3 Tips for Staying Sane

The world buzzes around us. Traffic, chatting, digital media, and there’s always something that has to be done RIGHT NOW. If you’re single, you probably have a full-time job and an active social life. If you have a family, you’re usually busy working and dealing with family things. There’s very little downtime, and if you are lucky enough to have two hours to yourself, you either catch up on something or are too exhausted to enjoy it.

So, what can we do? How do we balance a busy lifestyle with inner peace and happiness?

Game organization

3. Stay Organized. Have you misplaced your phone or keys lately? What about left home without something important. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it. The trick is to stay organized and have a place for everything. If you have a purse or bag, place it in the same spot every day when you get home. Use hooks or baskets for keys, phones, wallets, etc. to ensure they are always where you left them. To help with memory and to-do lists, set calendar reminders, and send yourself emails and texts (my favorite).

Keeping things clean also helps more than you realize. I use chores as a way to stay active while working at the computer. For example, write for 45 minutes, then get up and vacuum. Proofread for 30 minutes, then do some laundry. I always straighten things up as part of my nightly routine, too. Waking up to chaos can ruin a potentially good day. Tip: If you have kids, encourage them to do the same. This helps them learn good habits and reduces your to-do list.

Ocean City, MD

2. Find ways to relax. Not everyone has time to regularly soak in a bubble bath or attend an hour-long yoga class. But you have to take a break. Hobbies are a great way to relax and do something you enjoy. However, they should not be stressful or feel like work. They should serve as a reprieve from the daily grind and make you happy. If you’re hobby starts to cause you stress, it may be time to try something else.

And to those who enjoy a drink or beer at the end of the week; there’s no shame in that (wink). Sometimes that’s the only thing you have the energy to do. Tip: Some things I do are: painting, reading, watching my favorite shows and movies, turning everything off and enjoying silence, and listening to music.

Nashville Comic Con 2014

1. Have fun. The most important tip I have, and I cannot stress it enough. We all need fun, and little things can give us great pleasure. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for fun.” Bull stuffings. You have an hour to not work or stroll through social media feeds for personal fun.

Some things I do include going to concerts and movies, taking little trips, visiting my favorite places around town, chatting with friends, running out in the rain, and trying new things. It’s a proven fact laughter reduces stress, releases endorphins, and works the abdominal muscles. Some doctors even say it’s equivalent to a mild workout!

Honorable mention (and often the hardest thing to do): Don’t be afraid to say No. If someone asks you to hang out, and you’re tired, take a rain check. If you want to spend an afternoon on the couch instead of visiting family, do it. We often worry too much what people will think, when at the end of the day, we have to answer to ourselves. They may be disappointed or irritated, but they’ll get over it. And if not, you’re probably better off without them.

Let us know how you stay sane in the comments section! We love to try new things too!

Please keep in mind what works for me may not work for you, but if you think about it, I’m sure you can find your own ways to stay sane.

Writing for Web: Take a Break

It’ll still be there tomorrow.

I say this a dozen times a week to myself, co-workers, and friends when I see us running ourselves into the ground for work. Unlike most people, I love to work. However, you have to know when to shut the computer down, leave the office or house, and go have a life.

This week’s chapter discusses the revision process and includes a very important step: taking a break.

It’s very easy to let work consume us, especially if we’re excited about the project or obsessed with deadlines. When you’re writing, you have to know when to take a break or put the first draft down for a few days. Felder recommends these tips, and I added my secrets, too:

  • Watch a movie, good or bad. Sometimes a bad movie is just as good because you can tear it apart or make fun of it. Slasher movies are great for this. Reruns of your favorite shows are an option as well because they can make you laugh, cry, or reignite excitement.
  • Soak in a bubble bath. Relaxation can do wonders for your mind and body.
  • Pick a hobby. Hobbies are great for releasing stress and taking your mind off of your project. A good workout has the same effect and keeps you healthy.
  • Call or hang out with friends, but don’t talk about your writing. Just enjoy good company and maybe a drink.
  • Immerse yourself in nature. Stop for a moment and literally smell the roses, watch the sunset or moon, and wish upon a shooting star.

How do you decide what changes need to be made?

Once you are refreshed and ready, it’s time to rewrite. Felder’s tips for changing your perspective are very helpful, and I was surprised by her ideas. For the full list, check out Chapter 13.

  • Zoom in or out of your document. This either forces you to focus on one scene or the big picture.
  • Print a hard copy and read the entire thing from beginning to end. You don’t have to do this in one sitting; treat it like a magazine or book. Look for plot holes, confusing sections, and flow.
  • Read it aloud. You will hear how it sounds and decide if it drags or doesn’t make sense. I do this with every manuscript I read, and I recommend every author do this on their own before every giving it to an editor. Especially the dialogue.
  • Let someone else read it. Most of us do not like criticism, but if you are going to put your stuff out there, get used to it. Take the feedback gracefully, keep your negative attitude to yourself, and take suggestions seriously. The person who reads it is only trying to make it better.

This was one of my favorite chapters because it covered things that are as important as all the technical writing stuff. You must take care of yourself before you can do anything else. Stepping away for an allotted time will not only make your work better, it makes you better.

What do you do to take a break from work or writing? Share your tips!

Need a two-minute break, check out tough-guy Dean from Supernatural.