Dealing with Stress

by Lori Soard

I can’t take it anymore. Ahhh!

How can writers keep stress from affecting their writing? Eating three rolls of Rolaids in a row might help temporarily, but what happens when Wal-mart runs out? Switch to Tums?

First, stop. Take a deep breath. Suck air into those lungs. Let it out slowly. Repeat as many times as it takes to recall how to adequately breathe. When most people get agitated, they tend to breath more rapidly. Make a conscious effort to slow down.

Stamp out stress. Determine your own priorities. Decide what is the MOST important in your life. Your list may look something like this:

Family Home Writing (or job) Housework The laundry that is starting to take on a life of its own. Cleaning out the car (who knows what’s growing under all that stuff anyway?)

Once you’ve decided what is the least important, decide how to either farm the work out to someone else, or get rid of it. For example, can you pay your niece five dollars (or twenty, depending on how messy your car is 🙂 to clean the mini-van?

Learn to say no. Only take on what you can handle, and pass on the rest. Someone else WILL step up and do the work, but why should they if they know you will always be there to do it for them? This may even allow people who would not normally participate to get involved.

How can everything on that long to-do list get finished? Get organized. Buy a daily planner, write everything down. Prioritize some more. List the most important items first, the least important last. Can you get help with any of those bottom items?

Learn to be flexible. If you can’t do research because the web is inaccesible, go to the next item on your list and work on that. Go back to the research later.

Stress can motivate us to work harder, inspire us to be more than we had ever planned to be, or it can knock us to our knees. Recognize your body’s signals when you’re under too much stress, and give yourself permission to take time off. Take a walk or a long bubble bath, then come back with a fresh perspective and hopefully an ability to work with the stress.

***Note: Yes, yes. Everyone is thinking…gee, Lori says to say NO, but she doesn’t do that LOL This is an IDEAL plan for dealing with stress. None of us are perfect, we can only try.

Lori Soard started Word Museum in 1997. She’s a published author and has written thousands of articles over the years for newspapers, magazines and online. She has a PhD in Journalism and lives in Southern Indiana with her husband. They have two grown daughters, both animal lovers their house is always filled with pets.

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