Surviving the stress of monotony – why you need a break

Writing is a solitary endeavor, or at least a good part of it is. There are many other jobs or hobbies that require solitude or peace to do them well.  Even if the solitude works for you, there are times when it can seem as though you are on a treadmill and slowing down. It is like you have to woPicture of a hamster running around a metal wheel rk harder to just keep from falling behind.

The signs you need a break

For me it’s when I feel like I’ve been working hard all day but can’t see what I’ve accomplished. This isn’t about those days when I’m rolling a story idea around in my head – or from my project management life, when I’m trying to put together a tricky communication. It’s about days when I haven’t been able to focus on anything because everything is more interesting. A day of distractions that don’t take me anywhere.

I think you probably know your point. It doesn’t mean you can predict you are entering the state, just that you can recognize when you are in it.

Ever feel like everything is just too complicated to start? Ever get the “as soon as I’ve done x” syndrome? That’s what I’m talking about.

 What can you do about it?

I like to think of it as take care of the body and the mind will be more open to creativity. I’m not talking about going to the gym every day or swearing off chocolate, wine or bacon. I mean do something nice for your body. I go for walks if I need to work something out in my head. I go for long walks that make me nap in the afternoon. The exercise is good for helping me sleep and good sleep means the next day I’m more refreshed.

The biggest bang I get without the ‘I need a nap’ result comes from a pedicure, facial, or some other pampering. I know it’s not for everyone, but the point is to spoil yourself a bit. Can’t afford the money or time for a pedicure? Then maybe you can do your own. Don’t like the idea of a facial? Why not just spend a few more minutes massaging in the face cream in the morning? And I know for some people it’s ironing, or cleaning the windows or … Well, the point is to figure out what it is for you and then make the time to treat yourself.

The bottom line

Yesterday I felt like I was running to standstill, but today I feel hungry to write. I’ve got plot and character ideas rushing to get onto the page. I spent a few hours with my sister and mother, a little pampering and lunch. All it took was a break.

What will you treat yourself to the next time you feel the grind?