Questions from the amazing Kickstart Your Creative Heart course I’m currently doing.
What does self-care mean in your world?
Keeping myself balanced so that I can give enough of myself to the people in my life. It’s essential and helps me to stay emotionally resilient. It means I can reset myself so I can respond with love to my family.
When was the last time you did something entirely for yourself?
Right now! I have taken an hour so far to write and do whatever I want to while my husband makes the kids’ dinner. I think I am quite strict about ‘downtime’ as we call it in our house. I try to make sure we both get time to do stuff we enjoy, and balance it with family activities and work.
How do you know when you need some self-care? What are your ‘symptoms’ or warning signs?
I feel irritable and hear myself snapping at my husband and the children. I notice that my breathing is not as deep as normal. My reactions are more extreme than usual and my stomach feels clenched. Sometimes I get a headache or feel extra-tired.
How would you like to feel when you sit down to write?
Calm but energised, knowing I have enough time to write without interruption (sometimes an unattainable goal!). I’d like to feel ready, to know what I am going to work on, and to feel a quiet excitement about spending this time doing something I love.
Often I feel antsy or agitated, because I have half an idea, or I’m doubting myself. I have to make a considerable effort to ignore my negative voice while I’m writing. You know, the one that says “why are you wasting your time on this? You’re not good enough. You should just stop. You’ll never get published. No one will want to read your work.” As hard as it is, I try to switch it off and just let myself write, usually without editing as I go along – that comes later.
Is there anything you already do that gives you that feeling?
Going for a run or doing exercise can help. It tires my body out and regulates my breathing, helping my mind to become a bit clearer. Spending quiet time alone also helps focus my thoughts and ideas, even if I’m not consciously considering them.
What would you do for yourself if you had unlimited time, energy and resources?
I’d go back to uni! I would love to learn and learn until my curious mind is sated. I’d study art history, literature, writing, and all sorts of modules just because they sounded interesting.