Banish Stress with Three Easy Solutions

Copyright Cheryl Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved

 

 

Your editor is screaming for the changes to the article that you promised her two days ago; the kids are yanking on your arm so that they’re not late to soccer practice again, 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. And in some 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’re probably spending too much time thinking about what needs to be done instead of doing it. 

 

Solution:  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 that can’t be changed? 

Focus on the tasks that must be completed and prioritize them.  (See my article on setting priorities - http://www.writer2writer.com/to-do-lists.htm)  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. 

And if you’re going to 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 feels 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.

 

Solution:  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 entirely on your own.  Once you’ve shared your reasons for choosing a writing career let them know what they can do to support you.   

  • Share household chores

  • Respect your writing time

  • Run errands

But this only works 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 out if they know that once you’re done for the day, they are your top priority.

 

Stress Trigger #3:  I keep putting things off and then I get stressed trying to finish by the deadline. 

Procrastination is an issue for many writers.  Reasons for putting things off vary:  the absence of a writing schedule, over commitment, lack of confidence in your abilities, and allowing distractions and interruptions to steal your writing time, to name a few.

 

Solutions:  Create a writing schedule and stick to it.  It is too easy to push aside a project if you don’t have a deadline.  If you want to be a successful writer, that means sending out submissions on a regular basis—not waiting for the mood to strike you.   

Learn to say “no”.  If you over commit, then you’ll feel stressed constantly and begin putting things off.  Frequently turning in projects late can damage your reputation and cost you repeat business.  Saying “no” does not make you a bad person.  You’re only saying “no” to this one thing.  That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to help out the next time someone asks. 

Self-doubt, fear of failure, and fear of success are very real issues for writers because they are regularly forced to deal with rejection.  Positive self-talk and focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses can help.  Write a list of all your strengths as a writer and pin it above your desk.  When you begin to 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 real emergency, but other than that, 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.

 

 

About the Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. Cheryl is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/

 

 

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