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Self-care is important -- even for reclusive writers (like me and so many others). Even if we'd rather spend the day clacking away at the keyboard than interacting with other humans, there comes a time when we know we need to give our mortal coils what they need.
And that's more than food, clothing, caffeine, alcohol, and the occasional pit stop. Apparently.
But before you pick up that decorative basket full of bath bombs and scented Epsom salts for your reclusive writer friend, allow me to dissuade you -- or at least give you pause.
Your friend might actually like to take long soaks in a scented tub, so these gifts are as well-intended as they are popular. But I have to admit that I cringe whenever I see them.
It's not that I'm anti-hygiene. I love a good, quick shower. I just don't like to spend more time in the bathroom than I have to. So for this and other reasons, I'm not a fan of baths.
And I know I'm not alone.
It doesn't help that our bathroom is not designed for people who like baths. But even if it were, baths take too long, and the bathroom is NOT my haven. It's not my escape.
Give me my laptop (and its external wine-free keyboard and eye-friendly monitor), a good internet connection, and some decent headphones, and I can keep myself busy for hours. That's my haven. It's my happy place.
The bathroom . . . is a mini house of horrors. I avoid it as much as I can. The kitchen is a little less horrifying. It has coffee. And sometimes wine. We get along a little better.
Plus, it's a few feet away from where I work on my laptop, so I can't ignore it as easily.
But my little office nook -- which takes up roughly one sixth of our living room -- is my ground zero. It's where the blogging and book creation both happen, along with at least 50% of my weekly interaction with the outside world.
So, if someone asks me, "What should I get my antisocial friend who blogs -- and who hates baths?" I have a few ideas that might help.
(And I know not all bloggers are anti-social. I'm writing about what I know.)
A Self-care Basket (or box)
You have a better idea of what your friend drinks or eats than I do, but a basket of goodies might be just the thing. Just find out beforehand whether your friend will want to share a bottle with you or would rather save it for when the kids are asleep, and they can finally curl up into a favorite chair with a full glass of wine (or something) and read a book or binge-watch something on Netflix.
I know there are more of you who do this. I've heard things. Man, I want wine right now (long day) ... but it's not even 4 p.m., and I have some serious blogging to do first.
My wine of choice is the Livingston Merlot (a 750 ml bottle for only $7.99 plus tax, and it's good wine, as far as I can tell), and a simple Dove dark chocolate bar goes well with it, though there are plenty others that do just as well.
Tea is another good gift idea (if you know you're friend drinks it), and you can pair it with raw honey (which is far more effective for sore throats than the filtered & cooked stuff in the stores) or whatever sweetener your friend enjoys.
Seriously, that Really Raw Honey with the bits of honeycomb and bee propolis is like magic for sore throats. My older daughter (who has had strep throat more than once) can back me up on this. I bought mine at Cub Foods, but you can also find it here. It's pricier than the cooked and filtered stuff you find on most store shelves, but it's night-and-day different when it comes to throats. And it's great in tea or right out of the jar.
Also, if you know of any beekeepers in your area who sell raw honey, they'd be a great resource for raw honey products to add to your tea basket or other self-care basket -- for yourself and for your friends.
This is part self-care and part practical, and if you pick one like Meera Kothand's CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner, you'll make your favorite blogger's day -- unless they already have a planner they love or have designed themselves with skills that would make 98% of those on Pinterest hide their family chore charts in shame. If that's the case, I refer you to the previously-mentioned wine and chocolate basket idea, as long as nothing in there is soap that's made to look like something delicious, because that's just cruel!.
Another planner I love is the Cossac Planner, which is not specifically for blogs, but it has features I can't duplicate on the D.I.Y. journal/planners I create using Canva, Word, and CreateSpace.
I just bought one (after hemming and hawing for about a month), and I'm telling you it's designed by someone who speaks to the multitudes who love the lay-flat convenience of a spiral binding without its coiled threat to sweaters and all things snaggable.
It comes with two ribbon bookmarks and dual stretchy bands -- one that holds to the front cover and one to the back. It has monthly, weekly, and daily planning pages, along with blank bullet pages for making lists, brainstorming ideas and mind-mapping. I'm a fan.
A subscription to Birch Box
I've only received one Birch Box so far (for September), but I'm looking forward to October's, and Birch Box allows you to set up a monthly subscription for a friend -- and you can choose between buying 3 months of boxes for $30 or buying a gift card for a 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription (which they can redeem when they choose). They have boxes for men as well as for women.
So, if your friend likes to receive a sampling of high-end skin care products in a decorative and reusable box, this could be a fun gift idea -- even if your friend would laugh at the idea of paying full price for the full-sized versions of those items. Sometimes, it's just fun to get some new and useful surprises in the mail.
A Vitamin Shoppe special (monthly) delivery
- Vitamin C cream (firms & brightens), Bentonite Healing Clay, or other skin care products -- for men and women
- Thyroid support or other energy-boosting supplements (for your thyroid-challenged friends). Even their store brand energy supplements -- like this one -- receive loads of positive customer reviews.
- Vitamin D and other brain-supportive supplements (for your sun-deprived friends who are always writing something -- and who don't have time to be sick)
- a supplement to boost mental clarity and mental sharpness, to help your friend get more of the most important mental work done each day -- and to do it as well as possible.
- Essential oils -- for internal and external/infuser use
You have to at least take a peek at this if your friend is a working woman (that includes working at home). It's sort of like a Birch Box for office-y stuff -- containing "4-6 practical and fun products to help [her] look and feel trendy during work [I'm not even sure what that means, but if trendy = fun, I'm game]. Items range from must-have office supplies, unique desk accessories, beauty & relaxation products, yummy & healthy snacks, and much more." (Trendy Memo)
Okay, so November's hobby is weaving, according to their website, and you can sign up to be notified of future monthly hobby themes. Here's what you can expect in each box. If you pay month-to-month, it costs $29.99 a month, though the price per month goes down a bit if you prepay for 3 or 6 months at a time. If your friend loves to try new hobbies, this could be a fun "because I know you so well" kind of gift, though you might want to just start them off with one month and let them see if it's worth it to them to sign up for more.
If you don't already have a copy of the Work at Home Bundle by Ultimate Bundles -- and you want to work at home (or maybe you already do but want to do it better) -- you should seriously check it out for yourself.
If you already have it, or if you check it out and think your friend would love it, you can buy the bundle at its steeply-discounted price and send the zip file for the whole bundle to your friend. You can't send them the zip file you bought for yourself, of course, but if you have a copy and love it enough to gift it to someone, this bundle could change your friend's life. I know I've just been dipping into it (bought it recently), and I've already found information in one of the ebooks in the bundle that has made it so much easier for me to find legitimate work-at-home opportunities. It's worth a peek, and you can check it out here.
Maybe you already have some ideas flitting around in your head that you'd like to share, and I encourage you to do so! Your idea may be more helpful than mine to some readers of this post.
Or have you received a thoughtful self-care gift that motivated you to do the same for someone else?
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to reading something from you, too!