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#ACESchat: Editor Health and Self-Care

#ACESchat: Editor Health and Self-Care

March 25, 2021 By #ACESchat Resources

ACES: How do you manage your mental health and stay in control of your day-to-day schedule?

Tanya Gold (@EditorTanya): National and global situations are making me, like so many others, a giant ball of anxiety. One thing that helps me is to acknowledge that anxiety and its sources. If there is something that I can do about it—such as volunteering or supporting social justice organizations—then I do that. Regular exercise also really helps (endorphin release FTW). And I find cooking and crafts very calming. When it gets especially hard to concentrate, I find it really helpful to use the Pomodoro method. It’s a lot easier to focus when you know you only have to work for a 45-, 30-, 20-, or even 15-minute spurt.

Heather Saunders (@H_E_Saunders): This year I started donating a percentage of my profit to causes that mean a lot to me, and that’s been a bigger boost for my mental health than I expected. Not only am I doing work that excites me, I’m doing a little bit of good with that work.

Jen Anderson (@clearing_blocks): Managing a day job and a freelance business is a delicate balancing act, and when push comes to shove, my freelance schedule is about the only thing I have the freedom and/or control to adjust.

Kristen Hamilton (@KristenCorrects): After saying “yes” to every job that came my way (for YEARS!), I suffered burnout and am now ferocious about my work-life boundaries. I schedule all my work projects on Calendar to manage my time, and don’t ever work after 6 p.m. or on the weekends. That’s MY time. 

Anna Dobbin (@akdobbin): This might seem obvious, but my mental health suffers when I work too much. I’ve learned to only take on projects that I know I can complete without overworking myself. My younger self pulled all-nighters and never turned any job offer down. Not anymore.

Adaobi Obi Tulton (@adaobi76): I work out daily and do yoga every evening, but I think I need to do more to address my mental health, particularly in this age of COVID. For my day-to-day schedule, I use Google Calendar all the time, but I live for my handwritten to-do lists on my desk calendar.

Kristy S. Gilbert (@kristysylfaen): I quote project timelines with ample wiggle room in them and keep a running list of current projects in my bullet journal. I try to schedule varied project types/sizes overlapping so I can work on whatever fits on a given day. Mental health, I make sure I get some sort of physical exercise every day or two so I don’t get in too much of a funk.

Nikki Busch (@NikkiBuschEdit): I have a VA who occasionally assists with smaller tasks related to my business (a fellow ACES member).

ACES: What are some of your strategies to support work-life balance?

Heather Saunders (@H_E_Saunders): I limit my social media time, try to get in a #StetWalk every day, prioritize time to read for pleasure, and make sure I’m not ending my day in front of a screen.

Tanya Gold (@EditorTanya): #StetWalk has been huge for me. I am so, so grateful to that community. I also try to schedule a decent amount of wiggle room for each project in case of scope creep, so it doesn’t eat into the weekend. And I try to not answer email on the weekend.

Sea Chapman (@sheofsea): Checklists are just as helpful for my personal life (and self-care) as they are for my work life. I write reminders for everything: when to contact friends, what chores to do, etc. OneNote is my favorite desktop app for this, and the Notes app on iOS is great, too! Checklists also help me compare how much time I am dedicating to one area of my life to another. 

Melanie Padgett Powers (@MelEdits): Setting boundaries for myself and my clients. I do not work at night or check email. Full stop. Done. I rarely work weekends and only because I took off time during the week. 24/7 working is not sustainable and will lead to burnout and maybe illness.

Kristy S. Gilbert (@kristysylfaen): A weekly date night with my husband—no work permitted after the kids’ bedtime (at-home dates lately, but it’s been fun to get creative). Planning meals that are fun to cook and making sure I save time to make them. Small trips to the front porch to breathe.

ACES: What final tips can you share to stay both physically and mentally healthy? What are some of your favorite resources?

Tanya Gold (@EditorTanya): Don’t discount the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. It can help you focus better, be more productive, and feel less anxious. Set up evening blue light filters on your devices. Many operating systems have this feature already. Try the Pomodoro technique if you are having a hard time staying focused. Take breaks from editing. If you’d like to join a community of people doing this, check out the #StetWalk community here and on Instagram. We’re a very welcoming and encouraging group.

Heather Saunders (@H_E_Saunders): I set time limits on social media, allowing myself no more than an hour on any app. I schedule regular connections with family and friends. I’ve got a standing game night and reminders to send Polos throughout the week.

Jen Anderson (@clearing_blocks): Honestly? Try to set as many boundaries between work and home as possible. It’s incredibly challenging, but sometimes I have to tell people that no, I’m not going to respond to emails after 5 p.m. or be available for after-hours meetings.

Rob Reinalda (@word_czar): A couple of years ago, @tian_1 finally got me to try meditation, and it’s grown on me in a big way. The practice helps me step back, modulate my breathing, and not want to throttle bad writers. Keeping a sense of humor helps, too. 

Adaobi Obi Tulton (@adaobi76): It helps to accept that not every day is going to be the best day and that I won’t always have grand moments of productivity. I give myself a break, allow myself to feel my feelings, then go back to work, if that’s what I need. Sometimes a little party music helps.

ACES’ Twitter Chats are held at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on the first and third Wednesday of the month. Join in the fun at #ACESchat.

#ACESchat: Editor Health and Self-Care was originally published in Tracking Changes (Winter 2021 edition). Members receive a PDF of the quarterly Tracking Changes newsletter by email.

Header photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash.

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