“Authors with a mortgage never get writer’s block.”
My mortgage is my student loan debt and while I don’t have writer’s block, there is no money to pay that debt in current sight. So, I sit and type and rush my way through this and that, hoping that some vain attempt in some direction or other will lead to the green.
In all that rushing I often glance up at the clock and find it’s 9pm and I question when I ate lunch, and sometimes if I did. Other times my bedtime buzzer is dismissed only for me to realize it’s 1:59am and I’m no closer to bed than I was four hours ago when the alarm reminding me to sleep first went off.
Yet, there is so much to do; so much to write. I get overwhelmed with ideas luckily, but then I can’t stop writing and I find myself dizzy, my heart racing, and I realize I’ve hardly been breathing for the last hour. Somehow, even though this is the case, the work gets done and published or sent.
And then I wait. I wait and stress. I feel overwhelmed and exhausted and know that a good 30 minutes of yoga will aid my stress, but I’m too tired to do it. So I sit some more and plan up alternative life possibilities in jobs I know I’ll hate in the hopes I can keep the debt collectors at bay.
At certain moments I have epiphanies when I realize that in this moment everything is okay, and even if the debt collectors come calling, I’ll be okay because you don’t necessarily die when you run out of money, things just get a little trickier. I also realize that part of my problem with my finances stems from frantically throwing my arms and legs out in different directions, without truly taking one step in front of another to get to where I really want to go.
I realize, in turn, that this is also partly due to the fact that I do forget to eat and don’t get enough, regularly scheduled sleep. Then when I do it’s food that’s fast and junky because ‘I don’t have time’, and my sleep patterns range from 11pm lights out to 2pm rising, which then leads to 6am lights out, if I can even get them to turn off the next day.
It’s at times like these, when things feel like they’re on the precipice of falling apart, that I know I need to put the most effort into taking care of myself mentally and physically. For only when my vegetables are piled high on the dining room table at 6pm, and my evening ritual doesn’t rely on melatonin to guide me toward dreamland, can I really focus on a more stable future.
So this is my advice to myself and you for this week and for as long as this situation may continue:
- Take care of yourself!
- Eat a healthy balanced meal whenever you feel hungry.
- Take time out to cook that meal as a means of relaxing and connecting with your health.
- Set a sleep schedule. Try to make it the same every night. Try to get up at the same time every morning. If you’re a night owl like me, this is a killer, but I feel a lot better when I can do it.
- Make a point of exercising, even if it’s just for 15 minutes as you walk your dog or jog to the store to buy some milk.
- Set a timer for whatever you’re doing. Take short breaks between periods of writing. I tend to set a timer for 60-90 minutes of writing and then read a book or wash the dishes to get myself away from screens for 15-20 minutes (otherwise I’ll end up watching TV and it doesn’t feel like much of a break).
- Remember that the better you take care of your mental and physical self, the easier it will be to handle the stress of difficult time like those in which I am right now; times when the money coming in doesn’t equal what goes out.
- And one last thing: don’t forget that change is inevitable. If you put the time, hard work and effort into getting yourself into a better place, it will happen. You’ll just need a bit of patience waiting until it does.
#Every Day, Begin Again