Stress-Busting Ideas

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You may not know this, but launching a book can be very stressful. And stress can manifest itself in strange, uncomfortable ways, like seized muscles from holding them tense all the time, loss of appetite or other stomach issues, insomnia, and/or headaches (you know, so I’ve been told).

Since you don’t have to be a writer to be stressed (although I’m told it helps :D), I thought I’d share my top stress-busting ideas.

  1.    Tone down your expectations: I’ve written before about the guilt I feel when I say no, but let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day, and at least some of them should involve sleeping. So, take a good hard look at what really needs to be done, and cut or outsource anything extraneous. Also, feel free to procrastinate your worrying – as my husband pointed out, there’s no sense stressing over not selling a second book, when you’re still trying to launch the first one.
  2.  Make lists: If you read this blog, you know I’m a list maker. Having everything laid out with due dates really helps me feel like I’m in control.
  3.  Take time off: It’s a busy time, but if you can squeeze it in, watch some bad tv, bake, or just do something to take your mind off your work.
  4.  Read for fun: If you’re involved in the publishing industry at all, reading (and analyzing books) is part of your job. I love reading YA and MG, but when I really want to relax, I pick up a good old-fashioned cozy mystery, or adult (by which I mean aimed at grown-ups, not, you know, smutty) urban fantasy. (This is in no way a diss of any of these categories/genres, just the ones I get the most joy out of reading.)
  5.  Plan Ahead: I’m not just talking about mapping things out and setting due dates, I’m talking about looking into the future and figuring out ways to make your life easier now. For instance, I knew late April to early May was going to be absolutely crazy, so I wrote some blog posts in advance and made some double batches of meals for the freezer so I could…
  6.  Eat Healthy: When you’re stressed and busy, it’s all too easy to reach for ready-made snacks, junk food, and takeout, which can make iffy stomachs even worse. Try to keep healthy snacks like fruits veggies around for when cravings hit. Also, taking a few extra minutes to plan your meals in advance can help take the stress out of meal time. But while eating healthy is important, sometimes you also need to…
  7.  Indulge in a treat: Nothing melts my stress away quite like the hot, gooey, chocolatey goodness of lava cake or fresh-baked brownies – but whatever your treat-of-choice is, ditching your diet and indulging can really calm you down.
  8.  Do laundry: Okay, this might seem like a strange one, but there’s something about the brainlessness of sorting and folding laundry that lets my brain relax. As an added bonus, clearing away those bins of clean laundry takes another item off your to-do list.
  9.  Take a bubble bath: pretty self explanatory. This one combines well with #4 (and maybe #6, depending on how you feel about food in the bathroom).
  10.  Exercise: I’m still limited by my concussion on this one, but breaking a sweat releases endorphins which can help you relax. At the very least, get away from your desk/house, go for a walk, and breathe in the fresh air.
  11. (Bonus!)  Let it Go: Often times all the stressing in the world won’t change the outcome, so if you can, do your best to fuggedaboutit. Pro tip: if you tend to find yourself panicking at bedtime, keep a notebook by your bed so you can write down to-do lists, then give yourself permission to not stress again until morning.

What about you? Do you have any stress-busting techniques I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

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