Friday, March 19, 2010

Let’s talk about Stress, Baby

Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
and the bad things that may be
Let's talk about it
-- Salt-n-Pepa, “Let’s talk about Sex”, 1991, London Records
On sunshiny spring days when you get enough sleep, you don’t have a deadline to worry about, and nothing disturbs your routine, being healthy is easy. You can exercise with no trouble. You have enough time to prepare a healthy meal. You get a chance to unwind with yoga before going to bed. Those steady bread-and-butter days help you meet your weekly writing goal, keep your calories in check, and let you conquer the world.

But stress happens. Good and bad events tax your body causing a physical reaction to emotional events. Good friends die in car accidents or the taxman tells you to prepare for an audit. You move to a new house or get a new puppy. What do you do then?

I’m going to ask you to do something a little uncomfortable and think about the stressful events that are coming up in your life. The plotters will have it easier than the pantsers, but everyone should be able to see the good and bad things that could happen in their future. Maybe your child will graduate from high school soon; maybe your car is making a noise that means a big repair bill. How will you deal with the stress those events bring?

Say you finally get the Call, the one that means you’re going to be published (or published again). Would you call up friends and immediately celebrate with a bottle or two of wine? When your editor sends back revisions that rip your heart to pieces do you dive for the chocolate? Is a favorable review the reason for a night out with a few clandestine cigarettes and dancing until dawn?

The ways you handle stress can help keep you healthy or they can tear you down. You can celebrate with a day at the spa or a bottle of wine. You can console yourself with a pedicure or an entire galloon of ice cream. Think about it and come up with a healthy stress relief plan. Remember, this isn’t an all or nothing decision. Maybe you’ll handle stress with a glass of wine instead of the whole bottle. When my agent offered to represent me I indulged in a pint of strawberries and a few hours at a nightclub, a good balance of healthy and indulgent.

What are the healthy ways you can handle stress? What do you already do to alleviate stress in your life? What do you need to stop doing when life stresses you out?


When she’s not cooking, buying, or dreaming about food Rachel Kleinsorge writes steamy paranormal mystery romances. She is currently waiting for the call from her agent, the amazing Carolyn Grayson, while working on her next novel.


Michelle Butler on March 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM said...

For years, the way I handled stress was to stuff my face for the very temporary comfort or soothing it offered. I've been working on coming up with better ways - exercise and trying to work out/analyze the situation and my thoughts/emotions/reactions to try to come up with the best way to deal with it - or at least keep my reactions as healthy as possible. It can be hard, but the work builds over time until it gets easier.

Tawny on March 19, 2010 at 5:03 PM said...

Oh man... Rachel, you hit the nail on the head here. I've actually been putting off my commitments because I know that I don't handle stress in a healthy way. I have a book due in 9 weeks (that I haven't even started), line edits sitting on my desk, revisions coming in a week or so, critiques for my CP and work to do on a non-fiction project I've committed to.

Stress? Oh yeah, baby. And all I can think about is how much that work - the work I love and busted my butt to have a chance to do - will cut into my healthy exercise time LOL.

Stress relief? I'm going to try and focus on yoga, on running and on fruit as my go-to stress relievers for the next few months and see how it goes.

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