I’ve written before about how overwhelm can derail the best of plans. This past year I had a collection of short stories published (you can get them here) and I signed a contract for a novel in January. In addition to writing I also teach cooking classes, work as a consultant, volunteer at my kids school once a week, work a day job, write this blog and another one, and I have kids and a partner, pets, etc.
Are you tired reading this? Or overwhelmed? I know I am. If you add in the current political climate I am beyond stressed. Like many people with ADHD I struggle on a daily basis with control and focus without outside pressures and demands. I have written before about self-care, here and here and I think that all of the ideas in those posts still work.
This post is about having the courage to stop doing things, in order to do the things that nourish your body and soul. For me that means letting go of my cooking blog for now, and more than likely letting go of this blog in the future.
When I started this blog I did so because I needed a creative outlet, even if it seemed like I was shouting down a well most days. It was excellent writing practice. It gave me some positive feedback, and I made some amazing friends as a result of it. But with one contract signed, and wanting to publish more I’d much rather be working on my next book. I’m cutting back on my posts and holding on to this blog for now, because if life has taught me anything it has taught me that things change.
I’ve seen some snarky comments about bloggers staying on brand in the midst of the crazy, unsettling political and social upheaval going on right now. I have two things to say about that:
- Just because I don’t write about politics does not mean I don’t care. I am not unaware. Please do not suggest I am not sincere about my beliefs because I am not shouting them from this blog. I am not a political blogger. I don’t plan on being one anytime soon. There are many many others more qualified than I am to do that. Go read their blogs.
- In the midst of chaos a safe space that offers a peaceful place to rest your brain is necessary for survival. Stressing your adrenal glands long term without a break is a recipe for collapse. Life is a marathon not a sprint. I intend to survive this BS with my body and soul intact.
Taking care of yourself enables you to cope with all the changes and stresses that come along and this is my message to you:
HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Make a list of things you are no longer going to do. Then find ways to stop doing those things. Let go of what is not working, make space for what is. Post it where you can see it as a reminder in your calendar, or journal, or the refrigerator. I’ll go first.
I’m no longer going to stress over getting everything done because I’m putting myself, my family, and my creative projects at the top of the list.
I’m no longer going to work on any creative projects that I don’t enjoy. This may seem radical but it’s not. If you need permission I’m going to give it to you. If a project no longer makes you happy/satisfied/fulfilled, just stop. That novel you’ve been working on so long, you don’t even remember why you started it? Let it go. Write something that makes you excited to sit down and work. Write something that feeds you.
I’m no longer going to do exercise that makes me dread putting on exercise clothes. That gym membership you signed up for and don’t use? Let it go. Find an exercise program that makes you happy, walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, city- league hockey, slow pitch soft ball, whatever gets you moving and makes you happy do that instead.
I’m no longer going to attend family gatherings/parties/social events that are stressful. That annual family thing that makes you want to scream and run from the room? Let it go. Politely decline. No explanation is necessary. “I’m sorry I will not be able to attend,” is a complete sentence.
The amazing Audre Lord wrote these wise words, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Caring for myself means staying on brand, staying positive and fighting in my own way for the things I believe in.
Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to care for yourself.