Two Tips for Stress Management

In continuing to deal with fatigue, I kept my goals for this round of ROW80 simple.

ROW80Logo175The main purpose here is to continue to sleep better at night by keeping my stress level down. My day job is not stressful, nor is my family, so that leaves writing as my main source of stress–the constant feeling of never doing enough, and there always being more to do, on top of other home responsibilities I have on the evenings and weekends. Getting the stress under control inevitably meant changing my thinking and slowing down–not something I wanted to do, but my health is leaving me no choice.

To this end, I kept my weekly goals simple, too, and enacted two tips that have helped a great deal:

  1. Keep the to-do list small: No more than one thing on it per weekday evening, and no more than three or four things (depending on if they’re little/quickie tasks) on a weekend day.
  2. As for the writing, just open the file and write what I am comfortable with. Do not add writing to to the to-do list, as that makes it feel like more of a chore than something I want to do. Just do it when I want to and am able.

These two things helped a lot. I have not been getting the kind of sleep I was on vacation, but I have still been sleeping much better than before I went on vacation, so I consider that a win. I am still tired, but starting to have days that aren’t as bad.

I managed to get 1800 words written, too. Which doesn’t sound like much considering that in the past, I’ve written that much in one evening, but right now, it’s good. I am also in the process of moving a WordPress website for one of my beta readers/editors, and doing just a little of that at a time. So all is good, and I’m going to stick to the same plan for this week, especially since we are getting a new puppy on Thursday! I’ll blog about that more next week (plus more photos!), but here’s one from when we went to see and pick them out this past week–or I should say, this little girl picked us out:


What about you–do you have, or have you had, something in your life that’s supposed to good and fun, but is stressing you out? What did you do about it, and what have you found that helps? Do you have any exciting changes coming up? Please share–I’d love to hear from you! Also, Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.


16 Responses to \

  1. Aw! She’s so cute. In the next year or so, we’ll be getting a puppy. Looking forward to reading about your experience.

    I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself and listening to your body. I had a goal that I had to drop last year because I was making myself sick trying to juggle everything, but I miss it terribly. When one of my volunteer jobs ends this month, I hope to get back to it.

    I hope you have a great week and get lots of sleep.

  2. Several folks this round of ROW80 are working on simplifying and reducing stress. I appreciate every person’s strategies for they help me see new ways to do the same! Even accomplishments that ‘should make us happy can be stressful. Another reason to cherish each day — and simplify to those most important goals. And I think that third tip is . . . get a puppy! That little puppy is adorable.

  3. Aww. Funny how animals choose us and no the other way around. I know its hard to not judge yourself by your previous work level but the key is finding your balance. What good are words if you aren’t happy? It sounds like you’re on the right track Good job. 🙂

  4. I can completely relate on the topic of stress. Feeling, wanting to write builds up stress within us. Especially when we have all these stories we’re trying to get out in order to satisfy the muse. It’s a constant internal struggle.

    Congratulations on the puppy. He looks so precious!

  5. I think something must have drawn me to your post today. I had a minor meltdown this weekend, totally writing and stress-related. My best friend today looked straight at me and said, “Give yourself a break. You’re doing fine.” LOL.

    So yeah, keep it simple is great advice. Better to nail a few do-able goals than have a long list that just makes you feel inadequate. All these novels get written one word at a time anyway, so continuing to plug along gets it done.

    Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the puppy. And have a wonderful round!!!

  6. Very good advice about not putting too much on a to do list. I have a long one now buried somewhere with stuff on it I hadn’t got round to doing for 3 years. Major guilt. And writing definitely should not be put into the context of chores. You’ve done well to get something written believe me – I’m having major problems this year with working on the WIP and blogging on time around life. Hope you get good sleep this week despite having a new puppy!

  7. Thanks, SJ! Sometimes we just have to pare down our goals, even though they’re things we really want to do. But you have the right idea–jump back in when we can!

    Thanks, Natalie!

    Beth, thanks! Hopefully the puppy won’t add stress!

    Ryan, so true–on all counts!

    Coleen, thanks!

    Debra, so true that not being able to get the stories out is also stressful! Even writing a little bit helps.

    Julie, isn’t it funny how we have to be reminded to give ourselves a break? Especially with the writing stuff!

    Pam, my to-do list is electronic, and one time I deleted it by mistake. It was amazing how the guilt went away once I was over the shock LOL! And sometimes, getting any writing done is good – we have to keep reminding ourselves of that – and thanks!

  8. First of all, congrats on your new puppy. That’s so exciting! 😀

    I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself to do so many things. I always feel like I should be doing more. I’ve been using “ta-da lists,” where you write down what you did that day–that keeps me focused on what I did accomplish, not what I didn’t do. If I do make a to-do list, I try to make it short and manageable.

    I hope your fatigue subsides soon. I went through a similar situation. Nothing in and of itself seemed overwhelming, but putting it all together, it was stressful. Keeping my goals small and manageable–300 words per day, reading one chapter per day, etc.–would’ve helped me a lot at that stage.

    Take care!

  9. Oh my Gosh – – – a new puppy!!!!! Nothing makes me happier than puppy kisses. I love puppies. I hope she brings much joy and sunshine into your life.

    I have a suggestion for fatigue – have you had your vitamin D levels checked? Sometimes something that simple can make a huge difference. Might be worth looking into.

    And good for you for keeping your goals simple. Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning, take the baby steps, and climb back up to where we were. Nothing wrong with that. As long as we keep climbing we’re good.

    Have a great week, Jennette!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  10. Denise, I use the checked-off to-do list as the ta-da list–but keeping it short works best!

    Patricia, you are right, I do in fact have a Vitamin D deficiency, and my Dr. put me on super high potency vitamins to get it back to where it should be. I’ve been on them six weeks now and am still tired, so who knows. But thanks!

  11. What a cute puppy! Aw, you are going to love her, girl! I’m not sure how that will help you get more sleep. lol. For now anyway. But she looks adorable. Jennette, I think you’ve regained some balance with your new goals. Your health is most important. Everyone is complaining of lack of sleep. We need to stick to our priorities. Good for you! ((Hugs!))

  12. I like your pared down to-do list, Jennette, but that puppy picture stole my heart. I can’t wait to hear more about her.

    As a well-known writer whose name escapes me at the moment once said, writers have homework every day. Take care of yourself.

  13. I have a lot of strategies for overcoming or preventing stress. Here’s one.

    When I feel overwhelmed, I ask myself, what is the one thing that will make me feel that I’ve accomplished something significant, gotten something nagging off my plate at the end of my day? And I try to get at least that one thing done. It might b: cook those vegetables that are about to go bad in the fridge; or, come up with a title for a particular article or blog post; or exercise.

    That way, after I complete that one thing, I feel everything else I get done is gravy.

    I hope you’ll soon be feeling better. It’s good you’re listening to your body. It sometimes has to shout at us before we hear it and give it a break. And stress is a killer, so we’ve absolutely got to manage it.

    Looking forward to meeting your dog!

  14. Pat, she totally stole mine! And so true about writers and homework!

    Lynette, that’s a great tip! And a perfect way to choose which one thing I’m going to put on my to-do list each evening. Thanks!