Last summer, after submitting the final manuscript for my book, I felt completely drained. While part of me was elated for having completed an eight month labor of love, other parts felt depleted. I poured everything into my book, and then the project was over.
Within the first few days, emptiness set in. The temptation was to dive head first into all the work I’d put on hold to finish my book. However, while a pile of work sat waiting for me, I decided it all could wait.
I realized that above all, I needed self-care, something I’d been only marginally effective at during the writing process. I was ready feel whole again so I took radical action. I didn’t yield to the temptation of getting busy. Instead, I slowed down, and that’s what I credit for my successful bounce-back. In fact, I ended up better off than I’d been before I starting writing the book.
I utilized multiple self-care routes, but today I’m bringing you my top five effective ways to recharge your batteries after publishing a book:
1) Celebrate the victory. This is the place to start because congrats, you published a book! Pause for a moment to honor the hard work, sacrifices, and self-discipline that took. Celebrate the victory in whatever way is appropriate: a nice dinner with a loved one, time by the pool, or a weekend getaway. Consider your lifestyle and do what feels best. Celebrating the victory is a great way to put your large writing project to rest.
2) Create space. Once done with your book, you may be tempted to dive head first into something else. Please, don’t give in to the temptation. You’ve just completed a massive project, and you need a break. Creating space will facilitate the recovery needed to get back to your other work. Take as long as you can. Even if it’s just the weekend after you turn in your final manuscript, take that time. Guard it fiercely and be as spacious as possible with it. This will set you up for success moving forward.
3) Be kind and loving to yourself. You may end up feeling hollow, as I did, following the publication of your book. That’s okay. Feel your feelings and acknowledge where you are. Treating yourself with kindness and love is much more effective than beating yourself up for not being able to forge ahead into the next project. Accept yourself as you are, with no judgment. Consider what you’d say to a friend who came to you with a similar situation. I bet you’d suggest that they go easy on themselves. Extend that same treatment to yourself.
4) Reconnect with what you put on hold. Besides other work projects, surely there are other things in your life that you enjoyed but had to put aside while you completed your book. When the time is right, reconnect with those things. Whether it’s volunteering, being involved in your church, or visiting more often with friends and family, slowly start reconnecting with those roles, activities, and people. You’re likely to find comfort in the familiar, and people will be excited to have you back. Bonus: you can tell them all about your book, starting some word of mouth buzz, in the process.
5) Keep your body active and healthy. You may have even put exercise on hold while you furiously worked to meet your publication deadline. Now’s the time to get back into it. Ease in if you must, but be sure to take the time to keep your body active. Also, focus your diet (what you eat) around nourishing foods that provide fuel for your body. You’ve just been through an enormous process, and you may need more care than is typical. Just like a car, you can’t achieve peak performance if your body isn’t properly fueled and maintained.
To wrap up, you may have noticed that most of these tactics are fun and some would even be considered indulgences. However, I implore you to try what you can from this list. Running on empty and surviving on fumes will not last forever. It’s actually a great way to ensure that it’ll be a long time before you can operate at peak levels again. Take some time for yourself and give some (or all) of these tactics a try. You’ll be amazed at what it’ll do for your creativity, energy, and overall outlook on your work and life.