Blogger: Mary Keeley
List the goings-on in the publishing industry in the last months and writers and authors have had plenty of stress inducers. The important thing is, how are you responding to them? It makes all the difference. Stress inducers—good and bad ones—are in abundance and are all the more unsettling when you can’t yet see how God is working in and through them—and you.
Did you know that some stress is good for you? Coincidentally, Monday’s post on Health.com was about the beneficial effects short-term stress may provide us. Richard Shelton, MD, the vice chair for research in the Department of psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham, lists five benefits of the everyday kind of stresses:
- It helps boost brainpower.
- It can increase immunity in the short term.
- It can make you more resilient.
- It motivates you to succeed.
- It can enhance child development in pregnant women who are experiencing mild to moderate stress levels.
Read the entire article here. Any of these could result when your stress is related to something about which you’re hopeful or an accomplishment you’re working toward, like taking advantage of a time-constrained writing opportunity. Or the stress you feel in the minutes leading up to your pitch meeting with an agent. Or when you’re waiting for an anticipated contract offer.
Sudden stresses or the severe types borne from losses that disrupt your life for a longer period of time, like job loss, death of a loved one, the shutting down of your publisher’s fiction line, working to meet a looming manuscript deadline when your family needs you, health issues, low sales numbers and shrinking royalties due to the Family Christian Stores bankruptcy saga, and continual rejections, of any kind, are not health enhancing. Add yours to the list.
Positive responses from authors affected by the closure of Abingdon’s fiction line prevailed on social media. Expressions of deeply rooted trust in God’s all-knowing, unconditionally loving control honored and glorified him. Responses in controversial online conversations about the state of fiction that reflected Who is ultimately in charge pleased him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
While our spirits are trusting, over time our frail human bodies and minds begin to feel wear-and-tear effects of prolonged stress, though. That’s when it’s time for you to be deliberate in caring for yourself to relax your body and mind. Here are some suggestions:
- Exercise in the morning to release endorphins. They interact with brain chemicals to produce a sense of wellbeing.
- Read inspirational memoirs and biographies of people who overcame great odds.
- Read in Psalms every day.
- Don’t become a loner. Seek the support of true friends in the writing community who understand the dynamics of the writing life.
- Play hymns and praise music for white noise as your work or relax. Their soothing, positive messages register in the brain.
- Some people have found that using biblical oils provides stress relief and a better outlook. I’ve tried a few and agree.
- Organize your work area for greater clarity of mind and efficiency.
- Post scripture verses and meaningful quotes in strategic places around your house.
- Do relaxing stretching exercises in the evening to aid better sleep.
If you’re experiencing the stresses of life and career, you aren’t alone. I wrote this post in response to conversations this week with an alarming number of authors and clients, friends and family, who are facing all kinds of tenuous circumstances. Healthy efforts toward stress relief make it easier for body, soul, and spirit to be “all in” trusting mode. Pure trust in the One who has it all is an act of worship in daily life.
What stress inducers are you dealing with in your writing life now? Along with prayer what have you found to be the most effective methods to maintain peace and calm, in the midst of stresses in your writing career and life?
Now is a stressful time for writers and authors. Here are suggestions for stress relief. Click to Tweet.
Day-to-day stresses can be beneficial for writers, but be deliberate about relieving long-term stress. Click to Tweet.