Avoiding stress as a writer

Writing Roadblocks: Stress

I was originally going to just write on the way stress affects my writing, but when coming up for the headline for this topic I realized something: there are a lot of writing roadblocks we need to hurdle sometimes. So many, in fact, that I think it may be worth a “series,” if you will.

(Keep in mind, this series is not chronological and I may never finish and, in fact, I may never write anything other than this first post.)

That being said, part of the reason I haven’t been writing as often as I used to is because of stress. Lately, a lot has been going on in my life. Now, don’t mistake that with thinking my life is bad. My life is anything but bad. Actually, my life is pretty awesome. I have great friends, a great family, and great things going for me. But I’m a creature of habit, and when my routines get fucked up, I get antsy.

For one, I got married, and if anyone tells you getting married isn’t stressful, they’re a dirty liar and you need new friends. Even though I didn’t feel stressed out about the wedding, my body decided to let everyone know there was inner turmoil by slapping a hideous rash onto my face right before the ceremony. I know it was stress related because it disappeared as soon as the wedding was over. Asshole.

Two, the Partner in Crime and I are buying a new house. This is awesome and shit, but seriously, if the bank asks me for one more goddamn piece of paper to prove I’m not a drug dealer with massive debts to pay, I’m going to have to become one just to spite them. Or maybe to pay off closing costs. Either way, I have a feeling selling drugs would just add to that whole “stress” factor. I don’t want to get shot.

Then there’s owning a business. Don’t make me explain that one to you.

Additionally, when I get stressed out, I tend to get kinda bitchy, and being bitchy just kind of makes all aspects of life seem less awesome. And I get snappy. And I cry on my way to work when a song that reminds me of one of my favorite character’s deaths comes on the radio. You know, that kind of thing. It’s just not a good deal.

That being said, there are some basic ways to help calm yourself the fuck down when your life gets a little crazy (whether in a good or bad way):

Meditation
There is a lot of new information out about how beneficial meditation can be, and though I’m not exactly experienced in the technicalities, the basics I do know are super helpful. The idea is to clear your mind and relax. I do this by counting my breathing: seven in, seven out. This is also one of the ways I get myself to sleep at night if my brain is particularly active.

Exercise
I walk my doggies four miles almost every day. I also weight train and hike, when I can. Exercise releases endorphins and helps get rid of some tension. My daily walks are some of my favorite times of the day. Not only do I get to spend time with my family, but I get to unwind. Also, when I miss walks, my doggies are absolutely insane sad, so I try not to let that happen. I’m also looking into bikram yoga, but I haven’t decided if that qualifies as loving or hating myself yet.

Getting Away
Vacations are awesome. You usually don’t have to think too much about the things going on back home when you’re riding roller coasters or camping out int he middle of nowhere. In fact, this weekend we’re heading to the coast so my husband can dive in the freezing-as-shit ocean and I can take half-decent pictures of the waves. Oh, and one of my business partners is watching the puppies so I don’t have to worry about them drowning (or feed them).

And… coming to terms with it
Yup. Essentially, you sometimes just need to get over it. I don’t mean that in a mean, bitchy way, but rather in a “well, shit happens” way. The more you stress over the fact that you’re stressed, the more stressed you’ll be.

I’m really bad at that last bit.

Anyway, next time you’re feeling frazzled, grab yourself a cup of tea and cuddle with an adorable, fluffy animal until you’re all warm and fuzzy inside. Or drink. I hear a lot of writers do that, too.

Cheers,
–MC

Categories: Series, Writing Roadblocks

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