I’ve realized three things over the last couple of days. First, I need to exercise more. Second, we need more dogs in our neighborhood; one at every other house just isn’t enough (one house actually has about fifteen little dogs of varying breeds – they equal one big one, right?). The third, and actual topic to this post, is that I can’t write when I’m stressed.
I’m having a hard enough time keep my attention focused on this blog much less work on my novel. It’s amazing how stress can affect you in just about every aspect of your life. 1 in 4 people suffer from severe stress but we all struggle from it. So, how to you keep on track? First, I think, is to identify it. Realizing that you are dealing with an over abundance of stress is a crucial first step as well as understanding what your stresses are. Go easy on yourself, you aren’t just being lazy or procrastinating – you simply can’t deal with another demand on you when you’ve already got a full plate.
I read a great article about stress on helpguide.org, and here are just a few of their tips on dealing with your stress and getting you back on track.
1. Start a stress journal. This seems like a good thing, especially for us writers. When you feel like you are unable to focus, gather up your pen and notepad and write. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
- What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
- How you felt, both physically and emotionally
- How you acted in response
- What you did to make yourself feel better
2. Remember the four A’s – Avoid, Alter, Adapt, Accept. Avoid those stresses that you can, if something constantly affects you, it may be necessary to cut it out of your life but this isn’t always a realistic option. Alter the situation if you can, thing about what you can do differently. Adapt – sometimes this is easier said than done. I know I’m not a big fan of change, seems kind of crazy being a writer but I’m not, however there are times you just have to learn to adapt to another person’s need or a situation and not let it make you crazy. Literally. Accept what you can, you don’t have to fight everything. Nothing lasts forever and sometimes you just have to accept that it’s raining, drive on, and over the hill there will be sunshine again.
3. Learn how to say no. I know I’m a people pleasure by nature and have a hard time with this one myself. I don’t like to tell people no but sometimes you have to. Quit compromising yourself for everyone else. Pretty soon there will be none of you left.
4. Learn to relax and recharge. I know I did a segment on this before but it never hurts to state it again. Sometimes you just have to stow away work and unwind. Read a book you’ve been meaning to get to or see a movie with a friend, spend some quality time with your family or have coffee with a loved one, anything that will remove you from those things that are causing you so much tension.
5. Adopt a healthier lifestyle. This can actually make a big difference. If you cut back on smoking, drinking, caffeine, and other things that poison your body, you will have a much clearer mind. Exercise more and make sure you are getting enough rest. One of the biggest things that contributes to our stress levels is lack of sleep.
Stress can be defeated and it doesn’t have to rule or control your life. I’m working on not letting it control mine. How about you?
For more information or to read the full article, here’s the link. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm
Just Keep Writing!