Tips for Writers on How to Manage Stress and Anxiety and Avoid Burnout
Looking after ourselves is crucial to the management of stress and anxiety for writers who wish to avoid burnout. Writing can be stressful and at times may cause many frustrations. Not being able to find the right words or having too much to say and so little time to say it in are classic symptoms that can cause undue strain on our physical and mental health.
Taking care of you is about making sure you get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet and follow a balanced exercise regime. Writing drains our bodies of nutrients and energy as much as it does our mental and spiritual wellbeing. It does this without us ever being aware while we are poring over a computer, tapping away at the keys or scribbling away at our notebooks as the thoughts flow from our minds to the written word.
Stress, Anxiety and Burnout Explained
When our bodies were intricately woven together to make this almost perfect machine, stress was as necessary to our survival as were the legs that ran away from the impending danger. While our ancestors relied on the fight or flight response to literally save their lives, it is only on rare occasions we still need this mechanism. But the instinct is strong and if there are times in our lives that we feel we are losing control, the natural response is to prepare for whatever life is about to throw at us.
Anxiety is that initial reaction when our senses are keen to anything or anyone that may pose a threat to our daily survival. For the writer, this can easily be turned around as a positive. Adrenalin gushing through our veins may bring on waves of inspiration and motivation. But as this overwhelming feeling subsides we can be left with a drain on our resources. Our muscles have been tense as we tap away at the keys or grip the pen way too tight in an attempt to get the words on paper as quickly as they come into our thoughts.
Burnout occurs when stress and anxiety have been left unchecked. The old cliché – burning the candle at both ends, applies here. If we are alight with ideas and motivation and see no way out but to keep pushing ourselves until the job is done, there will be ramifications. How you manage these outcomes could mean the difference between a job well done and a recipe for some serious health risks.
Tips on Managing Stress and Anxiety
Taking a breath and a step back from the situation that is causing stress in those anxious moments are positive moves to bringing back the equilibrium. By simply paying attention to our daily routines such as the food we eat, exercise and our sleeping habits, we can prevent stress and anxiety from building to the point of burnout.
- Take a few deep breaths
- Step away from the situation
- Calm your mind and the thoughts within
- Listen to soothing music
- Eat a piece of fruit
- Take a walk, jog or swim
- Find someone to talk to
Positive Lasting Changes
- Eat healthy foods at regular intervals
- Go to bed earlier than usual
- Exercise daily
- Learn to meditate
- Get organised
Kathryn Vercillo on Stress and Anxiety
- 10 Ways for how to Calm Down When Anxiety Strikes
Anxiety is a terrible feeling. Your heart races. Your mind races even faster. You feel like all of the problems that have been hovering at the back of your mind suddenly need to be dealt with all at once. You...
- 10 Ways to De-Stress Yourself in 10 Minutes or Less
People who live busy lives find themselves in a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to de-stressing throughout the day. On the one hand, they have a really busy schedule which makes it feel like its...
Prioritise and Reorganise for Renewed Energy
Whether you are writing the next best-selling novel, articles for HubPages or developing your own blog, taking time out to get organised in the midst of chaos can help you feel better. Simply by prioritising what has to be done today and what can wait until next week will clear your mind. Make a list and number the tasks in order of importance. For a novel you might want to start with the research for a particular chapter or working on the dialogue in a crucial scene.
Having your days and weeks mapped out in advance can relieve stress and give you a feeling of renewed energy.
Being a writer may conjure up visions of a glamorous life but the reality is many hours of hard work using not only our thought processes but every inch of our being to produce something that is ready for the reader. Manage your time well and the feelings of stress and anxiety can diminish.
Kathryn Vercillo has a couple of great articles on stress and anxiety that are well worth a read with a number of links to other helpful tips for managing stress. Follow the links on the right.
If you feel your stress is more than you can manage, do seek professional help. Talk to your family doctor if you have concerns that your health is deteriorating from stress or anxiety.
Copyright © 2011 Karen Wilton
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