The number of suicides of notables and celebrities always alert us to the fact that people are dealing with any number of mental health issues. Writers and authors are no exception. Those of us who write with deadlines looming as real-life makes its demands are living under stress, whether we admit it or not. We tell ourselves this is the nature of the beast and it’s only temporary, but truth is, the stress still can take a toll on our overall wellness.
Here are some tips to guard your mind and spirit:
- Stay in-tune with the signals your mind and body are sending you. If you’re tired, do not ignore it. If you find yourself prickly or moody, do not ignore it. Ask yourself the hard questions, and be ready to accept the answers. Be ready to make adjustment to keep your sanity and health intact.
- Schedule recreation for you. Go for walks, swim, ride a bike or do something like go to the museum or to an exhibit, just go. Do something just for you. Do something for you for at least five minutes every day.
- Watch what you eat and how you’re eating. Carb-loading with no physical activity can lead to weight gain horrors. Prepare your snacks in advance and when possible do the same with your meals. Sitting at a computer for long stretches of time and eating is a recipe for lethargy and irritability.
- Sleep. Take naps and go to bed at a scheduled time every night. A lack of sleep affects heart health and the vital organs in our bodies. It also affects the ability to think straight.
- Get counseling. There is no shame in making a confession of being overwhelmed or stressed out and needing help to manage it all. Find a licensed counselor who will give you the space to talk and learn how to cope.
Writers and authors are at the mercy of our imaginations and a world of facts and figures. That alternate universe can affect daily decisions and exacerbate stress. We need to take care of ourselves. We also need to look out for our colleagues. Ask someone if they are okay. Check on your friends. Check on you.