Category Archives: self-care

Seeking Productivity Tips

Okay, blog readers. I need your best tips.

I recently finished a major project (not a writing project, alas) that was sucking up all my time and energy. That was over two weeks ago. I’ve been reading and relaxing and recovering, which is all fine and good, but I’ve been having a heck of a time getting anything done. It’s sort of like post-NaNo slump, except I don’t feel drained, just unmotivated.

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Learning to Have Fun


I’ve been thinking lately about having fun, reclaiming fun, relearning that pure intense joy that we have as children and so often lose as adults.

Alice Bradley of writes:

I cannot begin to tell you how fun this [art] class was. It was stupid fun. I can’t explain it. We didn’t do anything ground-breaking. But by the end of the class I was giddy. I get such joy from this, it’s embarrassing. Why is it embarrassing, you ask? That is an excellent question…

(read the rest)

I could talk about responsibilities and adulthood. I could talk about how being with my significant other can make even the most mundane or tedious thing fun, as long as we both let it happen. I could talk about contra dance, the thing that is for me what art is for Alice (oh wait, I already did) (and no, it’s not writing…that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

But today I want to focus on buses.

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3 Ways to Cope with Being Stuck in Transition

Have you ever felt stuck between two stages of life? Maybe you’ve graduated college/university but haven’t found a job yet, or you’re working on making a dream happen but it’s still a ways off?

That’s where I am right now. I’m about to move into my first house — an exciting stage to be sure, but it’s taken a long time to get here and still isn’t quite here — and I’m having a little trouble finding balance.

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Link: That Could Have Been Me

This week, my Wednesday post is over at Turtleduck Press, the indie publisher I co-run. Here’s part of the post…

Last weekend, a man walked into a crowded food court here in Toronto and pulled out a gun. He had a target, who was killed. Six others were hurt, many others traumatized.

Here’s the part that makes it really scary for me. I go to that mall, Eaton Centre, at least once a month. I’ve eaten in that very food court many times. It’s not going to look the same to me anymore.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about violence in my city, I rationalize.  That was a gang killing, or a bad area of town, or an argument at 3 AM outside a club. I know better than that. It wouldn’t happen to me.

Except…it could.

To read the rest, head over to Turtleduck Press. We’d love it if you’d leave a comment there, too!

If you liked this post, you might also like Norway: A Murderer’s Trial and a Royal Wedding.

5 Ways to Make Decision-Making Easier

Have you ever tried to make a decision and found yourself paralyzed because you had not too few options, but too many?

Here’s one example that resonated with me:

As the cultural pressure mounts for us to have perfect weddings, I keep seeing brides (and sometimes myself) freezing like deer caught in the headlights. How can we make a decision on a florist until we have researched every possible floral designer working in our area, and found the one whose style and vision best meshes with ours? … It’s our wedding day, it has to be the best, and it has to be right for us. With so many options and so much pressure how on earth can we choose?

I do this all. the. time, with big decisions and little ones. It drives me bonkers, it drives my loved ones bonkers, it causes stress and heartache I don’t need. This week alone, I have struggled mightily with the choice of paint colours and ceiling fans for our new old house. Nice problem to have, yes. But I bet it’s happened to you — maybe not with a house, but with a restaurant menu or the choosing of a college major or anything in between.

Or maybe it hasn’t. Maybe you’re the decisive type who walks into a store and buys the first pair of pants he tries on (ahem) and then doesn’t second-guess the decision afterwards.

So how can those of us who aren’t hard-wired for decision making jury-rig our systems and circumvent our fears of Being Wrong to do what comes so naturally to others?

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How to Make Every Weekend Feel Like a Long Weekend

The first long weekend of summer is just finished here in Canada, and just about to arrive if you’re in the United States. It’s a time to relax and unwind from the whirlwind of daily life. But have you ever noticed how fast that feeling of relaxation disappears once you’re back at work?

Today I’m looking at some ways to recapture the feeling of a summer long weekend — anytime.

The lakeshore of Toronto

Even the heart of a city can hold wide vistas of nature. | Copyright Siri Paulson, 2009.

1. Get outside. Summer evokes beaches, parks, and long walks. Or gardening and barbecuing in your backyard. Or maybe hanging out on an urban restaurant patio. Whatever form of the outdoors makes your heart sing, don’t wait until a long weekend to go looking for it. Maybe you can’t get out of the city, but even the city is full of hidden gems of nature: green and sunny spaces — or even a lake or river — that can give you the feeling of a mini-holiday.

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Friday Video: Baby’s First Bath

It’s been a long week, so here’s a peaceful video to reactivate your sense of wonder and relaxation as we head into the weekend. Enjoy!

(via Elephant Journal)

Fighting Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like a fraud just waiting to be exposed?

(There’s a term for that: imposter syndrome.)

I’ll be honest: I feel that way all the time. I feel like I lucked into my day job (non-fiction editor) without getting the proper educational background or paying my dues before working my way up. Never mind that this is actually the second job I’ve held in the same field (for a total of ten years!), or that the people I work with — other editors as well as clients — seem to think I’m competent.

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Dancing Up a Storm

On a rainy spring day in Toronto a few weeks ago, I was dancing up a storm.

It was the last day of an all-weekend contra dance festival. I arrived late to the church hall and was just joining the fun, looking forward to a few more hours. As a live band — clarinet, fiddle, and guitar — played jazz and roots music, my partner of the moment and I twirled amid the larger group. Two long lines of couples faced each other, each foursome dancing together, breaking into twos, trading partners, coming back together, then moving into a new group of four. The couples, the foursomes, and the long lines all worked together as aspects of the larger whole, making the dance both intimate and communitarian.

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When You’re Overwhelmed, What Do You Do?

You guys did such an awesome job in the comments on my last post, I thought I’d throw a different sort of question out there and see what wisdom you all have to send my way.

Here’s the issue. I’m kind of drowning in Real Life right now. No doubt a lot of you can relate! I’m heading towards a couple of major life events (of which buying my first house is only one) that require a lot of planning and work and decision-making. That last is not my strong suit, shall we say, and as a result I tend to get hung up on decisions — or paralyzed by the sheer amount that needs doing — and unable to move forward.

At the same time, I’m also trying not to drop my end of Turtleduck Press. And working full-time. And trying to stay connected to the important people in my life. And trying to occasionally work on some fiction — though to be honest, there’s not much of that happening. I figure it takes too much brain power right now, and I’m lucky enough (?) not to be under contract deadlines, so I can get back to it when Real Life settles down.

Here are a few things I’ve been doing…

1. Guarding my playtime. I spent most of last weekend at a dance festival, dancing. Was it productive? No. Was it tiring and time-consuming? Yes. Was it rejuvenating? Heck yes.

2. Finding support. Whether it’s somebody to come along on errands, bounce decisions off, or lend emotional support and no opinions, I know my friends and loved ones have got my back. You know who you are — thanks!

3. Prioritizing. Twitter and other social media are fun, and for an aspiring author they’re also important, but they don’t even come close to being top priority. Even within those life events I mentioned, some parts warrant much thought and investigation of options and analysis of pros and cons, and some parts just don’t.

Over to you now. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, what do you do? What are your best tips for digging out from under?