Tag Archives: coping

Take a walk: Self-care

self-careIt may not be an organization doing good work in the community, but you can’t do sustainable good for others if you’re not practicing self-care. Though getting something done after pushing through may be satisfactory, it also makes you susceptible to colds, viruses, and other forms of illness.

For me, that means binge watching something mindless on Netflix (like “Reign,” which absolutely fits the bill) while playing a silly browser game and working out at least twice a week. But if that doesn’t sound like pure bliss, explore your options. Whether it’s an intense workout, dinner out with friends, a long soak in the tub with a beverage of your choosing, or a couple hours of video games, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. Heck, if you love to walk outside or watch videos of puppies, it can be free. Whatever it is, take the time out to care for yourself so you can care for others.

Don’t believe me on this one? Well, check out the TED playlist on the subject or Lifehacker’s take or Psychology Today. Stress, like that caused by your job, home life, political realities, etc., is really bad for your body (Google Scholar backs me up here with more than three million papers for the search). Self-care is a way to re-center, re-evaluate, and give yourself some space to exist in the moment. Cold season is upon us, and I’ll say it again: you can’t effectively fight for others if you’re ill yourself. Be gentle.

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Filed under BlogLikeCrazy, Social Justice

2016, in a nutshell

home-is-where-the-dogs-areAs promised on Nov. 1, I’m going to use #bloglikecrazy to get a bit more personal on the Internet. But there’s less than two months left in 2016, and it’s time to face the music: This year was pretty shitty. There were some high points and a good bit of travel, but a lot of the milestones were negative. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch with Netflix instead of socializing because I couldn’t bring myself to leave my blanket burrito.

Though I’ve nabbed three bylines in new-to-me national publications (and have one more coming), I’ve been seriously struggling financially with writing. Most online writing pays less than $500 per article, and the hours involved in researching and writing render the hourly rate less than ideal. Include time spent pitching and emailing, and the stats are downright grim. In addition to articles, I almost write copy for one corporate client, but the gig isn’t steady.

Now, to the really tough stuff. In the first few months of the year, three family members passed away and we moved another into an assisted living facility, all in the span of ten weeks. All this happened before our first anniversary. Though none of them were completely unexpected, it was/is completely overwhelming. I worked through the first two deaths, but took almost a month off to try to keep our lives even marginally functioning. For several months, we were splitting our time between Birmingham and Guntersville. Thank goodness the Bears don’t get carsick.

On to the positive: at the beginning of the year, Adam was offered a job with a local law firm (YAY!!!). I traveled a lot, and although it threw a lot of parts of my life out of sync, it also provided me a way to temporarily distance myself from the tough stuff. And we bought a house tucked away in a cute little neighborhood in Homewood. It’s about twice as big as our shoebox apartment was, but it’s a haven. It has a decent-sized back yard, which the Bears love, and lots of sticks and chipmunks for them to chase.

In the middle of all that, I dropped off the face of the Earth. Social media, blogging, social interactions: all of it was too much to face. Several of the articles I wrote during that time haven’t made it onto social media. I simply haven’t had the energy or motivation to do anything but hide from the world. When a publisher approached me about writing a book back in August, I jumped on it to have Something Important To Do. And to see my name on a book, of course. It was overwhelming, and I lost myself in it for six weeks.

If I’m being honest with the Internet, I haven’t processed most of the changes from early 2016. To keep going, I’ve addressed the issues with a large(r than usual) dose of inappropriate humor, but that’s a mask. I want to start back with therapy soon, even though I don’t feel like I’m ready to face up to that much loss and anger and vulnerability. But that’s life, in some ways. No way forward but through.

This month, I’m attempting to blog my way forward by writing every day as part of Blog Like Crazy.

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