Overwhelm and Self Care
Suggestions on dealing with stress, especially as a writer
Just a quick hello this week as I'm now headfirst into planning the marketing and promotion around my book Rock Gods & Messy Monsters. I'm a bit overwhelmed but excited like I haven't been in ages.
I have no idea where this project will go. I have no idea how my writing will be received. But I'm proud of myself for having the courage to attempt full-time fiction writing - especially now. So many people wrote books during the pandemic, and the publishing industry continues to consolidate and shrink, so writing is more challenging than ever. That means more people going for a smaller piece of the pie.
But it all feels write - uh, I mean, right.
Every so often, a wave of panic washes over me, and my internal voice rears its ugly head. Who do I think I am saying I'm a writer? How dare I love what I do, and how can I fathom making money from writing?
"They" tell me I should sell my soul to help some billionaire make more money or keep the clogged wheels of some corporate giant turning - or at least creaking.
I'm done with that. I'm done with allowing people to make me feel less than - in any situation. I'm done with hiding my light and cowering, fearing I might shine brighter than someone else. I still struggle sometimes, but I am determined to be the me I was born to be.
My self-care routine
When I start feeling panicky or overwhelmed, I tend to do the following:
This might sound counterintuitive, but if I start to get anxious, stressed, angry, or overwhelmed, I stop doing what I'm doing. In my previous life, I would have pushed through. I would have worked even harder. I would have ignored what my body was telling me. And I would have ended up super stressed and angry at the world - and myself - for sometimes days or even weeks.
I now force myself to close my computer or put down my pen and take a break.
The first thing I do when I stop working is to sit still and check in with myself; I sit with whatever I'm feeling for a bit. It's usually some form of overwhelm, but I find it important to sink into the feeling to identify what it is. That way, I can figure out what action to take to feel better.
What I might be experiencing includes:
Hanger - The first thing I do is remember the last time I ate. And I do my darnedest to have something healthy if I'm hungry to the point of anger. Proteins like eggs, nuts, and avocados often help.
Tearful - Is something I'm working on bringing up something unresolved from the past? If it is, I'll do some self-care. Crossing my arms and stroking from my shoulders to my elbows can help calm me. Or making a good cup of tea and reminding myself that I am a good and deserving person.
Anger - This usually comes from feeling overwhelmed, as does feeling frustrated and like I want to scream to the heavens. I think it also happens when I don't move for long periods. Once I can identify the feeling, I can do something about it.
The next step is to take action depending on how I'm feeling. I've realized exercise is usually the best thing for me - even a short walk around my apartment complex, though I try to get to the gym, work out to a video, or dance around my living room.
I also often watch motivational YouTube videos - Abraham Hicks has been my go-to for a while. I do what I can to acknowledge how I'm feeling but then back off and find something that helps me feel better.
If you're interested in the Law of Attraction and Abraham Hicks's talks, there are thousands of clips on YouTube. Some of the channels I watch are:
Okay, back to researching book reviewers and media outlets. Let me know how you deal with overwhelm and what your self-care routine is in the comments below!
Oh, and before I forget…
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See you next week!
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