Burnout can, and does happen to the best of us. Sitting around day after day, not stretching mentally or physically isn’t in any way healthy. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. [G]
I’d love to sit and write twenty-four seven if I could. With the hundreds, heck, thousands of story ideas I’ve jotted down in some shape or form, plus those jockiing for center stage in my head could keep me busy for years. I don’t write nonstop, but when I do write, I’m more focused on my task because my creative well is full.
How do I replenish my well, you might ask? How do I reduce the amount of stress in my life? How do I manage not feeling burnt out creatively and physically?
I take the time to smell the roses and engage my other senses in the world around me. I listen to music. Read a book, (or several.) I go to a movie or have lunch with friends. I love sitting and talking with my grandma in her backyard. Or taking a drive on a breezy evening with the windows down to clear my mind.
I love to sing – always have. Putting on music or singing with others helps take my mind off my problems.
Doing house work allows me to step away from the computer, while still allowing me to focus on the problem at hand. Dusting, vacuuming or doing the dishes doesn’t take much brainpower. These chores help break the monotony of my day. When I’m ready to get back to work, I try to have healty snacks at my side, such as cold water, (not caffeinated drinks), nuts, fruits and vegetables. I’m still working on cutting back starches. One thing I’ll never stop eating is chocolate. [G] As far as I’m concerned, chocolate should be given its own food group. [G]
Sitting still while trying to figure out a crucial plot point won’t get you far. However, taking a brisk walk, a run, riding a bike, doing some light weight lifting, going for a refreshing swim on a hot day might just get those creative juices flowing once again.
It’s been well-documented that physical activity is bennificial. Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic to one such article:
Exercise can improve your mood, self-esteem and self-confidence. It can boost your energy level. Ever have those days where you’re just so dead tired, you just want to eat then fall straight into bed? Try taking a walk instead. You’ll sleep better and deeper that night.
One disadvantage of being sedentary for too long is packing on those extra pounds. Exercise can help manage weight and even combat certain chronic diseases.
Just for fun, I won’t give you the second to last benefit listed in the article. LOL I’ll let you discover that particular bit of info all on your own. [wink wink nudge nudge]
If you have a group of friends to exercise with, all the better. You’ll get the benefit of social interaction along with a good workout. I’m a writer, not a hermit. I have to sometimes fight my desire to lock myself in my creative cage – to shut others out. Friends aren’t just good to go on a jog with. They’re good to bounce ideas off of or to simply spend time with.
When I’m having trouble putting new words on the page, sometimes I just need to sit and take in the quiet around me. It’s very difficult, but there are days where I can go without writing a single word. And rather than beat myself up for not writing anything new, I’ll go about my life, and when I’m not expecting it, an idea will reveal itself. When it’s time to go back to work, I’ll be ready and raring to go.
Stress can be found everywhere you look in some shape or form. What’s important is how we choose to manage it. I hope I’ve given you some helpful tips on how I handle stress and burnout. Now I’d like to hear what your methods are. How do you handle stress? Do you have a hobby or activity you enjoy that helps you unwind? How do you combat burnout? Feel free to share, and happy creating!