Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Three Tips to Banish Stress
Your editor is screaming for the changes to the article you promised her two days ago; the kids are yanking on your arm because they are bored; and you still haven’t figured out what’s for supper tonight.
Is it any wonder you have a tension headache?
According to a National Health Interview Study, abut 75% of the population feels stress every two weeks. Stress can affect your eating habits, sleeping patterns, blood pressure, skin appearance, and weight. In extreme cases, it leads to death.
So, what can you do about stress? More than you think.
Stress Trigger #1: I can never accomplish everything on time.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then you are probably spending too much time thinking instead of doing.
Tip: Create a to-do list. Write down everything you have to do over the next week and view it with a critical eye. Does everything on this list really need to be accomplished next week? Is there something that could wait another week? What tasks have deadlines cannot change?
Prioritize your tasks. Then work on them one at a time. Don’t think about the next thing on your list. Concentrate only on the task at hand.
If you will miss a deadline, don’t pile on additional stress by waiting until the last minute to let the editor know. This will keep you from wasting time worrying over what she’ll say.
Stress Trigger #2: My family believes I dedicate too much time to my writing career.
Finding the perfect balance between your home life and career is never easy, but there are many things you can do to gain the support of your family.
Tip: Have a family meeting. Explain to your family why pursuing a writing career is important to you. Share your dreams with them and what you hope to accomplish.
Ask for their help. You can’t do this on your own. Once you’ve shared your reasons for choosing a writing career, let them know how they can support you.
• Share household chores
• Respect your writing time
• Run errands
This only works, however, if you respect your family time. Create a writing schedule that works best for you and stick to it. At the end of your writing time, shut off the light and close the door. Your family will be more willing to help if they know that once you’re done for the day, they are your top priority.
Stress Trigger #3: I keep putting things off. Then I get stressed trying to finish by the deadline.
Procrastination is an issue for many writers. Reasons for putting things off vary: over commitment, lack of confidence in your abilities, and allowing distractions and interruptions to steal your writing time, to name a few.
Tip: Learn to say “no.” If you over commit, then you will feel stressed and put things off. Frequently turning in projects late can damage your reputation and cost you repeat business. Saying “no” does not make you a rotten person. You are only saying “no” to this one thing. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to help the next time someone asks.
Self-doubt, fear of failure, and fear of success are actual issues for writers because they deal with rejection. Use positive self-talk and focus on your strengths. Write a list of all your strengths and pin it above your desk. When you wander away from a project, read the list and then get back to work.
Two excellent resources that discuss ways to handle self-doubt and fear are You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion & Power by Judi Moreo and Page After Page by Heather Sellers.
Don’t let distractions and interruptions steal your writing time. Schedule a time each day to return phone messages and check email. Your writing time is for writing. Don’t use it to wash the dishes or run errands. Let your family know they are more than welcome to interrupt you for a genuine emergency, but they have to respect your writing time.
Reducing stress is not only good for your career, it’s good for your health. Take the time to identify what triggers stress in your life and never shy away from asking for professional help if you need it. You owe it to your family and your career to stay healthy.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com