Volume 2, Issue 11: On Doing Things for Fun

Hi friends! I’ve done “daily check-ins” on one social media platform or another since November 2016. Within the past couple of years, I’ve done them only on Twitter. They’ve morphed from a “Daily check-in. How are you?” invitation for sharing to more of a “Daily check-in. Time for a stretch and some water and some time away from the internet” or something similar each day. What it ends up being is not only something that I think my followers might need to hear, but primarily, what I, myself, need to hear.

Similarly, often what I write about in this newsletter is not only what I think that you might benefit from, but also it’s a bit of navel-gazing and figuring out what I need to hear, too. I figure if I need to hear it, then at least one other person might need to hear it too. We’ll circle back to this.

Earlier this week I was filling out the long intake questionnaire for my new therapist and one of the questions was something along the lines of “What do you do for fun?” and, I gotta tell ya, I drew a blank. What DO I do for the care and feeding of my well-being? I think part of the problem lately is that I haven’t been doing any of the things that I love that bring me joy that would answer this question. I’ve not been baking. I’ve not been writing snail mail. I haven’t picked up my ukulele in months and I haven’t done archery in years.

I ended up answering with reading because I read a lot and I fucking love reading and reading is my self-care. But I also get paid to read and I have to read on a schedule and the books I pick out have parameters and yes, I totally am able to (mostly) read the books I want to read anyway.

But, ya’ll. I’m going to say something and I hate myself for saying it but it needs to be said to me and maybe to you.

Maybe, what you do for self-care should not also be the same thing you do for money and that you are obligated to do.

Or at least, it shouldn’t be the only thing. And right now, reading is my only thing.

I have a difficult (read: shitty) relationship with productivity. I’m sometimes too practical. I have a lot of baggage around being “useful.” So sometimes, I have a hard time with doing things just for the sake of doing them. Not to get paid. Not because I’m making something as a gift for a holiday or birthday. Not to put it on the internet and get likes. Not doing it because someone else is expecting me to do it.

But, I’ve written about the importance of being creative in this very newsletter. There’s even compelling research that doing creative activities can boost your well-being.

And I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t even been baking.

That being said, I look at this revelation as more of a wake-up and I am definitely not beating myself up over it. I have depression and an anxiety disorder and sometimes those of us dealing with mental illness just don’t have the spell slots to be creative. To do yet-one-more-thing. Motivation is hard to come by right now. But now I’ve been gently reminded that hey, maybe I should make more of an effort to get back to a hobby or two that isn’t reading. Yes, self-care that isn’t escapism. Go figure.

Funny enough, this piece on hobbies from NPR Life Kit popped up on my timeline recently and I wanted to share it with you all because it was a nice little read/listen.

This weekend we are going cherry picking and I have big plans for cherry-filled hand pies made with cherries I picked myself. We’ll see how it goes! And I may have a rainbow sock problem:

That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you want me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.

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