Give Me A #$@&%*! Break

This week, we’re talking about self-care.

I know I’m speaking to the choir when I say my day is generally jam packed and I’m pulled in a million different directions. Friends, why do we do that to ourselves?

Sometimes, I honestly think the answer is because we don’t have a choice. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a colleague. I’m also an author. So that obviously means finding time to write new stuff, but also promoting my soon-to-be stuff. I find myself spending a lot of time trying to navigate my debut year (fortunately, I have amazing people right beside me), which is nothing short of writing promotional articles/essays, brainstorming promotional ideas, reading for other debut-author friends, trying to connect with bloggers and readers, copyediting, line editing, making trips to the post office, et al., et al.

Really, I’m not complaining. I lead a full life, one I’m very fortunate to have. But there are times where I become a bit… overwhelmed. In the past, I haven’t been very good at self-care. I ended up sitting in front of my family doctor, unloading on her, only to receive a startled face in response. I may’ve broken my doctor.

I strongly felt the need to make a few changes and develop a plan for myself, and to my surprise, the following has been working wonders for me.

Hydrate. It’s remarkable the benefits of drinking plenty of water: relieves stress, can help with depression and anxiety, improves mood, can help relieve headaches, aids in digestion, promotes weight loss, among other things. I’ll take every single one of those perks, every single day.

Exercise. I’ve always been a big worker outer. Never to Lynn’s level of climbing mountains and doing ultramarathons. I’ve only done normal marathons. But boy, after kids and having that jam-packed day, it was hard to establish an exercise routine, and I didn’t quite feel like myself. Exercise has always been an outlet for me to relieve stress and feel more balanced. So I’m making it a priority again, challenging myself to take a spin class every other day (except national holidays, unobserved holidays, and birthdays).

Single-Task. Whoever invented multi-tasking should be knocked upside the head. I fell victim to it, but no more. I’m done. I’ve been trying really hard to compartmentalize my day. I’ve got keeping my two kiddos healthy and happy. I’ve got writing my new books, before the kiddos wake-up and during nap time. I’ve got doing all that stuff I need to do for my soon-to-be books, after the kids go to bed. I’m really trying hard not to let those things overlap. Then, I’ve got everything else… housework, catching up on TV, reading, drinking water, exercising, living (maybe I multi-task a little on that stuff). But at the end of the day, I feel a lot more accomplished and a lot less guilt. No more “Mommy, can you stop working now?” (Confession: sometimes I’ll take a quick peek at my phone for any Twitter or email notifications).

Use Profanity. I’ve never been someone who cursed a lot. I don’t have a problem with people who do. Curse like a sailor for all I care. It’s just not a habit I established… unless I’m really upset, angry, or thrown off kilter. Those closest to me know that if I throw a four-letter word at them, I mean business. And honestly, it feels really great sometimes to let those expletives fly. Lalochezia, it’s a real thing, though I try not to practice lalochezia in front of the kids. My three-year-old is 100% at that stage where she repeats everything. Just the other day my husband was making an alcohol run. He asked me what size bottle of wine I wanted. “The big one.” It’s economical. He took my daughter with him (our Wine & Spirts is attached to our grocery store and he was getting a few other things as well. Don’t judge), and my little darling proclaimed to everyone she passed how “Mommy needs the BIG bottle.” So there’s that.

And there’s my four-part plan. I’m open to suggestions, too. Is there anything that’s worked wonders for you?

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Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years ​chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, 5/9/2017) is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. SIDE BY SIDE, telling Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree story, will be released in the summer of 2018. Please learn more about Jenni's books at jennilwalsh.com.

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