Your Poster Child for How NOT to be a Healthy Writer*

Here at BadGirlzWrite we have a topic from time to time, something to get those blogger juices flowing. This cycle’s topic is strategies for maintaining your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Y’all, I’m falling apart. So maybe I should tell you what NOT to do:

  1. Don’t subsist on a steady diet of coffee all day and then wine all night. As much fun as this sounds, consider the cautionary tale of Elvis, who followed a similar lifestyle of uppers and downers. We all know how that ended. Indulging in too much caffeine and too much alcohol can exacerbate adrenal fatigue. Add in a marathon, and I have a body that aches all over and extra pounds that won’t budge.
  2. Don’t freak out about your sales numbers. I have passed that task to my husband because there’s not a thing you can do about them, and what you see on Amazon doesn’t accurately reflect what’s going on anyway. Wait for your royalty statements and worry about it then.
  3. Don’t succumb to lethargy—exercise every damn day. Coming out of summer vacation, I have made it a priority to do something each day. Sometimes it’s a 20-minute walk. Sometimes it’s not. Since I have plantar fasciitis (yes, still) I’ve added swimming and am working on adding biking to my repertoire.
  4. Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you’re like me, daily goals are nigh upon impossible because each day brings doctors’ appointments, oil that needs to be changed, sick kids, who knows? It’s a grab bag of unexpectedness! If you set a weekly goal, you can attempt to compensate for those interruptions. (BTW do not ask me how I’m doing on word counts this week and last. As always, I am a work in progress.)
  5. Don’t torture yourself by sitting in the same chair day after day if the words aren’t coming. Sometimes you need a change of scenery, especially if there’s massive construction going on behind your house. Not that I would know anything about that. (I do happen to have a new set of over the ear headphones that help greatly with blocking out the noise.)
  6. Do stock the cupboards with healthy snacks. You’re going to eat while you write, and you can’t subsist on chocolate alone. I would know because I tried.
  7. Do learn what you can do and what you can’t and try not to commit to more than that. I am still learning this one. This is totally a do as I say and not as I do situation.
  8. Don’t wallow around in your misery refusing to see a doctor. I’m going to be honest with you. Not only is honesty the best policy, but we ladies also don’t speak up enough about our health. I put on twenty pounds between January and now. I have often not felt like getting out of bed. I hide that pretty well at conference, don’t I? Sometimes I’m on social media because the only thing I feel like doing is moving my thumbs. Well, I’ve been to at least three doctor’s appointments in the past two months, and I have two more on the docket. I had a full panel from the endocrinologist, but all she could find was low Vitamin D and the fact that I’m forty-one, so she sent me to the psychiatrist. My life is too damn good to feel this damn bad, so I guess I’ll try some better living through chemistry, round two. I still say there’s something physically wrong with me, so I’ll keep going, but I have to admit my new meds *seem* to be working. I can get out of bed first thing in the morning, so that’s an improvement. As much of a pain in the ass as it is to make appointments and go to them and to keep pushing, we’ll never get well if we don’t keep showing up and advocating for ourselves. Think of it as a process similar to getting published; persistence is key. Also, you’d best be doing your regular maintenance: pap smears, mammograms, dental cleanings, etc. I’m watching you.
  9. Speaking of social media, we—and by “we” I mainly mean “me”–might need to lay off. In addition to all of the anxiety from trying to meet deadlines, we have an election year and a twenty-four hour newscycle of violence and social injustice. These things wear writers down because I swear we’re empaths—we have to be to do what we do, which is delve deep into the psyches of fictional people. I want to be informed, but there’s so much crap I can’t do anything about that I need to take a break from time to time. Also, there are some really nasty people on the Interwebs. I’m not ready to concede Twitter to the trolls, but I do think a break is in order from time to time. Then I’ll jump back into the fray and find what ways I can better fight the good fight.

So that’s my honest assessment of where I am health wise. Y’all, this is a crazy stressful job, and I keep telling myself that I don’t have a specific benchmark of success to attain. I remind myself that I’m fortunate enough to be able to write what I want to write without having to worry about the income or lack thereof. Even so, we all want to succeed. I know I do. Defining success and finding it without sacrificing our heath, is one of the greatest challenges we’re going to face.

May the odds be ever in our favor!

*For quite some time I happily blogged at Healthy Writer. I was far healthier then, let me assure you.

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