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It’s the end of the year, and the burnout is real. Writing nearly double the words in 2020 as I did in 2019 and NaNoWriMo killed my brain function. I swear.

Pair that with editing and publishing an anthology with 74 stories, and brain has mushed. As it has a tendency to do. I often like to push myself past where I should.

I probably wouldn’t do this so often if it didn’t produce such nice results. The problem with this, however, is when my productivity dips, I chastise myself with how lazy I’m being, how I could be making this or getting that done. It’s not healthy.

So, it’s time to refill the well, and if I plan some of it into my schedule, I can feel like I’m not just wasting time.

Here are some of the things I plan to do to take care of my creativity and mental health:

Baking—chocolate cake, brownies, cinnamon rolls, cookies (of all varieties), and pies. I love to make sweets. The boys love to eat these, too, if they can get ahold of them before I do. I found this new chocolate cake recipe that is the fudgiest thing ever. We compared it to the boxed stuff, and man, does this beast kill on flavor. If you bake, try it out and let me know if you like it!

Trying New Recipes—cooking in general is my main contribution to my family, so often, this feels like another chore. Unless I’m trying a new recipe. I love experimenting. It’s the best when the family likes the new meal, which also adds a new choice to the rotation, but I also really like to try some strange things. So when I get a chance to meddle in something that’s just for me, it’s a real treat. Got any suggestions? Drop them below for me!

Reading Books—on average, I’ve been reading between eight and twelve books a month. With my new job, I’m not sure how those numbers are going to sway, but reading amps up my creativity. I’ll read in my genre, out of my comfort zone, nonfiction, and it all offers me something new. I love that about books. If you’re a reader, please make me some recommendations.

Coloring—I’m a big kid, and as I’d like to start drawing and painting again, I love to color. Give me a line-drawing and hand over those colored pencils, and I am on top of that. I’m layering colors and using different strokes to enhance my masterpiece. I used to do this for my bullet journal. I have a Bob’s Burgers coloring book that I can’t wait to crack open. 

Sudoku & Puzzles—I LOVE puzzles, number puzzles, word puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles. I need to get my hands on more of the last. I’ll spend an entire day working on a 1,000 piece one, and the best part is that the family can come and help. The downfall…cats. We need a safe place to store them.

Planning—I truly love my bullet journal, my traveler’s notebook, and my home-made mini–Happy Planner. I also have so many sheets for preplanning and book planning, and I probably overdo it just a tad, but when I’m exhausted, I like to dabble in them. It means drawing and crafting and paper and markers and a different kind of creativity that can lead to future results. Two birds meet stone.

Down Time with the Family—Sometimes, it’s just nice to sit on the couch, play a game on my iPad and have the boys talk about gaming and stocks and reddit and the news. It’s nice to play with the kitties. It’s nice to watch a movie or new show or eat cake together and talk. It’s just nice.

YouTube Binge—I have some clear trends on my YouTube feed: Korean cafes and cooking, planning/bullet journaling, booktube, authortube, cake decorating, Eva Fitness (Mira is magnetic y’all) and other workout girls, soap making (Royalty Soaps!), illustrators and their packing videos, and pop music. I can find myself running the rabbit hole in spirals. 

Working Out—this is a habit that’s serving me so well. I started working out consistently about ten years ago. And not only does it have all of those chemical reactions that signal happiness and elevate the mood, but I’ve noticed while working with some people half my age to eight years my junior that I have a lot more energy than they do. I don’t have complaints about standing around, bending or lifting things, or a bad back. I mean, sure, my back or my hip or my neck might get me on the occasion, but regular weights and stretching and cardio really do keep me young. Also, walking and running and stretching is a great way to brainstorm ideas, too.

Resting—Oh, this one is hard. Sitting or lying with nothing to do. Just letting my mind wander…it’s not something I often do. Even when I go to bed, I have cartoons playing in the background. It’s my overactive mind. When I don’t engage it, it goes off on its own, and that can be great, but it isn’t always, which is likely why I tend to avoid it. I think some meditation or guided breathing might do me good.

Yup, that’s a great big list. Is there anything on your unwinding, self-care, or refilling the well activities list that isn’t on mine? Please, share them with me! I love new ideas. If you do anything on my list, tell me about it!

Thanks guys, and may your wells be full for 2021!