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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Taking Inventory of Your Creative Health

This is the time of year when we all start to take inventory of our goals, health, personal relationships, etc. But as I was skimming author Christina Katz’s “The Writer’s Workbook” (which is broken out into tasks/reflections for each season of the year) I stumbled across a section on creative health that I found interesting in the “Winter” section.

I’ll admit I’ve neglected my own creative health for a while now. I started a new job in the fall and spent the first few months trying to get acclimated to my new surroundings, adjust to a new schedule, make sure my kids got shuttled to and from their various activities, wrap up a few freelance obligations, keep a somewhat regular posting schedule on my writing blog, and so on and so on. But when I look back on it, I’ve done a pretty poor job of taking care of my creative health. According to Katz, creative health involves eating healthy food, fostering relationships with friends and loved ones, drinking plenty of water, getting outside, taking care of your personal health and getting enough sleep among other things. Here’s how I’m faring:

1. Eating Healthy Food and Drinking Water. I definitely wasn’t doing enough of this. In the wintertime I tend to overload on sugar and carbs, well, pretty much comfort food in general. I started having a lot of acid reflux and had a wake up call when I stepped on the scale at the beginning of this month. I started the Weight Watchers online program (something I’ve never done before) and have been cooking up a storm, drastically cutting back my caffeine, refined sugar and carbs and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables than I’ve eaten in months. I’m also swigging water like there’s no tomorrow. The reflux has almost disappeared and I’m down almost four pounds in my first week and a half.

2. Relationships with Friends and Loved Ones. I’ve floundered miserably here. I can’t think of the last time I had coffee or a meal with a friend or even my husband alone. This is something I must make more time to do because hibernating in my house only gets me in more of a funk. Online relationships and texting do not equal the same thing as laughing with someone in person.

3. Getting Outside. I do pretty well with this, although we got snow today and I didn’t want to step foot outside. Brrr! When the sun is out I try to make it a priority to get outside for a 2-mile run or walk at least two or three times a week. Loading my phone up with a few podcasts I enjoy gets me motivated, and I’m lucky my work schedule gets me home by 4 p.m. on most days so I can soak in the sun.

4. Taking Care of My Personal Health. As you can probably tell by my #1, I let this slide, too. I put off all my annual “female” wellness appointments last year and am taking steps to get them all on the calendar for January so I can make a fresh start.

5. One More to Grow On. While I’ve been a homebody for most of the months, I need to get out more and watch movies, browse used bookstores, journal, listen to music, take some day trips, and more things I enjoy doing. Taking time for these types of things are just as important as our physical health, so it’s time to take action.

How is your creative health? Are there areas where you could use some self-care? How are you taking proactive steps in the New Year to focus on it?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also blogs at Her short story, “The Polaroid,” recently won first place Suspense/Thriller category in the 2018 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Contest.


  1. Renee--The first step is admitting I have a problem, right?

    I've been doing things for ages that gnaw away at my creativity. Now I just need to take some steps in the right direction to change my bad habits into good ones. (I heard on the radio that after 66 days of doing something--I think that's the right number--it becomes a genuine habit.)

    Good luck. I'm sure you'll be successful in making the changes you desire...

  2. Renee ~ Congrats on changing your diet and cutting out sugar, and for losing four pounds in a week and a half! That's awesome.

    I've been sucking on my creative health lately--I had surgery three weeks ago and can't exercise with the broken ankle, and can't really get outside for long periods of time because my ankle starts to swell. Plus, I can't drive...well, I can drive, but I can't put my knee scooter in the car while hopping on one leg by myself, so I need help getting in and out of the car. It totally blows! But I've been doing arm exercises and some ab work. :)

    I'm still vegan, so I can eat anything I want as long as it's plant-based and not gain or lose weight. I would love to lose ten pounds, but I like food too much!

    I go out with a girlfriend at least once a week, but that's not nearly as much as I'd like. Hubby and I have been going out frequently to dinner, movies with reclining seats so I can keep my foot up, and some short day trips.

    Since I can't get out deep in nature, which was a daily staple of mine, I've been playing video games again for the first time in years, unfortunately. =/ I just finished Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted 4. Ugh! I should be using that time to write. That'll all change in February though because of Sioux's accountability group! :)

  3. So it turns out that our creative health is really the same as being healthy in general--right?

    I love the Weight Watchers program, Renee. I did it when I had Katie and I lost all my weight and even more--so much that I was down to my college weight. And I didn't think it was super hard because you can eat--just have to eat the right foods and portion control. I still use (most days) those habits now.


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