Writing is a mentally depleting task, and we work ourselves silly. After a fifteen-thousand-word week, we can feel like we’ve been hit by a truck—an eighteen-wheeler carrying a load of bricks.
And while reaching for the coffee might us feel better for a moment, it’s not the fix we need. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. But taking care of ourselves and our bodies is the number-one most important thing we can do for our writing.
If our bodies are not functioning at one hundred percent, our minds won’t be. And our creativity and productivity will both suffer.
Here are a some simple ways to boost energy levels and fuel your writing.
No, you don’t have to run twelve miles and toss up a PR on your back squat. Go for a walk. Do a few jumping jacks. Take up yoga. Do whatever you can to get your heart rate up and your body stretched out, and do your best to stay active throughout the day. We spend a lot of time sitting in one place staring at a screen/page. Set a timer for every hour or two, and take a moment to stretch your legs.
A person can survive more than three weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. Our bodies need it, and dehydration is the easiest way to make yourself feel awful.
If you have trouble staying hydrated, here are some tips.
Explore your local produce section—or farmer’s market. Have fun with it. Try new vegetables and new ways of preparing them. You might even try going temporarily vegetarian to get used to eating more vegetables.
This is a big one for writers, especially the night owls. Everybody is different, but as a general rule, shoot for eight hours of sleep. It’s incredible how often sleep hygiene is overlooked.
I’m so exhausted. I didn’t have my cup of coffee this morning.
How much sleep did you get?
Oh, three hours.
It’s not that we don’t see the connection. We don’t want to see it. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and we’re supposed to sacrifice eight of them to sleep? How many words could we write during that time?
Think of it this way. If you decide to stay up and write instead of sleeping, you’ll be too exhausted to write tomorrow. And your writing will suffer in the long term.
This is big, and this is something we all struggle with. Writing can be stressful. Even when we manage to get the words on the page, we have the stress of submitting and rejection and the constant battle with doubt--Is it good enough?
So taking time to de-stress and clear your mind is huge for keeping your energy and your positivity up. This is different for everyone. A party might be a great way for an extrovert to unwind, but an introvert will need time to de-stress from that, too.
Do what works for you. A movie. A hike. A good book. Some time in a hammock. A night out with friends. Make time, and do not underestimate the impact this stress relief has on your work.
How do you stay energized?
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