Monday, January 10, 2011

5 Tips To Beat Stress When You’re Trying To Do It All

Hi everyone!

I must apologize: I missed last month because I was on a tight deadline. Along with the Christmas chaos, I had a book due to my editor at Berkley by Dec 31. It was one of the most insane months of my life.

So I rushed. I tucked in and hunkered down. I stopped seeing friends. I stopped cooking for myself and grocery shopping. I stopped calling my mom.

I kept telling myself: December 31. Just think of December 31.

I got it done. And now that my book has been turned in, what did I discover about the light at the end of the tunnel?

A whole lot more tunnel.

The things is, as writers, we’re always busy. Even when we’re not writing with a pen or a keyboard, we’re writing with our brains. There’s no turning it off.

So after taking a long, hard look at my "schedule" (aka, working 'round the clock), I wanted to offer a few tips that I discovered to make the sheer insanity of the writing life a little easier. I offer them to you in a spirit of helpfulness and good wishes—and I encourage you to add your own tips in the comments section below!

Make a schedule. Perhaps you already do this, but I’m just newly learning the lesson of how important it can be to create and stick to a schedule. I’ve blocked out each hour of my work week—with allowances for flex time and the occasional funk—and I’ve even left certain hours as “work free” hours. I like knowing that “Tuesday evenings mean I can meet a friend for dinner and a movie.”

Notice things that make you relax. Practice mindfulness. Don’t just take a shower—notice the feel of hot water, the smell of your soap. Don’t just eat; savor. Even foods you don’t love. All time is precious.

Reward yourself. If you’re tracking your progress and work hours with a journal (I’ve started keeping a day timer) then reward yourself when you do well. Your reward doesn’t have to be huge. It can be as simple as: “Tomorrow, I will treat myself nicely and think only kind generous thoughts toward myself.” Or it can be cheesecake. (I like both!) Either way, pause to acknowledge your personal successes and embrace any “failures” with equal love and affection.

Treat yourself as if you were a three year old. This is a silly thought, but so helpful. Talk to yourself like you’re a little kid. When you’re exhausted, tuck yourself into bed. The world will be okay without you for a while. Of course—having a realistic schedule you can work with makes it a lot easier to treat yourself gently.

So…that’s all for now! Now that my books are turned in, I’ll be gearing up to start promoting my April release, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier.

Can I share this great blurb author Karen White so awesomely offered? (I’m a little proud.)

"Slow Dancing on Prices Pier is a charming and wise tale of second chances and forgiveness, peopled with characters as full-bodied as the coffee Thea brews. This book goes down as smoothly as a cappuccino and is just as satisfying. I loved it!" --Karen White

Thanks for reading!

Lisa Dale

PS—Please feel free to come hang out on my blog, where I give away multiple prizes every month to readers who leave comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on reading, writing, and living the curious life!


Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Enjoyed your 'upbeat' Monday morning post. And cheesecake works for me. :)

Clarissa Southwick said...

What wonderful suggestions! Congratulations on your new book. I can't wait to see it on the shelf in my local B&N. :)

Jill James said...

Organize big goals into small steps to get there. Reward yourself for every step completed.

Joanne said...

Thanks for the ideas. Stress is a part of my life every day, and I imagine that most people struggle with it, especially in today's busy society.