Who doesn’t feel stressed-out? Show of hands! How many of you are practicing self-care? Show of hands! I don’t see as many in answer to the second question as I did to the first.
In this Freelancing 101: Self-Care for the stressed out pet blogger, we will explore why you need to practice self-care and ideas to do just that.
Why practice self-care? Extreme example:
Do you take care of your physical and emotional self as well as you take care of your pet blog? As pet bloggers and as solopreneurs who work from home, self-care isn’t likely something we think about until our health suffers. While I am no medical professional, I “blame” my breast cancer on not having taken care of myself. I was under immense stress (some of my own making, other stressors from work and clients), I worked almost around the clock. I worked seven days a week. I ate at my desk. I filled my body with junk food and processed food because it was easier and quicker to grab prepared food than it was to cook healthy food. Coffee was the only liquid I ingested. Sleep was elusive, at best.
What was my wake-up call that I needed to change my life? A breast cancer diagnosis. Believe me, nothing will stop you in your tracks like that. You’re faced with your own mortality and it is a scary-ass wake-up call. In fact, my diagnosis and all that it brought with it forced me to change my work habits. I urge everyone reading this to not let your health get to a point where you’re facing life and body threatening and altering levels before you make some changes.
When you begin reading some of these tips I expect that some of you will scoff. I expect that others will roll your eyes and probably say, “Yeah, right. That’ll work.” I expect others to jump up and down and say, “Wow that was easier than I thought.” Regardless of where you are, hopefully some of these tips will speak to you. If nothing else, hopefully these tips will be a wake-up call that you need to get a grip on your life, your schedule and your blogging. Remember, you don’t want your gravestone to read, “H/she worked a lot.” Gulp!
Here are my quick and dirty tips:
- Go a day without complaining. It’s harder than you think.
- Get out and break a sweat. Physical activity is crucial for all of us who work in front of a computer all day.
- Accept your mistakes with a smile and a shrug.
- Treat yourself to a healthy meal on a beautiful plate in a restful place. I have a green paisley plate I found at an antique store that I use when I am at the River House when I eat on the porch. It’s amazing what a change of scenery will do to the enjoyment you get from a meal.
- Write down what you’re grateful for before you go to sleep. Write in a paper journal, not the computer.
- Read what you were grateful for before you get out of bed the next morning.
- This may sound silly, and it is: Stand in front of the mirror and give yourself a kiss!
- Pick up your pet, put his legs around you and hug him close. Feel his heart beat next to yours.
- Hug your family.
- When your family or roommate comes home from work, stop your work and get up and greet them at the door.
- Have a conversation and be fully engaged. If you’re on the phone with a client, get away from the computer. If you’re eating dinner with the family, leave your phones in another room.
- Unfriend people on social media who are upsetting.
- Start a Stuart-Smalley type mantra, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like me.”
- Write down your best traits.
- Walk barefoot and enjoy the feeling of the earth beneath your feet.
- Take your dog for a long walk in your neighborhood, in the woods or on a nature trail. Make a date with yourself to do that at least weekly. Your physical health and your pet’s physical health will benefit.
- If you feel the need to have a good cry, then have one. Don’t bottle your emotions up.
- Take long, slow, deep breaths. It’s amazing how many times during the day I find myself taking rapid, shallow breaths. It makes me tense and also makes my shoulders rise up to my ears. Consciously relax your shoulders and other tense muscles and breathe.
- Listen to music that you love.
- Take breaks from the computer and from work every couple of hours. Do some deep knee bends. Meditate. Walk the dog. Pet the cat. Watch the fish in the aquarium.
- Take up a hobby you haven’t made time for in a while. Crochet. Knit. Bake. Hike mountains. Woodworking. You get the picture.
- Speaking of pictures… grab an “adult” coloring book, some colored pencils and recapture the joys of youth when coloring was one of your favorite past times.
- If you aren’t feeling well, see a doctor. Don’t put off having symptoms checked out.
- Pamper yourself. Take a long, hot bubbly bath. Get a pedicure. Go to a barber and enjoy a hot shaving cream shave.
- Create a vision board.
- Watch a movie that you love.
- Look through photo albums and revel in the happy memories they bring forth.
- Create boundaries. We all have those difficult people or those clients who push our buttons and we find ourselves saying “yes” to something we know we should have said “no” to.
- Just say “no.” Learn how to use this little word that carries so much power.
- Get together with friends.
- Set office hours. Close the door and the computer at the end of your office hours and relax and enjoy the rest of your day.
- Set a timer and get up and move every hour. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute walk. Do some push ups. See how many jumping jacks you can do in a two minute period. Stretch toward the sky. Bend toward the ground. Do some lunges. Shake your arms, roll your head, bend, twist, get your blood flowing!
- Decide on your weekly menu. Grocery shop and batch cook. At the very least, having a plan for dinner will make it less likely that you will pick up the phone and order pizza–believe me, I know… this is my BIG downfall–kitchen laziness.
- Drink water. All day. Every day.
- Call a friend.
- Scream at the top of your lungs if you’re angry (just make sure you’re home alone!)
- Learn something new. Curious about the cosmos? Take a course. Want to learn to cook? Sign up at a culinary school. Always wanted to be your own graphic designer? Find a college and sing up for a course.
Self-care is crucial to your life, your health & your pet blog
Some of these tips may sound silly, and they are. But, if you don’t remind yourself to laugh then you will constantly take yourself too seriously. Remember to smile. Remember that if you’re a pet business owner or a pet blogger and if you get sick who will care for your blog or your business? You need to care for yourself in order to care for your blog, your pets and your loved ones.
What do you do when you’re feeling stressed?
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.