Writing during depressive episodes and anxious periods has helped me work through an unimaginable number of issues, and has yielded some of my best work. However, it's important for me to practice self care as a writer (and for you to practice it as whatever you are). For this reason, I'm going to go over how I do it. 

1. I switch between paper/pen and my laptop.

tea, sake, coffee, Starbucks coffee, cookie, laptop, notebook, study area, Starbucks
Shelby Cohron

The discomfort I feel when I look at a blank piece of paper is nothing compared to the dread that creeps into the depths of my SOUL when I'm staring at an empty screen with a blinking cursor. Switching between the two mediums keeps me sane, especially when I'm working on a longer piece that requires me to put in lots of time. 

2. I keep things simple.

I'm not the kind of writer that thrives with an inch of paper covering her desk, sticky notes everywhere, and empty coffee mugs strewn around. My desk is clean. Empty, in fact, except for my laptop. If it's not, I get distracted and nothing gets done until I clean up. (This isn't my desk, but we have the same clock widget so it's close enough. Check out @cleandesk on Instagram for more desk aesthetic porn.)

3. I look for inspiration offline.

When I need inspiration, I turn to the collection of poetry, novels, and memoirs that I have around the house. It's a win/win: I find inspiration without the distraction of the internet, and I'm finally reading those books that I spent good money on. There's also a lot of bad news online, which I don't need to see all the time—and neither do you.  

4. I write aimlessly. 

Free writing is so much different than writing with a deadline, obviously. Without your inner editor piping in, you're... well, free. Free to write about anything you need or want to, and that's so valuable for me as a writer who often does work under tight deadlines. I make time for it even when I have other writing to be doing.  

5. Sometimes, I don't do anything.

Olivia Clifton

Writing is hard. It takes a lot out of me. Academic stuff isn't as taxing, but when I tell you that a creative piece will have me falling in exhaustion over my keyboard by the end, I mean it. I take breaks from writing periodically (responsibly, of course), and I think it's the most important thing I can do to practice self care as a writer. 

Going forward, remember that self care is a separate experience for everybody. The way I practice self care as a writer is going to be different from the way you do it as a student or professional in your field, and taking care of yourself doesn't always mean taking a hot bath and going to bed early—it means doing what you need to for yourself, no matter what that is.