would be published relatively quickly. Writing would be my new career.
Fast forward two years later and I’m finally facing reality. I now know that it can take years (and multiple books) to actually get an agent and a book deal and that the real work begins once you’re published. This is not a sprint but a marathon, and if I really want to make it as an author, I have to invest time and have a lot of patience. I’m 41, and starting over at this age is really hard for me. That’s why self-care is so important for me right now.
With all the changes happening, finding the time to write and work on my platform is not easy. To be able to handle it, I’ve been going back to what brought me here: yoga, meditation, and journaling. I need to find my center again and stay calm and optimistic. I have my ups and downs, but writing keeps me sane. What I struggle most with is finding balance. How am I supposed to cook healthy meals, do yoga, meditate, write in my journal, take care of my baby, play with her, do the housework, plus spend time with my husband and do everything else?
So, I came up with seven things to add to my self-care toolkit. I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this list as time goes by but these are the most important to me right now. I wanted to share my self-care plan with you so that I can hold myself accountable and maybe inspire you to come up with your own.
Meditation is key for me so that I’m able to stay calm and take things as they happen. I probably won’t have time to do the 30-minute sessions I used to, but I can commit to meditating for at least five minutes every day. Also, I can also meditate for a minute or two every chance I get.
I will also try to practice mindfulness, staying present throughout the day, not thinking about what I will do later or tomorrow. It’s really hard for me to focus since I’m always looking ahead, but staying present helps to really appreciate – and make the most of – every moment.
2. Doing yoga
I suffer from back and neck pain, and doing yoga has really helped me find relief. To me, yoga and meditation go hand in hand, since the yoga helps to relax and calm me so that I can focus during my meditation practice.
My go-to yoga guru is Anita Goa. I really love her philosophy of life and how creative her flows are. With her, I’ve learned how a yoga practice can translate to life: breathe through every challenge, stop resisting, go with the flow, and accept what comes. I’ve been so inspired by her teachings, I wrote a blog post about them (10 Life Lessons I Learned from Doing Yoga).
I stopped journaling while I was pregnant, but I’m slowly restarting it. I like doing a gratitude journal every night, writing down at least five things I’m grateful for that day. Sometimes I can do more than five, other times it’s a struggle, but it does help to keep life in perspective and see how truly blessed I am.
Journaling also helps me when I’m going through an especially bad day. I can write everything that I’m feeling and just get it out of my head. I’ve also used it to write prayers down or any other thing that comes to mind.
4. Creating to-do lists
Even with meditation, yoga, and journaling, I still worry a lot about everything I need to do and I’m not doing. Creating to-do lists helps me keep track. Knowing I have it all written down, helps me relax, and when I feel lost like I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, I can look at the list and focus.
Update April, 2022: I have been using a great app called Todoist. It has been a lifesaver!
Writing is my passion, and if I want to have a career as an author, I need to dedicate some time to it every day. But I need to remember that a little goes a long way. Sometimes I overdo it and ignore everything else. Every little bit counts, even if it takes me longer to finish a story or write a blog post. That’s why I need the previous four items so that I can stay calm and not stress about my (perceived) lack of progress.
6. Creating an inspirational playlist
I love music and I love to sing, so why don’t I have this kind of playlist yet? Some pick-me-up music for when life gets too stressful or I feel like giving up is just what I need. I want to include inspirational songs or just songs that bring a smile to my face.
Update April, 2022: I created a playlist. Check it out!
7. De-cluttering my desk area and surrounding myself with beautiful things
I share a desk with my husband, and the office room is also the guest room and the everything-that-doesn’t-fit-anywhere-else-room. I want to create a space for me, where I can feel inspired. Here are some things I will be doing:
- Having a screen saver with photos of places I’ve visited.
- Creating a collage with happy photos with family and friends.
- Buying some girly/pretty things to put around.
- Creating a secret Pinterest board with quotes to uplift me and keep me going (Update April, 2022: I created it!).
And there you have my self-care plan! Of course, your plan may look totally different, based on your interests. What are some things that keep you sane and fill you with joy? Share in the comments below.