If you are embarking on the perilous quest that is NaNoWriMo, you’re in for a stressful ride. Writing a novel in merely thirty days is quite an undertaking and it can feel like an unbearable amount of work. In fact, preparing for NaNoWriMo might be enough to make you anxious. In order to retain your sanity throughout the rest of this month and all of next month, it’s a good idea to figure out a way to relax. If you are too stressed out, you’ll never be able to write effectively… and this will stress you out even more. I’ve tried many methods of relaxation and I’ve found several that work for me. If you don’t see anything that works for you, keep searching. Everyone has something that can calm them down.
Listening to Music
I don’t know what it is about music, but it has the ability to take the listener to another place. No matter how stressed out you might be in your own life, music is able to reduce that feeling. I do listen to music when I write, but I tend to listen to a vastly different type of music when I relax. This way, my mind knows when it’s time to create and when it’s time to relax.
It doesn’t even have to be full songs that calm me, sounds do this too. Two of my favorite sounds are waves on the beach and the sound of rain. Everyone might find something different to relax them, but I know that these sounds help me to distance myself and relax.
Take a Break
When you’re trying to meet a deadline, it’s easy to overwork yourself. Working yourself this hard can actually be counterproductive and hurt you in the long run. If you’re at a point in your writing where you are incredibly frustrated, take a break. It won’t do any good to stare at a computer screen. Go spend time with family or friends. Spend some time outside and get some fresh air. As long as you’re getting away from the screen and giving your brain a break, you’ll recharge and be more productive when you go back to your writing.
In some cases, it might be a good idea to build in your breaks. Set a timer and write for an hour. Once the timer rings, give yourself a ten minute break. This type of system will allow you to mentally recharge and you’ll get more done while taking breaks than you would have before.
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and get your endorphins flowing. Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy. Regardless of your previous stress levels, these endorphins will help you relax in no time. There are many different ways to get exercise, even if you’re not particularly fit or active. Taking a walk is a way to get outside and get in some cardio. Yoga is a soothing exercise that may be a better option for someone who does not want to run. Play catch in the park with your dog or gather up some friends for a pick up game of basketball. Whatever it is, find a form of exercise and try it out.
It sounds silly, but many adults neglect the amount of sleep that they need to properly function. If you’re trying to pound out 50,000 words, you may be sacrificing your sleep. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It’s been proven time after time that people are more productive after getting a full night’s sleep. You will be a lot more emotionally stable if you’re well rested, decreasing the amount of stress that you may feel. Even if you are still stressed with proper sleep, you’ll be better equipped to handle the stress than if you were sleep deprived.
Sleep doesn’t only refer to the sleep you do at night. If you’re feeling fatigued during the day, there’s nothing wrong with a power nap. Stepping away from a stressful project and taking a half hour nap could help you distance yourself from the problem. After your half hour, you can revisit your writing with fresh and well rested eyes.
Writing can be stressful, especially if you’re on a deadline. Reduce your stress and feel better about your novel by finding a relaxation method that works for you.
Until next week,
I will continue my NaNoWriMo Prep series through October and I will pick up my NaNoWriMo series throughout November.
NaNoWriMo Prep 2014: