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Self-Care For Indie-Authors – How I Work Now

In my last post I took you through a bit of my author life before I started to take self-care more seriously. Now I’m going to let you in on what I do to look after myself now. But before I do that, I want you to know this is not me telling you what YOU should do. You will need to figure out what works for you personally. This is just my personal experience.

It's taken a few low points to make me realise that I really need to look after myself. Especially if I want to keep doing this whole author thing long-term, which I absolutely do! I love this work and want to give it my all whilst also looking after myself properly.

In a creative business like yours and mine – we are the most important thing! Yes, we are!

Nothing gets created without us! NOTHING. Therefore, our creativity and mental health are THE MOST IMPORTANT things AND our business’s most important asset.

After a rather unpleasant burnout, I realised that in order to give my author business the very best, I needed to feel the best I could too.

It was life-changing when I finally realised this - though I still have to remind myself of this from time to time.

Here are some of the things that I do to keep things on track. No preaching, no “Do this, don’t do that” just what worked for me. Feel free to take ideas from this list. If it inspires you, great, and if all this list does is give you permission to take a break, then that is wonderful too.

So, what did I do?

· I quit booze. This is a very personal choice. All I can say is that I found myself in a place where I was drinking a glass or two of wine most evenings, and it was starting to make me feel rubbish. It was massively affecting my focus, my sleep and my overall well-being. I quit in 2018 and have never looked back. I feel fresh and ready for the day every day. I love it.

· Realistic Planning. I’m a nightmare for being too ambitious with my plans and not getting much done. It’s good to be ambitious, but it can start to become demotivating when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere with the plans you made for yourself. I set myself 2-3 key deliverables a day (since I’ve just drafted the blog post, that’s one! Win!). If I can make sure one is a smaller, more manageable task to do as I start the day, even better!

· Exercise. 2-3 times a week, I get out to do an exercise class, go for a run or a swim. I keep myself on track by challenging myself to improve my 5k speed at the weekly Parkrun. These exercise breaks each week give me the mental break I need to recharge, and it’s a bonus to improve my fitness as well!

· Networking. Getting out locally and meeting other business owners – even if they’re not in the same market as me, their challenges as small business owners are similar. Sometimes just having someone to commiserate with about having to do the accounts gives me the boost I need to get down to doing them.

· Connect with other indie-authors – online or in person. Go to conferences, join Facebook groups, follow them on Instragram or TikTok. Make connections and chat. It’s such a friendly community and everyone is in the same boat with the same challenges, so everyone understands the frustration when the KDP file upload doesn’t work!

· Not working weekends – weekends are family time for me – I might log on and do a few bits, but the priority is family time. I also don’t work on family holidays. Definitely one of my best changes!

· Get a good night’s sleep. I go to bed at a reasonable time and read a book for a while. It always helps me switch off and relax. Heavens! If my 20-year-old self could see me now!

· Eating well – okay, this one is harder for me. I’m a foodie, and I’m mostly working from home with the snack cupboard a constant temptation. Guilty. I should not be allowed near the biscuit packet. But I do try and cook from scratch most days and eat plenty of fruit and green veggies.

· Taking regular breaks – I find meeting a friend for a walk/coffee or taking the dog out for a walk so cathartic, even just taking a 10-minute break in my own garden, away from the screen. I come back to work refreshed, ready to crack on – and often with lots of new ideas.

I can honestly say that these changes as well as allowing myself to rest, recharge and occasionally be a little lazy, have made the world of difference. I’ve also never sold so many books… or published as many new ones. Coincidence?

If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of your business?

I hope I have inspired you to introduce a little self-care into your routine, or at least have inspired you to give yourself permission to take a break.

What does your self-care routine look like at the minute? Tell me, what works for you?

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