Rest and relaxation are things that we know we need, but sometimes “life” takes hold and we have to put it off. For writers, this can be further complicated with extra work hours, kid’s activities, and to-do lists that interfere with our writing time. So fitting in relaxation is like parallel parking in the tightest space. Both can be done, but could be difficult without effort and determination (and maybe a stroke of luck).
Mental Health America and Psychology Today emphasize the importance of rest and relaxation on the mind and body. When the brain’s maxed out, it affects cognition which is the mental ability to understand and process information. From a physical standpoint, when the body’s worn the amount of energy to complete tasks is limited or near non-existent. If a writer can’t think or maneuver a writing device, how can brainstorming, story development, or a quality novel happen?
When we spend so much of our physical and mental energy working on things without rejuvenation, it’s like a car running out of gas. It may sputter or slow down until all fuel is gone. Comparative human symptoms may be memory loss, headaches, drowsiness, moodiness, or just feeling run down. While a car may be stuck on the side of the road waiting for AAA for a refill, people could wind up in the hospital with exhaustion, in need of rest and medications to get back on track. The latter is an extreme case, but one worth noting.
Sure, it’s hard to say “when” if there’s a lot going on, but making time for self-care is very important. Sleep and other forms of downtime like vacations, meditation or just taking a break can be the pick-me-up that the mind and body need. Sometimes we put unnecessary stress on ourselves because we don’t want to fail or let anyone down if we take time to relax. Or if you’re like me, you’d rather get everything out of the way than have it linger. So what is a person to do?
First things first. Take the “S” off our chests. Superman’s a fictional character, written to be invincible. We are not. Also, asking for help to complete chores and other tasks. And more importantly, make relaxation time a priority. Take a walk, turn off the phone, sleep in a hammock – whatever it is to regenerate. Doing this will be like breathing air into a deflating balloon.
Considering the above, I’ve decided to blog once a week (Mondays) until I get my manuscript and WIPs complete. Besides sleep and watching movies, my relaxation activities will include spending time with family and friends, a massage, or weekend getaway every now and then (even if it’s just to stay at a hotel across town).
So what do you do for rest and relaxation? If you don’t have a rest and relaxation regimen, what do you need to put one in place?