You’ve put your writing plan into place, you have a schedule, and now life throws you a curve ball – what do you do?
I mentioned this in a video yesterday on my Instagram and thought I’d expound in print on my tips to keep going when you’re going through hell.
Come back to the core basics and drop the unimportant:
1.) Personal life: Sleep, eating as healthy as you can (while recognizing you will go off the rails somewhat), and grooming are the three biggies. For me personally, I know when I don’t have time for a shower that my life has gone bananas!
2.) Interpersonal life: spouse, lover, kids, pets, and friends. They need you too, but if your life is in full crisis mode, you need to bring it back to basics here too.
Caution: what I’ve noticed is that when I’m totally focused on A (let’s say one kid), the B (the 2nd kid) falls through the cracks! When I’ve been focused on the health issues of a horse, I’ve often had issues go unnoticed with the dogs or cats.
Juggling this can be really dicey. At the very bare minimum do not miss health appointments for anyone (health will be more vulnerable anyway if the family is under stress). Make sure everyone is caring for self (sleep, eating, grooming), and make a little time to have a moment with your family even if it is 10 minutes of what I call teddy-bear-time.
3.) Writing. I still try to squeeze in 1 hour a day. It may not be the best writing I’ve ever done but it keeps me going and makes me feel like I got something done.
4.) DUMP IT. Dump the social media. Dump the television shows. Dump the conversations with time-sucking friends.
Veggie-mind time. What I’ve noticed is when we are under stress we turn to mindless activities to fill up the time – such as television and social media. What is probably the hardest thing to do is to NOT do this. Swap it out for more productive activities such as writing, teddy-bear-time, or even taking a long, hot bath.
OTOH, yeah I do watch an hour of the British Bake-off sometimes just to veg out. Just limit your time doing this as it is unhealthy in the long time (both mentally and physically).
We all have things that keep us sane. Here are some of mine:
Teddy-bear-time. Having time with a loved one where you give and receive kindness, compassion, and love is so important. It’s so important that this phrase is now a code-word that I give when I need it from husband.
Exercise. Even a gentle walk outside through a nice park area can refresh you. The goal is 30 minutes of sustained walking and a minimum of 5,000 steps (during crisis times).
Meditation. I’ve found yoga also helpful here.
Stretching. Doing a stretch routine off of YouTube or some health website can give you some focused in-the-moment time as well as help your body. Stress makes us clench our body, tense our muscles, so take time to unwind.
Dream-time. I need time to imagine, to dream, to speculate. When I don’t get it my creativity sours. Even 15 minutes can be refreshing.
Massage. If you don’t have anyone in your life that you can hug and touch, consider paying for a massage (a legal one, folks). Touch is important as a healing modality.
Music. Listening to music or moving water is very healing and refreshing.
Dancing. If you feel a lot of tensed up energy, just bounce around a while. I also like my mini-trampoline or boxing videos for working off frustrations.
Screaming or shouting. Yes, if frustrated it is okay to go shout it out (just don’t shout AT someone). If I’m feeling particularly frustrated by someone, I have been known to go off on a 30 minute curse rant (privately) about what a moron he/she is before I pull myself together and go on with my day.
Write it out. Private ranting journals are very therapeutic. Also great cheap therapy. The one I had in my early marriage I’ve since destroyed. LOL.
Talk about something else. It is easy to stay so hyper-focused on the crisis that it takes over every discussion. I’m very prone to this so I’ve started deliberately taking myself mentally out of that hole. Maybe I travel to a state park for the day, have a picnic, go to a movie, or visit a part of town I’ve never been to before.
Today, is World Mental Health Day and I want you to take care of yourself out there – the world can be rough sometimes but it is also filled with goodness and wonder.