Last Updated on January 11, 2021 by Chris
There's something about a profession that beckons you to spend countless hours stationary in front of a screen that doesn't exactly scream wellness. That being said, there's plenty of ways that we can be proactive about our health in the coming year. And, as you might imagine, an article on wellness tips for bloggers in 2021 is going to cover precisely that.
While it's true that blogging and content creation in general does lend itself to cliches about a sedentary existence, it's also true that it's a career that affords people a tremendous amount of flexibility. In many cases, deadlines are self-imposed, and that means you can also talk to the boss (ie. you) when it's clear that you need a break or a breather.
More than anything else with wellness, it's about intentionally creating a rhythm and schedule that prioritizes your health. It's actually much easier than you'd think it would be, and it's not about changing everything all at once. Rather, it's about slowly but surely incorporating a few wellness strategies and seeing what works for you.
Blogger burnout is a thing, that's for sure, but you don't have to be its next victim. So what as bloggers can we do?
Find Your Blogging Community
We may all be in different places on the map, but our old friend the internet does indeed allow us to support each other virtually. To be utterly biased for a second, it's worth mentioning that we have a pretty supportive little community when it comes to the This Week in Blogging Facebook group. “Make Traffic Happen”(the founders of which we talked to about SEO) and “The Business of Blogging” are two other online communities where you can find other bloggers who likely have a lot of the same questions and concerns that you do.
Social media, in general, can also be a fairly good spot to find community, but you do have to be intentional about it. For example, try creating a list on Twitter of bloggers and friends you'd like to connect with more deeply, and following the tweets from that list instead of the main feed (which we all know can have its fair share of doom and gloom at times). That's also a helpful strategy for sharing likeminded content with your audience and supporting your blogging pals.
Get Enough Sleep
If I'm not careful, I'm going to turn into a finger wagging grandparent here, but really, get enough sleep. The correlation between mental health struggles and sleep deprivation is shocking. Even if you aren't a big sleeper, just lying in bed and resting is still going to be a few hundred times better than doomscrolling the night away.
There's also a striking connection between productivity and sleep, so try to get those Zs where you can.
Take a Breather From Writing When You Need To
When you just don't have it, writing is downright painful. I used to try to simply push through it, but I realized later on that more often than not, it didn't make sense. I used to stick it out and write for two horrid hours (or whatever time was needed), and get the article finished simply to say that I had.
But, I realized later that it was actually much easier to wake up the next morning with a clear head, and finish it in an hour that was a lot less horrible.
I should also mention that there are plenty of blogging tasks we can do when we're burnt out on writing.
Give Meditation a Whirl
I don't want to sound like every self-help guru that ever was, but meditation really is a game-changer. I personally use the Ten Percent Happier app for meditation, largely because I found it's the least over-the-top (though it is paid). I first found out about the app after reading Dan Harris's book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, which is a great read if you've felt like meditation just isn't for you.
Apps like Calm and Headspace are also a good place to start, as they have plenty of free content to get more acquainted with meditation. Calm also has a little known section on the app called “Calm Body,” which has plenty of stretching routines. I do the “Morning Work Out” every morning, and it's basically 7 minutes of movement that energizes the body.
Incorporating meditation into your routine could easily be the most effective wellness tip for bloggers on this list because, done with regularity, meditation has the potential to be of serious use to you on both a personal and professional level.
Incorporate Exercise into Your Routine
If you're in the fitness or wellness space, it's likely you don't need the reminder and can probably benchpress Jeremy and I.
But, we all know now that exercise isn't just about big muscles or your body, but also very much about your mind as well. My big issue with working from home as of late was actually drawing a line in the sand as to when my day ended. I found that I was always doing “one more thing,” and then before I knew it, it was 8pm.
In light of that, and with the gyms closed, I decided that I would end everyday with a walk or a bike ride. It ensures I get exercise every day, but it also means that I leave my place with my work hat on, and when I come back, I know that I've taken off the blogger hat and it's time to at least attempt to chill out and relax (something I'm admittedly terrible at).
I've jokingly started telling my partner, Bri, that I'm already fully prepared for retirement – I've got the daily stretching and walking thing down pat.
I can't speak to this personally, but I know a lot of people also swear by “Yoga with Adriene,” so that could also be something to check out for bloggers or content creators keen to get better acquainted with yoga.
Meal Prep and Planning Can be a Lifesaver
I don't know about you, but I am prone to having a lot of caffeine for breakfast, fitting in some breakfast a little later, then postponing lunch until I'm too hungry to think clearly. At which point, I can't resist anything resembling junk in my cupboards or fridge, and certainly don't have the patience nor time to make a healthy meal.
Lately, I've tried to make things easier by prepping extra of anything I'm making. For example, making a huge soup or pasta on Sunday means that I don't have to think about lunch likely until Wednesday.
The biggest factor for me is that it means I can actually take a break. If I stop work at 1 – instead of cooking for 30 minutes, and eating for 15 minutes, I can heat something up in 5 minutes, then take the rest of the hour off. During a stressful week, that adds up.
I also used to be terrible at actually taking a proper lunch, but it's not sustainable to not take an hour or what have you for lunch. Our brains need breaks, it's as simple as that, and I've found meal prep to be the biggest factor in ensuring I can actually take lunch, or take breaks to have a snack and so forth.
In the same way that I sit down the night before to create my to-do list, I always try to think about what I'll eat for lunch etc. the next day, so that I'm not scrambling or wasting time.
Have a System for Tackling Tasks
I can't speak to what will work best for you, but after working for myself for quite some time, I've developed a system that works for me, which I've called the “Focus/Bonus” system.
Essentially, the night before, I write the tasks for the following day on my whiteboard, but they're separated into two different sections. The tasks that need to get done the following day or require my immediate attention go into “Focus.” I typically only include 3 or so tasks in that section, and never more than 5.
The remainder of the tasks go into “Bonus,” and I only start to cross those off once I've tackled the “Focus” section.
This system ensures that I am getting done what I need to, and it also forces me to carefully think about what actually needs to get done, and saves me plenty of overwhelm.
I know that a lot of people also swear by digital systems such as todoist as well.
Establish a Content Calendar
It can be a little stressful at first to establish a content calendar, but then it's smooth sailing. Having a content calendar is a wellness hack in my humble opinion, because it takes a lot of the pressure off you to remember exactly what needs to be done when.
I also find that having a content calendar, or place to dump content ideas, is fantastic for establishing new ideas. Ideas breed ideas, it would seem.
I personally use Trello to do a lot of the heavy lifting, but you can use Asana, or another tool of your choice. On one of the sites that I run with another blogger, Ultimate Ontario, we just go to “Posts” and “Calendar” on WordPress and then each indicate what we'll have published for the following month. It's not a bad system because it automatically creates a draft, and we're communicating without wasting time. It's easy as pie.
I find Sunday is the best day to update a content calendar, often with a touch of keyword research. I generally have some sports on, and don't make a big deal of it, but Monday Chris is always happy with the efforts.
Remember You Can Only Do Your Best
Sometimes, it feels like we're not satisfied with being bloggers, we also want to be magicians to ensure that any external factors that might be affecting our sites (Google algorithm updates, pandemics, the volatility of Pinterest) vanish.
Well, sadly, that's not a reality.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in extenuating circumstances that we forget one simple thing. At the end of the day, we can only do our best. That's something I think is worth focusing on in 2021.
Despite everything, all you can control is your effort, and even then, you're not a machine, and need to take time off.
So, do your best, whatever that looks like for you.