It’s fair to say I’ve been busy lately. Setting up a community writing project, finishing a memoir, creating a promotional video and learning new software, continuing to write and submit short stories, running workshops. Not to mention looking after a toddler and all of the energy that entails.
So, not surprisingly, I’ve been feeling a bit flat of late. There I was, earlier in the week, excited that I actually had a little bit of time to write something new, and nothing came out at all. Not a peep. I ended up going back to some scribbles I’d made during one of my workshops and doing a picture to go with it. Enjoyable, but not what I was hoping for.
Then, I looked down at myself. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d painted my nails, done my hair, put on some nice clothes. Even, to be honest, had a shower. When things get busy there’s always one thing that gets left at the bottom of the pile: Me.
I thought back to September, when I was starting out on this crazy adventure. Yes, I was busy and there was still an awful lot to do, but I scheduled one evening in a week where I could do whatever I wanted, just take some time for myself. I made sure that I exercised, got out of the house, talked to friends and family, in between all the other stuff.
I knew this was going to be a busy month. What I didn’t realise was that it would mean I would stop caring for myself so much.
I remember when I started reading The Artist’s Way. I was surprised how much of it was about looking after yourself. Giving yourself time, allowing pleasures and treats and generally treating yourself like a precious object. It’s not something I’m very good at. My family have always been busy, selfless people who are generous with their time and service. It’s hard for me to do things for myself without feeling selfish.
But what I’m trying to remember is, looking after yourself is not a selfish act. Taking time for the things you want to do will only strengthen my relationships. Giving all my time and attention to others or to other things will only lead to resentment and a feeling of being unfulfilled. That won’t make me the best mother, partner, sister, daughter or friend I can be.
It’s not easy, but I’m trying. This morning I’m sitting and writing this blog while my partner takes my daughter to the park. Tomorrow I’m going to make popcorn and watch a film because it’s what I want to do, and I figure the others will enjoy it as well.
I’m trying to move away from resolutions as they used to be a bit of a stick to beat myself up with (and they were SO long!). But this might be a good one. As so many people, projects and thoughts get my time, I want to make sure that it is balanced with things that will make me feel good.
Funnily enough, I took a few hours to myself the other evening and woke up with a new idea for a story. I just have to find the time to write it now…
Look after yourself, everybody. It’s the only way you can make sure you’re capable of looking after everyone else.
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