A Little Self Care …

close up photography of fawn pug covered with brown cloth
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The past few days have seen a slowdown in the writing of my book. A tiredness and lethargy combined with family commitments are poor excuses; and yet when one’s brain is foggy and the body is longing for a sleep that never seems to remedy the situation, it is hard to see the wood for the trees and make progress.

As it turns out, my folate levels are at rock bottom but in many respects, I’m rather glad that it’s not simply my own laziness that has been the culprit relating to this fatigue. So it is with almost a sense of relief that I have been told to be kind to myself, something that I have never in truth been an advocate of. But needs must, and when the wise doctor speaks, I must take heed of his advice.

So strangely, I feel reassured and as a consequence am further determined to write, albeit in bed! I’m not entirely sure that this recumbent form of filling the day is what my medical guru was intending, but as I sit surrounded by soft pillows, light-as-a-thousand-feathers duck-down duvet and the soft light glowing from the bedside lamp, I must confess to feeling rather marvellous, if incredibly guilty. I am if nothing, one to take advice to the extremes.

Sadly however, this being London, there is a car intermittently blasting it’s alarm, a thud, thud base of music resounding through the walls from the traffic jam outside the house, and God forbid, the thought that my wonderful mother-in-law will be making her daily FaceTime call shortly is more than enough to end this sedentary self-care. Life quite frankly just go on, and the shame of being in bed at half past nine in the morning is shocking even to my befuddled, exhausted little mind.

So up I shall get and face the day whilst munching on some dark, leafy vegetables, and find my folate supplements. I shall seek peace and solace in my writing and make progress once again. As for the car alarm, I shall continue to huff, puff and mutter about moving to Outer Mongolia for a bit of peace and quiet. Alternatively, I could just hide for a little longer deep under the duvet, so that the sounds of life in a city are softened and a little muffled. But by God, it’s hot under there and as I emerge red faced and sweaty, I can hear my mother-in-law trying to FaceTime me …. Yes, enough self care, it’s time to crack on.

Katie xxx

How do you combat tiredness? Is your bedroom noisy or are you in Outer Mongolia?

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52 thoughts on “A Little Self Care …”

  1. It’s funny, because I like a bit of background noise – traffic, airplanes, etc. I find it comforting. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and when we go there for visits over Christmas and then in the summer, I find it really hard to sleep because the silence is quite literally deafening! In summer and with net windows, the only sounds either the distant whooshy noise of a timber truck thundering along on the main road a mile away or the rustle or cracks or branches as a deer or a moose wanders through the woods nearby. I suffer insomnia every time! And especially in summer when it doesn’t get properly dark! It’s like daylight until gone midnight and then between perhaps 1am and 3am is goes a bit dusky/dawny. But even in winter, it’s just too quiet. I don’t like it in daytime either. I can’t work out why because I grew up there so I keep thinking it’d be ingrained in me and be comforting but I feel WAY safer in the hustle and bustle of London. It’s ridiculous because the worst thing that could happen out there in countryside Sweden is you happen upon a wolf, but they’re – like most wild animals – more scared of you so there’s no actual danger. Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve been completely ruined by London and if I ever move away I’ll need sound recordings of traffic to feel at ease….

    As for the tiredness, I think I’m a bit lazy by nature…. Some people just seem to bounce about, whereas I could quite easily just watch shitty reality shows all day. I’ve been low on iron a few times, that got me REALLY zonked! What’s folate? Hope the supplements work!

    xx

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    1. A WOLF??!! Good God! Do they really howl just like in the movies? Oh yes, I could watch telly all day too, but it’s fear of getting caught – I think that’s because hubby is so ridiculously energetic. He’s only calm when he’s asleep and SUCH a light sleeper. No burglar would ever stand a chance in this house! I was watching the Michael MacIntyre show at the weekend where he sneaks into someone’s house at night with a camera crew and then proceeds to turn on all the lights and ask a load of questions. Rather amusing, but this would be absolutely fatal in our house …. I’d scream the house down whilst the Colonel’s military training would see them hot-footing it with a few broken bones back whence they came!! Disaster, but might make for some good Saturday night television …!

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      1. Have to be honest and confess I’ve never heard a wolf (although it’s very tempting to make up some sort of a heroic tale of when I came eye to eye with old Grey Shanks but alas… Never happened…), but in recent years the wolf population around those parts has grown to be a bit of a problem and sightings are very common whereas before spotting a wolf was one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. Deer – yes, cute Bambi & friends – can make the worst horror movie noise though. They SCREAM, would you believe it? It literally sounds like a human that’s being tortured, it’s the worst sound in the world. Foxes have awful noises too. Moose you’d imagine to bellow, but they don’t – they make a stupid sounding squeaky sound! There – a little lesson in sounds made by Swedish wildlife.

        I’m totally like a baby – I sleep MUCH better when there’s a bit of background comfort noise. 🙂

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      2. Ha! I love your sounds of the forest! In France there were some mightily strange noises in the forests and being in the teeniest little tent it was a little scary at times! I think what I heard were the sangliers … the wild French boar 🐗 …. they’re HUGE! Carnivorous I know not, but I hid even deeper in my sleeping bag …

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    2. My eldest daughter was born in London. I took her to NZ to visit my sister when she was 4 months. I thought she would fall asleep really easily in the beachside location, but it was a nightmare. I was pounding the (deserted) streets with a restless, sleepless baby. As soon as we got back to the noisy tube and beeping cars, she returned to a placid, calm little napper.

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    1. Chinese pop tunes?! Heavens! Yes, I love my bed too… We once had a neighbour who would play opera very loudly with all the windows open. I loathed it, but he was a rather unpleasant man and in truth I think I was a bit scared of him. So I got my teenage son to practise his tenor horn scales in the garden for half an hour …. strangely the opera stopped!

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  2. I had to look up folate. How do you know you are low, is this something you were “diagnosed” with some time ago and returns from time to time?

    I used to live in a town, near a railway station and a fairly busy road so I got used to background street noise most of the time. It didn’t affect my sleeping. Then after moving to a far more rural area maybe eight years ago it was distinctly more quiet, but not dead quiet. The occasional car or more likely foxes, birds or bats give some background accompaniment. Again it didn’t seem to affect my ability to sleep and/or switch off.

    I remember I also used to always go to sleep listening to music on headphones when I was younger. And the music didn’t really matter, it could be something chilled like Brian Eno or Labradford or something far louder like Pixies or Smashing Pumpkins. I still seemed to fall asleep equally happily.

    This was when I had a bed of my own.

    However, these days we have a TV in the bedroom which I’m not a fan of at all. My wife often has it on at night, whereas I don’t like to go to bed until I’m ready to sleep. I see a bed as a place for two things only, sleep and, er, cuddling and stuff. I might read for a while but that’s very gentle an activity for me, I find TV very intrusive and annoying (generally – it’s worse in a bedroom). So it is something of a bone of contention between us.

    So this rambling answer could be summed up as our bedroom is sometimes noisier (and brighter) than I would like!

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    1. Ahh the big ‘tv in the bedroom’ debate …. Yes, that’s a tricky one. We don’t have one, but of course then the ipads come to bed which is even worse. As for the folate, I had a load of blood etc tests and that came up. Hopefully it will get remedied soon, but I discovered this morning that I’m really not one for just lolling around in bed. If I’m on my own all day though I do sometimes just turn on the tv or radio for a bit of background noise despite the fire engines and police cars roaring around outside. I daren’t sit down to watch something though as I’d be wanting to stay there all day!

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  3. Nine times out of ten, the act of writing itself combats my tiredness better than anything else. If it fails, I’m probably not supposed to be writing, either because of some unresolved problem in the writing itself or, much more likely, my body’s just not up to it. For the former I do something else, like taking a walk or watching football or butchering some music on my guitar. For the latter I let go of all guilt, and I may or may not do some research on the book so it’s not a complete wash. As for noise, I used to be so much better at ignoring it than I am now. Getting old sucks. You might have to look at the other comments for how to deal with noise. Probably once a week I go shopping online for noise-cancelling headphones, but I haven’t caved and bought any yet because it seems too melodramatic, like something Betty would do.

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    1. I bought some noise cancelling headphones a year or two ago and they do work well. Trouble is they are almost too good, and not hearing anything but the music you’re listening feels a bit strange and sterile at times. They’re good for when someone else around has another sound source on which you don’t want to hear (like a TV) but used for more than maybe half an hour they don’t feel natural somehow. Plus mine are proper over the head full ear headphones, not earphones, so there are limited positions to lay down with them and them be comfortable without them pressing into part of your head awkwardly – essentially you can only lay flat on your back.

      I would recommend them to block out sound, but for short periods, and not really to sleep with. More often I use the little earphones my Sony Xperia phone came with which are very comfortable, do block out some external sound, and I can lay in any position with and not feel them. It’s a better compromise for when I’m trying to sleep. Usually combined with a soft black blindfold.

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      1. I ordered some new ones a couple of months ago from Amazon, based on excellent reviews for comfort and sound. But I found them awful on both counts and promptly returned them! I’ve always found the Apple earphones pretty comfortable and they don’t stick out when laying your ear on a pillow.

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    2. Ha! ‘Butchering some music!’ … that’s made me laugh! And whilst you are shopping online for noise-cancelling headphones, I’m looking online for a house in the middle of deepest Devon or Suffolk! May I ask what the latest book is on? Katie

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      1. I wrote Conundrum 12 years ago. In it, we try to fly to Pegasus but don’t make it. I wrote Enigma 10 years ago. We make it to Pegasus. I finished writing the first draft of Paradox on Saturday. We try to fly to Kapteyn’s Star but don’t make it. I also reveal Major Tom’s last name. I thought it was time.

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  4. I’m a country girl and love the serenity of little more than birds in the morning. The thing about silence is it forces you to listen to what’s in your head, which often may be something we are avoiding and trying to drown out by keeping ourselves too busy to hear. I know I do anyway, so since I’ve moved back to the country, I’ve had to consider, acknowledge, and address the playlist in my head. Over the years I’ve been able to let go of the guilt associated with rest days but also find your body usually knows best. If your body needs the rest it will compel you to rest, although those lethargic days seem to live in an awfully gray space…

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    1. Yes, this resonates with me. I understand completely. The playlist in my head is on repeat at the moment … circular thoughts that are frankly beginning to irritate me now which in fact is a positive thing. You’re right though, our bodies do try to tell us what we need. Thanks for sharing. Katie x

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  5. The opening paragraph is basically how I feel about my own novel writing efforts *sigh* I hope you’re feeling better and fair play on remaining so dedicated and determined!! 💪🏼 well done 🙂

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  6. It is quiet where I live so my entire home is quiet. I enjoy the silence and have a low tolerance of noise. If my body dictates rest then I must do so, as my long healing journey is coming to an end. You must care for yourself. Duvets are always inviting the softness of them is like a lure to sleep.

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  7. Gah! Katie! I’ve been wondering where you went and you were somehow removed from my Reader! In so terribly sorry, but ecstatic to have you and your clever writing back in my e-mails!

    Oh… Yes.. Self-care. Hmmm. I take snippets here and there of time to myself. I haven’t quite mastered doing this while the kids are around, but I’ll keep trying.

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    1. Hellooooo! I’m so sorry, this was my fault. I had to come off for a couple of weeks as m husbands ex-wife started to read my blog which was very unhelpful in so many ways and I think that it’s caused all sorts of problems. But I’m here! Back again like the proverbial bad penny! Xx

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    1. Aww thank you! I’m not religious at all, but that makes me think of the logic of taking out the log or splinter in our own eye before helping someone else … or something like that! Makes sense to me!

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