Self-Care for Writers – Quieting the Mind

Peaceful Mind

Peaceful Mind

For us writers, the mind is the most important tool. It is where our stories are born. It’s where they grow into full tales that make it to the keyboard, paper or file. It’s more important than the computer and all the other tools we use to get our stories out into the world, because they wouldn’t exist without the mind.

And so we need to take care of the mind as well as the body.

And that’s especially true if we work a day job, have a family and write. It’s not always easy to let go of those parts of our lives and dive into our stories.

I’ll write about transition rituals next week, because I want to do some groundwork today.

If you’re even a bit like me, your mind is full of thoughts every moment in your life. You’re thinking about books and stories, about people you meet, you might even have conversations with them in your mind, and even when you go to bed, it’s hard to stop that run-away train of thoughts.

I think it’s part of being a creative person – we’re just so active in our mind.

And it’s certainly a good thing to have a flexible, inventive, active mind – until it gets too much.

When you reach the point where it would be nice to stop that constant stream of thoughts, and just want some peace and quiet in your mind, I can help you.

The goal is to be able to think nothing for a certain period of time (measured in minutes, no worry), and to make that a conscious choice. This is extremely helpful for falling asleep, for example, but also for simply resting your mind before tackling the next task.

1. Step One

Listen to some instrumental music and let that fill your mind. Let go of all thoughts, let them simply pass and go, without interest. They are just thoughts.

2. Step Two

Be aware of your breathing. Every movement that goes into a breath, the rise and fall of your chest, the flow of air. Focus on that.

3. Step Three

Get into a regular mediation habit.

This will help you focus your thoughts when you want to, but it’ll also teach you to let go when your thoughts turn into worrying or useless circles.

Our mind is our most important tool. Let’s take good are of it.

Here’s some tapping to help you with that:

Even though I can’t stop my thoughts, they just run around my head all the time, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that I can practice taking control.

Even though my mind is constantly “on”, like a non-stop radio, and it’s sometimes hard to focus on what I really want to think about, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to practice and achieve focus and control.

Even though I always believed that constant thought is the mark of a smart person, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that it’s even smarter to be able to control my thoughts.

Your Turn:
How aware are you of your thoughts?
Are you often losing yourself to thoughts, especially negative ones?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Posture

Jumping Jack

Jumping Jack

Now, I’m not a physiotherapist. And yes, I’ve dealt with back pains and wrenched backs a few times in my life, so I know how that feels. And I’m certainly not perfect in my posture, nor avoiding all problems.

But I know one thing: We writers tend to sit too much.

So kudos to all of you who already work at a standing desk, on a treadmill or who dictate their stories while walking outside – you’re awesome.

Most of us aren’t there.

I sit at a desk most of the time. Both at my day job and at home. I have a laptop, but I don’t feel very comfortable moving around with it. At home, my place simply is at my desk. *grins*

The one thing I do for my health while sitting at my desk is using one of those stools with rockers and knee supports. That is supposed to force me to sit up straight (also puts my hands at the optimal height for the keyboard tray), to keep me moving a little, and to keep my back muscles from atrophying. That does work unless…

… I put my elbow on my desk and lean my head on my hand.

Which has given me terrible headaches.

So what can we do about our posture?

I actually have two suggestions, and they depend a little on each other. I’m working on making both a full habit in my life – and those weeks where I have managed to do them both are weeks where I feel better in my body. So yeah. Do as I say… all right?

1. Be aware of your posture.

What I’m suggesting here is basically checking in with your body once in a while or regularly, or even often to see how you’re sitting. How you’re feeling. How happy your body is.

Yes, with a bit of practice you can feel that. When I check in, I often do a little stretch or two to relax muscles that have become a little tight or such. Try it out. Do a check right now, as you’re reading this.

Which parts feel tight? Maybe a little numb, simply because they haven’t moved in a while? Move them gently, maybe stretch a little.

It really is just a simple little thing, but raising body awareness is very helpful in general.

2. Get up and move around every hour

This is my secret weapon. My gift to you.

Set a timer on your computer or your smartphone to beep at every hour. I think my old Apple used to do that anyway, but I had to install a timer on my computer and program it. Now it plays a few seconds of bird song every hour on the hour.

I know this will be hard, especially for those of you who write with cats.

And it’s hard for me because more often than not, that timer interrupts something I’m writing or doing, and I ignore it.

The idea is, however, that you get up at that point and move around. Vigorously. (Yes, I also do that at the office.)

I dance in my living room, kind of. I move my arms, my legs and just have fun for a minute or two until I breathe faster and my heartbeat speeds up.

And that’s the whole point: You’re waking up your body, you’re getting the blood flowing, bringing oxygen to your brain and your organs.

So get moving!

You’ll notice that writing might get easier after that. That you feel more alive. That maybe, just maybe you feel a tad happier.

Try it out and let me know how it goes.

And if you feel resistance to that idea, we can tap together.

Even though I don’t want to feel my body, it’s not a good feeling, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission now to feel how my body needs to move to get better.

Even though it feels silly to move around every hour on the hour, just because my smartphone beeped at me, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to enjoy these rounds of movement and how alive they make me feel.

Even though it feels stupid to think that little bit of moving around every hour could replace “real exercise”, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to see it as a step in the right direction – and maybe it could be fun!

Your Turn:
How aware are you of your body?
What do you think of moving around like that?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Last week I wrote about pain and how to tap for it.

Next, I want to look at some reasons for pain that we create ourselves. I have close and personal experience with at least two of them… let’s start with the one that’s more typical for writers.

Carpal Tunnel

Unfortunately, this is a common one among writers, simply because we move our  hands so much in typing.  My own story about Carpal Tunnel is a bit unusual, but bear it in mind.

Carpal Tunnel is a repetitive strain injury.

And common wisdom holds it that it comes from too much typing.

I got a new computer at work, and my IT colleague flipped out the little supports on the keyboard before she put it on my desk, making it sit higher in the back, making me bend my wrists more when typing. I didn’t really like it, but she assured me it would make typing better. So I left it at that.

At around the same time, I started doing pull-ups in the gym using a new machine, putting new strain on my muscles and sinews in my forearms.

I don’t know if it was the combination of those or a lot of typing at work or just the position of my wrists… but long story short – I developed carpal tunnel. Swollen hands at night. Stiff fingers. Tingling.

Add in a neurologist who misdiagnosed me so I delayed treatment for about three months, and I got a nice solid case of serious pain. Our insurance demands that we try braces before surgery, so I got braces. They didn’t help.

The pain was horrible.

This was before I learned about EFT, and I remember several afternoons I spent just sitting in my armchair waiting for the pain to ease. It didn’t really. Normal pain killers don’t really work on nerve pain. I got an appointment for surgery on my right hand, and I almost cried because I had to wait about three months for it.

I also read up on carpal tunnel and decided I would do something about the placement of my keyboards. I got keyboard trays for both of my desks, at home and at work. It was easy at work. They had seen me try to type with the braces… and my husband put the one into my desk that I still use today.

I changed my posture.

And then something really weird happened: I started writing. A lot. Because my first story bug hit me. I never counted, but I was writing for hours every day, and I think I did at least 30k words in those three January weeks before surgery. At least. It sure took my mind off the pain.

And the pain went away. I just didn’t cancel the surgery because it was scheduled and I had waited three months for it to happen. I didn’t trust the improvement. But I kept writing – carefully – after the surgery. And I never made an appointment for my left hand. When I had a back-up check with the good neurologist, he was surprised at the improvement in my left hand. That never happens without surgery, he told me.

I believe that writing in a good posture, with hardly any bending of my wrists, thanks to the low keyboard trays, actually healed my carpal tunnel. All that movement lubricated the sinews in my wrist and allowed the inflammation to fade away, reducing any swelling and thus releasing the nerve.

My carpal tunnel healed with the change of posture.

Now this is rare. But I want you to be aware of this possibility. If you have symptoms like tingling in your thumb and first and middle finger, swollen hands in the morning, a dull, aching pain that sometimes shoots up to the shoulder – consider carpal tunnel and DO change your wrist position.

I did get confirmation of that theory, though. Because one day, I got a new desk at work, and the old keyboard tray was lost. I said I needed a new keyboard tray for health reasons and was refused. Three weeks later, I was developing symptoms again, and I insisted on a keyboard tray. As soon as I got it – symptoms went away.

Take care of your wrists.

Do what it takes to keep your wrists as straight as possible while typing. Get wrist supports, a keyboard try or a standing desk. Being a writer still means typing lots for us, and you must make it so that it doesn’t give you pain or an illness.

I can’t guarantee it’ll help you the way it helped me. But it’s worth a try before you go to surgery, right?

So where does EFT come in here?

Well, of course, you could tap on the pain, and you should because it’ll give you temporary relief. But if you don’t change anything, that pain will come back anyway. EFT can do a lot, but if there is a serious injury, your body will make itself heard no matter how hard you tap.

I believe it’s smarter in the long run to change your posture and your work environment, especially since we writers spend hours and hours typing our stories.

So let’s tap on your resistance to that change.

Even though I have this pain in my wrists and all the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel, I’m okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to try new ways of writing at my desk.

Even though I totally hate this Carpal Tunnel pain, and I have to keep writing through it, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to try a keyboard tray or whatever it takes to save my wrists all that bending work.

Even though I hate this Carpal Tunnel and all it does to me and my writing, and yet I don’t want to change anything – I just want it to be back to normal (*wail*), I’m okay the way I am, and I choose to know that using a keyboard tray or something else that helps my posture could very much improve my situation and my writing.

Your Turn:
Do you have any experience with Carpal Tunnel?
How does it feel to change your writing environment?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Pain

Headache

Headache

So I did a really stupid thing last night and tried to sleep through a fairly strong headache. I don’t usually take anything for headaches, but maybe I should have…

Even so, I managed to get some sleep (and had some wild dreams). The one thing that helped me sleep was EFT tapping. I’m so used to it that I can tap just feeling the tapping points and thinking the words.

I don’t recommend that for beginners, because EFT really works faster if you put your emotions behind it and speaking the sentences out loud – even cursing at times – does make it easier.

So anyway, I tapped on the pain and stuff that bothered me, and pretty soon I was yawning and falling asleep. I had to repeat that in the middle of the night, but other than that, I did get most of the sleep I need per night. (Although that darn headache still isn’t entirely gone.)

There are a few tricks to tapping on pain that I want to share with you today.

Now here’s a warning: If strong pain keeps coming back, it’s something serious, and you should see a professional. EFT can take away pain quite efficiently (I did that a lot when I broke my collar-bone), but pain is the body’s warning signal, and we should listen to it if we get it loud and clear repeatedly.

Back to tapping on pain. These are steps I recommend to give you something to work with and to really gain focus – being focused makes tapping more efficient.

1. Find the exact location of the pain
2. Monitor the intensity of the pain (you can use a scale from 0-10)
3. Notice the color and kind of pain (it gives you one more thing to check for change)
4. Tune into your emotion about the pain

If you want to be very thorough, you can write it all down on a piece of paper so you can check back on the changes after each tapping round. Treat it as an experiment!

Use all your detail in the set-up phrases and let your emotions flow. Try to get really involved in this – cursing is just fine! (Pain brings out the crabby Firle in me, and yes, I curse when I tap on it.)

Go through a tapping round (I usually go through all tapping points three or four times in one “round”), and then check back with your list. Usually, there are changes.

Keep going. Depending on the kind of pain (and of course, the physical reasons behind it), it can take a few rounds before it goes down. Once it does go down, change your words to reflect the easing, but keep going until it’s totally gone.

I know. I don’t always have the patience to do that, either. It’s still the best way to go because once you tap the pain away completely, it’s more likely to stay away – especially with headaches and migraines.

Here are set-up phrases modelled on my current headache. You’ll find a complete tapping round in the newsletter (but with pain, one round usually isn’t enough, so keep going).

Even though I have this blasted headache, spreading from the back of my head in red waves, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m now asking my body to gently release the pain and everything that causes it.

Even though I really hate this effing headache, red and ugly, spreading in waves from the back of my head, I really love and accept myself, and I’m giving myself permission to release that headache now.

Even though I’m soooo annoyed at this ugly headache, spreading in red, icky waves from the back of my head, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now choose to surprise myself by how quickly I can release that awful pain.

Your Turn:
What kinds of pain do you experience?
How does it feel to get close and personal with the pain?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Vacation

Good self-care includes breaks.

Which is why I am on vacation this week. I’m visiting my Dad and enjoying his company very much. However, he doesn’t want to be on social media, so I’m just sharing the cosy spot on his balcony where we share meals when it’s nice and warm.

Give yourself breaks. This is a very low-cost one (just the train tickets, really), and it’s incredibly restorative.

I’ll be back to posting full articles next week.

Dad's balcony

Dad’s Balcony

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Self-Care for Writers – Walking

Walking

Walking

I’m going to stay just a little longer with that terrible word: Exercise.

But since I believe that gyms provide a most unnatural way of exercising and  are about the most evil invention ever (granted, they are helpful if you need to strengthen some specific parts of your body), you won’t ever get a recommendation for gym work from me.

Instead, I want to suggest something else entirely:

Walking.

Humans evolved as hunters and gatherers. Which means that walking (and sometimes running) are the most natural kinds of moving around. And walking is safer than running, for your joints and your heart, and in combination with dogs. Ahem.

So get up and walk – start today!

Now, I’m in the lucky position that I can actually walk to work. It’s a mere 2 km (a little more than a mile), and I do it twice every day, in about 17 minutes straight. In fact, I take a little detour on my way back to walk through a park which takes a couple of minutes more.

I’m also aware that I live in Germany and am very fortunate that there are lots and lots of public sidewalks, dirt roads and hiking paths freely available to the public. And in fact, most forests are open to the public, too, even if they are privately owned. They cannot be fenced in. So getting good walks here is easy.

Even so, I encourage you to find a route in your neighborhood that you can walk daily.

Daily! Yes, indeed.

It’s a nice addition to the little hourly dance I suggested last week, because it’ll get your body’s systems up and moving for a longer time, adding stamina.

Also, don’t use headphones during that walk.

Why not?

Because if you walk with your senses engaged in your surroundings, you are safer. And you reconnect to nature, even in town. You can probably see and hear birds, listen to the wind in trees and feel it on your skin. But you need to be aware to do so, and you won’t be if you’re shutting out the environment by listening to a book or music.

A walk is also a great time to daydream about your stories. I’ve found many a plot twist on my walks to and from work. It seems that moving your body can also jog that old brain.

If you’re out on a walk and you don’t take your smartphone – eeeek! – you can also think without being disturbed by anyone. And honestly, a 20 min break away from being online won’t cost you anything, but it may bring you some peace.

Reconnect with nature.

The best thing about daily walks? They reconnect you to the rhythm of nature. Yes, you might get wet once in a while because rain is part of that, but you’ll also experience the seasons.

Once you have found your route, you’ll notice little changes every day. Flowers that come and go, even if they are just weeds in the cracks. Different kinds of birds…. you might even learn to identify their calls.

I saw a wren sing for the first time in my life just a couple of weeks ago – on my walk to work. I stopped for a minute or two to watch and listen. It’s a little moment of joy that I hold in my memories.

A little walking can give you a lot.

So if you’re like me and you sit at the computer way too much every day, do consider setting aside 20 or 30 minutes for a walk every day. You don’t need a dog for that. And you could even make it a “worthwhile” tour by getting groceries or taking pictures or using it as your plotting time. Just allow yourself to be aware of nature while you do.

And if you think you can’t… well, here’s some tapping to make it easier for you.

Even though I live in a place that doesn’t let me enjoy a walk, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to explore anyway.

Even though it feels dangerous to leave the house and walk along the lane without a sidewalk, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to do it carefully and with lots of common sense.

Even though I don’t really want to get up and move, and taking half an hour out of my day seems like too much, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to experiment with that for a couple of days.

Your Turn:
What do you think about regular walks?
Do you have a good route to walk?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Moving

Dancing on the Spot

Dancing on the Spot

I think for many writers there is a nasty four-letter word that’s spelled with eight letters: Exercise.

I mean, we usually sit at a desk in front of a computer (like old-fashioned me) or somewhere with a laptop or even cell phone, but usually we sit, and the only parts of our body that really move are just our fingers.

Exercise simply takes precious writing time, especially if you’re scraping out your writing time from work, caring for a family and having other obligations.

So for now, I’ll just say “moving”. Because that’s a form of exercise that doesn’t sound as dangerous, does it?

There are lots of ways to get moving.

Now I’m in the happy position that I can walk to my day job, which takes me roughly 20 minutes each way. That is pretty good, and yet I’m not really in good shape. But if you can add 20 minutes of walking at a good clip to your day, you’ll already get a lot more movement than most writers.

Alternatively, you can get a dog and walk it every day. That’ll give you more than 20 minutes of moving around, but of course, having a dog does take more than just walking it.

I also know authors who use a standing desk, and it helps them to move around more and still write at the same time. Taking this idea a little further, I suppose one could install a treadmill under the standing desk.

I even know a handful of authors who dictate their writing while hiking up a mountain.

By now, I think you’re really shaking your head.

Nope, not your kind of exercise. And you don’t have the time for it, either.

So I have a little suggestion.

In fact, I do this, not as often as I should, but I do it more often than not:

1. Set your computer to remind you every hour on the hour to move around a little.
2. Get up and dance on the spot for a minute or two when it does.
3. Repeat every hour that you’re on the computer.

This will get your heart rate up a little, it’ll make you breathe a little deeper and faster, and that’s all it’s supposed to do. And this will change your metabolism, get your blood flowing and make you feel alive. Plus, maybe it’ll also help to regrow some of those atrophied muscles. (I’m joking!)

And it only takes a minute!

That’s perfectly doable!

And I’m offering a little tapping to help you enjoy these little breaks from sitting and focusing on the screen.

Even though I really hate exercise and I feel so guilty for not exercising, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to find ways of moving around that fit me and my life-style.

Even though just the word “exercise” can make me feel bad and guilty, and possibly furious, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I give myself permission to find good ways to move around more.

Even though I really hate the social pressure to “exercise”, and I don’t have time for any horrible gym anyway, I’m totally okay, and I now choose to find perfect ways of putting more movement into my day.

Your Turn:
What are your feelings about exercise?
Do you have a good routine to move around?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Insomnia

I can't sleep

I can’t sleep

There are few things worse than trying to fall asleep and failing. Getting angry at not being able to sleep, which of course makes everything worse. And feeling bad for not getting all the nice sleep you scheduled after reading last week’s post.

I’ve been there.

In my case, it was made worse by a snoring partner (those days are gone, though), and by a lot of worry. I think worry is actually the thing that is behind most of the times when we cannot stop the brain from thinking.

My brain serves up anything from worry to character dialogue to old incidences that still bother me to imagined disputes with imagined people, trouble with the electricity company… you’re probably nodding because you know all this.

Well, most of that stopped after I discovered EFT.

Because that tapping is a fast way to relieve stress and calm the body and mind. It helps to regulate the vagus system (which is that part of the nervous system that rules over healing, digestion, sex and relaxation). The vagus system is turned off if you have too much adrenalin rushing through your body aka too much stress. Instead, you’re in fight/flight mode, which is anything but conductive to sleep.

Unfortunately, being worried can become quite a thought habit.

And if your busy, busy, busy all day long and manage to ignore all that worry in order to get stuff done, your brain catches up with the amount of worry due when you curl up in bed and try to sleep.

Which is why the EFT tapping phrases I’ll offer below are about reducing the amount of worrying in your life.

A special EFT trick can help.

But before I do that, I want to share a trick that I sometimes use when I have trouble falling asleep. It does require that you are somewhat familiar with the EFT points, so you might go and look at the tapping video again where I explain the points. (The Tapping Video)

Now, doing full tapping rounds while lying in bed is a tad annoying. If I need that, I do it in my mind, but that does take a bit of experience as well. The trick is much simpler:

Put two fingers on the first EFT point (Inner Eye) and take a slow, comfortable breath, as deep as feels good for you. When you’re done, move to the next point (Outer Eye) and repeat. Go through all the points if you can, but at least go to the Collar Bone one – the others are less easy to reach.

Do another round if you aren’t calm enough after the first one.

Usually, this calms down the mind, the body and allows you to fall asleep.

In addition, it really helps to develop a habit of thinking about something calming in bed, like imagining a lovely beach, a waterfall, a sunny clearing or something similarly soothing. (Yes, you know that, but it rarely works for you. Try that after the breathing exercise and make it a habit.)

The good news is that insomnia isn’t a fate you’re saddled with all your life. Now you have something you can do! And the next step is to release as much of the underlying worry as you can.

Here are your tapping sentences:

Even though I’m so used to worrying about everything in my life, it’s something I learned to keep me safe, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to unlearn that old programming and stop that worrying right now!

Even though I was taught to worry and to expect bad things in order to be protected, I’m totally okay, and I now realize that this thought habit is not helping me at all, so I’m letting it go now.

Even though all this worrying keeps me from getting enough sleep and really makes my days harder than they need to be, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of that harmful thought habit and focus on nice things while falling asleep.

Your Turn:
What are your experiences with insomnia?
What do you routinely think about while in bed?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Self-Care for Writers – Sleep

Getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep

Today, I’m escalating the rest topic, and will talk about getting enough sleep. I know so many friends who are so busy that they don’t get enough sleep. Or cut their sleep time short on purpose as a habit. It scares me. I don’t even think that pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline will yield good results. I will explain below.

Let me start with a little memory:

At a coaching event, one of the speakers described her new method to become an even more successful business owner: Limit her sleep to five hours per day, and use the new-found time to get even more done. She was serious and quite proud that she had trained her body to get along on just five hours. And she suggested that everyone could and should do that, and stop wasting so much time on “useless sleep”. Anyone getting more than five hours of sleep was a slacker in her eyes.

I was appalled.

This is the most self-destructive decision and suggestion I can imagine. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Rest

Rest

Rest

Let’s start with the big and obvious one: Rest.

If you’re a bit like me, you work pushing yourself, trying to get stuff done, finish the book, the editing, the formatting… and you ignore the effect all that focused work has on your mind and body.

Here’s an easy test:

Close your eyes for a moment.
Be aware of how that feels.

When I do that and get the sense I could keel over and fall asleep right away – then I know it’s beyond time for rest. It’s a quick way to check in with your body, especially if you – like me – live practically glued to your computer and the never-ending activities that demand attention.

Rest can take many forms for me, and you need to figure out what works best for you.

Just to give you a range of options, this is what I do: Continue reading

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