Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

Flowers
Last year, I burnt out something terrible (which I wrote about briefly in this post). I was so rundown and stressed. I had zero motivation and procrastinated to the high heavens, which meant I wasn’t productive at all and the work was only piling up and up. I had some bursts of energy, mostly fueled by feelings of “Holy balls, I need to get this done ASAP or someone is going to kill me”, but other than that I was burning the candle at both ends and feeling pretty miserable.
I found the best thing for me to do was to take some time for myself and do something I truly wanted to, something to treat myself. This was, of course, the very last thing that I felt I could or should do at first. I was so behind on everything, how could I possibly justify spending time faffing about trying to “take care of myself”? But you know what? When your mental (and physical) health is at stake, you just do it. I realised that I was going to go full-on crying-because-my-pen-isn’t-where-I-thought-it-was-and-yelling-at-snails-to-get-out-of-my-way-because-I’m-walking-here-cray-cray if I didn’t do something – quick. So I asked myself what it was that I wanted to do. Really wanted to do.

Unsurprisingly, the first answer that sprang to mind was reading. I just wanted to have some quiet time with a book. So I started a Reading Challenge for the year on Goodreads and bought (lots of) the books I’d been dying to read.

Book Pile

The second thing I realised was that I wanted to start yoga again because I knew it helped me a lot the last time I took classes. So I booked that in and now I do an hour and a half class each week. (My classes aren’t held on the grass – thought how cool would that be?? – I’m trying to start practicing at home and inside is a bit too cramped.)

Yoga Mat

I also wanted to make more progress with my Etsy shop and this little blog here. I love pouring any spare time and energy I have into making necklaces or earrings for the shop or planning and writing posts for the blog. I love the creativity it allows me. So I made sure that I was spending my spare time wisely. I bought a monthly planner and made list after list after list to get myself organised, which made the process of running both easier and more enjoyable for me.

Weekly Planner

All of these are steps I’ve decided to take to help keep my life and myself balanced and not verbally abusing unsuspecting snails. And so far, so good. I feel much better for it. Much happier within myself and rested.

Lang Leav Poem

Are you taking care of yourself? If yes, what do you do? If not but you want to start, maybe you could think of ways that might help you achieve that. They don’t have to be as big as some of the changes I made (but they might be!) – they could be going to get a massage, starting sketching, buying yourself some fresh market flowers, getting your hair done, learning photography, going for walks. It doesn’t really matter, so long as it’s something that makes you happy. Go find it!

Jacquie

P.S.
A lovely fellow blogger by the name of Annette wrote a great post about the process of taking some time out for yourself at I Give You The Verbs. Check it out here.

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Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.

10 comments

  1. Rachel Cox

    Oh yes, I am a big fan of time alone with a book.
    And blogging, and being creative (although I rarely am).
    A great post Jacquie… loved the verbally abusive to snails moment! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Cat from thatbettiething

    No I am not- but I should be. We are coming into the most draining part of the year (3 of our 4 kids are asthmatics and we lose a lot of sleep, spend huge amounts of time in hospital and get the odd ride in an ambulance). I really need to keep my game up!! BUT I did just buy a very cool personal planner so that I can get more organised and hopefully find some me time!! Sadly my the entries so far are: footy, fold washing, hockey, take dog to vet, cross country…. Sigh!!

    Reply

  3. Rebecca Johnstone

    Great post – it is so important to nourish yourself, and I often feel 'guilty' for reading during the day or for heading to bed early to read, but I'm slowly getting over that and getting through more books at the same time. Have you read 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' yet? I have it (loved the title!) but not started it yet xx

    Reply

  4. Dawn Rieniets

    We must be on the same wavelength. I was feeling lethargic, unproductive and unmotivated until I dedicated an entire week to my mental and physical health. The results were pleasantly surprising! It's so important. Keep it up!

    Reply

  5. birdandfox

    Pft! I've read your posts, Rachel – your writing definitely counts as a creative outlet, I think.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it! Haha yes, the poor snails copped it pretty bad :/

    Thanks so much for stopping by x

    Reply

  6. birdandfox

    Oh no, Cat, that sounds so stressful! Is it something about the cooler weather that makes it worse for them? (I don't have asthma and don't know anyone in my family with it). I'm sending you good vibes and crossed fingers for them!

    Finding a personal planner that you really like is half the battle, I find. For some reason, I'm quite picky with how I like things set up and I've definitely tried some planners/diaries that just didn't gel with me. Makes it harder to want to use them and get into that habit!

    I hope you can manage to squeeze in something just for you, Cat 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping past x

    Reply

  7. birdandfox

    Thank you, Rebecca! I agree and often feel the same way. It's taken a while for me to stop feeling guilty for taking time out (though sometimes the guilt creeps back in when I'm particularly busy).

    I haven't read it yet, no. It's definitely quite high on my list – my sister recommended it to me, I believe and she's usually a good judge of these things. Haha yes, I love the title too – I'm curious to see how it relates to the story.

    Thanks for dropping past 😀 x

    Reply

  8. birdandfox

    Oh, a whole week dedicated to self care – that sounds delightful. I kinda wish there was such a thing as enforced self-care time off work. So many people need it, I reckon, but just don't recognise it or don't care or can't find the time or can't justify it. Makes me sad but I have definitely been there myself and can understand it. I just think the world would be better for it if people took more breaks and looked after themselves for a bit!

    Thank you so much for stopping past and leaving your lovely comment, Dawn – means a lot! x

    Reply

  9. Clare at Girl Fifteen

    Yoga is a fab idea and especially at home on the grass, I am very impressed that you practice at home, I go to class once a week, but I don't do any at home. Maybe I should, just a couple of poses a day… I like to see what people are reading too, I started The Elegance of the Hedgehog twice and can't get into it, so I hope you fare better than me!
    Good for you taking time for yourself and celebrating that, we should all do it and celebrate it, not be ashamed or feel guilty about looking after ourselves.

    Reply

  10. birdandfox

    Hi Clare! Yes, I've been thinking I really should try to remember my favourite poses and stretches and spend some time doing them at home – I can do a few but my memory is pretty bad! When I first started yoga, many years ago, I got into the habit of doing the "salute to the sun" sequence on a semi-regular basis so I might start that up again. I would recommend it if you want a nice invigorating but still soothing sequence for the morning.

    Ah, yes, see, I've heard mixed things about The Elegance of the Hedgehog – my sister said it was good (I think. Though now I'm starting to doubt my crappy memory!) but I've also heard it wasn't great…only time will tell!

    Thank you for your lovely words, Clare! I really do think everyone should be taking more time for themselves without the guilt. Thank you so much for dropping by 🙂 x

    Reply

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