I’m typing this on my phone while sitting in a lodge at Heifer International Ranch, outside Perryville, Arkansas. That’s right, folks, I’m on vacation, so this isn’t even a real post.
I had considered skipping posting this week at all, because vacation, but I wanted to pop in and remind everyone that it’s not only okay to take a break and take care of yourself, it’s imperative.
I have been stressed almost to my breaking point for months. Always trying to do the next thing, help the next person, be the best at everything. Add in family and personal struggles and even my body was rebelling against the insanity.
And I’m not alone.
It seems like every day I’m having the conversation with someone about how busy and stressed they are and how much they need a vacation. How they feel guilty taking a vacation because there are people counting on them.
I’m the same way. I’ve always taken on so much that in the end I wasn’t being helpful to anyone. This week especially I was feeling like I’m just pretty much horrible at my job, horrible at writing, horrible at life.
So I gave myself permission to step back and appreciate the good things that I’d done. I brainstormed some good interventions with some of my therapists. I was able to support a colleague through some difficult situations. I picked my audiobook narrator. I made some big and exciting decisions about The Girl Before, which I will hopefully be able to share in the coming weeks. I turned in my MS for my next book three weeks ahead of deadline. It’s a book that I labored over and I’m proud of the end product, no matter how much my brain tries to tell me it’s terrible. My brother-in-law is reading TGB and can’t put it down, and it’s opened up some really interesting conversations.
The title of this blog is “Looking Out For Number 1.” I don’t mean that in a selfish way, at least not completely. I don’t mean that you infringe on the rights of others. I don’t mean that you ignore things that are important. What I mean is that sometimes we need to sit back and think about what’s really important. What has to be done RIGHT NOW. I bet if we were honest, a lot of the things we stress over would seem a lot smaller.
I should have my first round of edits for Book 2 in a week or so. I’m also on vacation for the next week, which works out well. Here are the things I’m giving myself permission to do:
1) Sleep in, no matter how silly my nieces and nephews think it is.
2) Read for hours. I did this yesterday and it was beautiful.
3) Sit. Even on vacation there’s pressure to GO GO GO and DO ALL THE THINGS. I call BS. I will go for walks and enjoy the beautiful 80 degree Arkansas weather, but I will also sit and enjoy freedom from responsiblity for a few days.
4) Not worry about Fitbit stats and steps and who has the most stars. Stress about my body can take a break for a few days.
5) Write what I want. Play around with words for no reason other than the sheer joy of it. Try on some different genres and styles with no expectations.
So that’s my list. That’s how I’m looking out for myself this week. How are you looking out for you?