Discuss: Mindfulness and self-care

I’m looking at you, fellow podcast creators, and wondering: Is it something about our craft which drives us to self-destructive behavior? I’ve spoken directly to many podcast creators and I can’t count the number of times I encounter self-destructive work ethic, lack of self-care, debilitating imposter syndrome, … we’re a wreck. We’re burning our candles from both ends.

I’d like to kick-off a discussion that does two things: One, causes each of us to take some time to self-assess. Two, let’s us share ideas for self-care which have personally resonated with us. I’ll go first…

self-assessment — I have murderous self-talk. Nothing I do qualifies as “good enough.” The feedback I receive is across-the-board, without-exception, stellar. People say things like “you’re aces,” “you’re awesome,” “that was delightful” (after a conversation,) “don’t ever stop doing this, it’s an invaluable service to the world,” and many more. And I know that’s all true! But to myself, I think: Yes, but you don’t know about this other part . . . and I have a seemingly endless array of things that I know I could do better. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

self-care

Practice gratitude. I suck at this. …which is how I know I need to work on it. (The obstacle is the way, as it were.) Vonnegut’s counsel to stop, look around and think, “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” Daily [early in my mornings] perusal of my old journals. A digital photo frame that has 500+ “best of” images we’ve taken over the years. I’ll take any scheduled moments, or spontaneous triggers, that causes me to stop and look around.

My morning stretching. (I’ve written a lot about this over on my blog.) This varies greatly with the seasons, and the months and years. But loosely it’s this: I have a physical space big enough to make a snow-angel, and I go there at some point in the morning. I sit. I lean. I roll to the side. I make glute-bridge, or do some leg-hip-movements. Some down-dog or other Yinn yoga-esque stuff. Often I’m listen to certain [carefully chosen] podcasts or music as I do this. I take a whole bunch of deep breaths… eventually, I work back up to standing, and go about my day.

Okay! Your turn . . .

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I pretty much get up, sit and stare at the computer (sometimes standing on one leg for hours until something profound is posted) and wait for a CraigGem notification to appear. I click, open, read, and then I start working. That’s it.
Ha! :rofl:

Seriously, this is a great post. I tend to view (at age 60+ I finally have a “lick of sense”) virtually everything as a “season.” Ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, sprints or marathons, it’s all part of life. My gut feeling is that many people choosing to participate in this podcasting (and Podcaster Community) arena likely lean toward the “critical of self” end of the “What Evs - to - It’s Gotta Be Perfect!” spectrum, but I also know (because of what people say here) that it’s typically thoughtful and beneficially balanced at the end of the day.

Each person’s current context is so unique (while nevertheless maintaining commonalities with their fellow sojourners) that anything anyone does to improve one’s craft, pursue one’s passion, and strive for a better life is also incredibly unique. What’s very cool is the opportunity to learn so much from “the others” and from their generosity.

So, all of that to say that Craig’s post, for me, is a welcome reminder to not focus on (often self-induced) frustrating elements of life and work, but to be grateful (which is one of the original points of Craig’s post), more intentionally and more often. Reflecting and expressing gratitude does not dismiss or diminish legitimate efforts for making things better. In fact, it may be a prerequisite for it.

Thanks Craig for making me think.

Later all. (In just a few hours I will be almost “off the grid” for a week or so. I look forward to re-engaging late next week).

Have a great day!

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I used to be really, really, really self-critical. I don’t see myself as self-critical anymore, but others do, so apparently that’s still a work in progress. :slight_smile:

I can be perfectionistic as well, and that’s obviously a real risk when it comes to podcast production, as it can lead to insane amounts of time spent on tiny, minute, generally irrelevant details. I am working really hard at the 80/20 approach to it, which feels like a good strategy to produce a product I’m still happy with without it taking so much time that I have no time for anything else.

I exercise 5 days a week and that’s been true for almost 2 decades now. It may not be an exaggeration for me to say exercise saved my life. It certainly helped me dig myself out of depression and has done a lot to help maintain and manage my mood.

I have gone through periods of regular meditation, and it definitely helps, but it’s also something I haven’t done so well in creating a consistent space for.

Journaling is another thing that falls into the same category. I’ve had periods where I did it as part of my morning routine, but that was back at a time when my morning routine was the same every morning, which hasn’t been the case for a number of years now, due to factors not within my control. I haven’t been determined enough to address this to find a solution yet, but I’m sure there is one, and I’ve been increasingly thinking this is something which would be good to incorporate.

As it relates to the podcast, self-care includes not checking download numbers regularly, giving myself permission to take a month off of releasing episodes when I was feeling really stressed and not having fun with it, shifting my release schedule, and otherwise adjusting to make sure I am ok first, vs. trying to force the solution of a high quality episode released each week when that’s not necessarily realistic to my circumstances right now.

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Wonderful kick-off @craig
I start with a prayer of thanks that Spirit has walked me out of Dreamtime - that whatever comes my way I can receive with a grateful heart. Meditation & quiet. Walking and/or the Pilates Studio. Scan the email, scan the calendar, scan these posts, upload today’s 60 Seconds episode to LinkedIn, get to work on whatever is on the task list. Stand & stretch every 30 minutes. Be glad I can stand &stretch.

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The great news for me is that I did this in my previous life as a musician and learned how not to (and quit being a musician formally which helped a lot).

Between that, a lot of therapy (not because of any of this, but it’s all interwoven) and a relentless need for self-improvement, I’m doing pretty well with podcasting (and writing, and most of the other creative pursuits that have become my gig since I quit teaching in December).

Well, no they don’t. But they weren’t talking about that part :slight_smile:

And really, the only people who expect you to be spit-shined inside and out are the people who are super-insecure and are looking for ways to bring you down so they can feel better about themselves. In other words, they don’t count.

Well, yes. Because you have some self-awareness. Everyone has things they can do better, because no one can do everything well. We (well, I) tend to see loudly the things that other people do well when they’re things I can’t do, but when there are things I do well that they can’t do, it “doesn’t count” or doesn’t have as much significance or it’s bragging to acknowledge that you do things well. That’s all :poop:

We all have strengths and they are useful (usually lol) and we all have weaknesses, and if we’re lucky, we hook up with people who have different strengths so we cover more bases.

I’m still learning what details are important and where “good enough” is actually good enough, but I’m getting there.

As far as self-care … keeping all of the above in mind helps a lot.

Yes to this. Not up to two decades yet, but getting close.

Journaling helps sometimes. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m thinking until I write it down. Other times, I’m bored with myself and I haven’t even finished writing yet. I do write daily, though a good chunk of that is for the blog or newsletter or book.

I try to be mindful about spending too much time sitting. Stand, walk, stretch. There’s always something to clean up around the house–stop looking at the computer and go do something else for 20 minutes. Most of the work I do doesn’t need to be in a chair. The more I move, the more energy I have, right up to the point of diminishing returns. (I don’t think I’ve ever hit that point in a day spent primarily at home.)

I try to eat well and only when I’m hungry and only until I’m not hungry any more. This is really hard for me, and pandemic has not been kind to the weak-but-positive habits I had in place. When I do it, I feel better. It’s worth it.

Enough sleep. I’ve somehow lost the ability to sleep in, which is maddening and sad. As a former (I guess) night owl, being awake by 6 if not earlier every day is … annoying. But it is helping us keep to a schedule with school at home (and the child very much requires structure). Anyway, this means I need to go to bed early (or, it feels early), and I’ve mostly accepted this fate.

Letting stuff go. World-class festerer here. Learning to let things go, because I don’t need extra stress. Getting better at it. Life gets better as I get better.

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Same. If I’m lucky I sleep until 5:30a, but most days now I’m awake between 4:30-5. Some days I’m unlucky and it’s 3:30-4. If I go to bed too early, I just wake up earlier. If I stay up late…My next day is going to be a problem.

So, naps have become a part of my self care routine too, by necessity.

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