The Writer and the Stress Monster

The start of school this year as been harder than usual.  I haven’t gotten much writing done in the last five weeks.

I haven’t gotten much done at all.

No going to the gym, keeping up with family or working around the house.  I go in early and I leave late and nothing seems to get better.

And then there is the manuscript sitting on my desk.  It is a sad and lonely thing waiting on its author to return. I can hear it crying at night; begging me for attention.

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Notes for my upcoming book. 

The stress monster took me down hard these last couple of weeks. My body clasping on the bed so many times with sheer exhaustion pushing me down. It creeps up and steals time and energy away from things I love and want to spend time on.

Friday was by far the worse. Friday, I cried at work.  Friday, I came home and put myself to bed with a stress induced migraine. I had to cancel plans with old friends.

It is in ways a never ending battle between the stress monster and myself.  I try to be proactive and plan, but if you have ever been in a classroom or even step outside your door in the morning, you know that planning doesn’t always workout.  You also know that going without a plan also doesn’t work.

Planning helps keep down on the stress monster attacks and if you like my godfather has contingency plans which have contingency plans. This won’t stop the attacks, but it will lessen their power.

This weekend, I rested, did lots of self-care and was able to get my mind back in thinking order. Self-care is important.  You need to  keep  taking care of yourself before and after attacks. Routines like walking the dogs and eating dinner with my family are all forms of self-care.  They are like taking vitamins. Life is full of stress and if you think the only way to succeed is to never take care of yourself and just go go go, you might be superhuman or headed for burn out.

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The Morning Walk

Push yourself, yes, but also take care of yourself. Mediate or pray, whichever feeds your soul daily.  Yoga and going to the gym on a regular basis.  Talk to and take part in the lives of your friends and family. My family life is incredible important to me.  I make time for it as well as for my writing.

Last week, I didn’t make writing goal.  This week, it is tempting to double the goal in order to catch up.  Some sage writing advice from years ago warns against this and over the years, I have come to value it.  Doubling the goal isn’t going to get me to a finished draft faster, it will just make me a little crazier and invite the stress monster.  However, if I set a reasonable goal for the week ahead and I surpass it then I feel more accomplished.

You can’t get rid of stress or how much is piled on to you from day to day.  You can change your reaction to it and take better care of yourself.

This week, my writing goal is to write five pages a day or 2,000 words.  My fitness goal is to make it to the gym at least once and my work goal is to leave at 4:30 everyday if I don’t have a meeting planned.

As for the stress monster, I plan to combat him by getting a little more rest, drinking plenty of fluids and leaving my superhero cape in the closet.

 

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