37 Stress Busting Techniques For Writers


Being a writer can be unbelievably stressful. The fact that we love what we do so much we are willing to sacrifice an abundance of our free time is irrelevant. Writers generally suffer from a lack of confidence in their writing, second guessing after hitting publish, and anger over writer’s block. Indie authors have also taken on the burdens of the publishing process, marketing, and maybe even book designing on their own. The writer niche is both a helpful community, and a competitive industry – very much at odds within itself.

All these things add up to a large amount of stress, and long periods of time in front of a computer screen has been scientifically linked to higher amounts of anxiety. So what is a writer to do? For the sake of your mental health, physical health, and writing career, take a look at these 37 stress busting techniques for writers. You can incorporate one, some, or all of them into your routine to reduce both your constant stress levels and your acute anxiety issues.

#1- Walk Away From The Screen

Sometimes all you need to do is get up from your chair and walk away from your computer screen for five to ten minutes. Leave the phone behind, too. Maybe tidy up the house, walk around the yard, or simply relax with eyes closed on the couch.

#2- Diaphragm Breathing

Diaphragm breathing is a widely used stress technique that has it’s origins in yoga and mediation. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose for 2-3 seconds, allowing it to fill your lungs. Hold for 2-3 seconds, and then release. This helps to slow down your heart rate, mind, blood pressure, and bring you back to now. You can practice for as long or short as you need to achieve a more calm feeling

#3- Stretching

You can stretch in your chair, or standing up beside your desk. Just take a moment to relax your tense muscles, and get out any kinks you may have. Sore muscles are often a contributing factor in the stress of a writer, and easing this discomfort can give you a more positive mindset.

#4- Mini Exercise Sessions

Exercise is fabulous for your health, and this includes reducing your stress levels. You can do exercises right in your chair, or beside your desk. Even if you only have one to five minutes, it is better than nothing. Try calf raises, push ups, leg lifts, arm circles, or any other body weight exercises that require a minimal amount of space to complete.

#5- Meditation

Meditation doesn’t have to be a drawn-out process. It could be as simple as closing your eyes and choosing to ignore the outside world for just thirty seconds. This helps to clear the clutter from your mind, and offers a sense of peace. You can repeat throughout your day as many times as you feel necessary.

#6 – Yoga

Yoga not only helps to ease acute stress, but can actually reduce future stress symptoms as well. This is done through a combination of exercise, stretching, and mindful breathing techniques. There are a wide range of yoga positions, so all fitness levels can participate.

#8 – Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can even be done while you work. The idea is that certain smells trigger certain responses in the brain. One particularly calming scent is lavender, but you can choose any scent that you feel is most personally calming.

#9- Visualization

Whenever you feel stressed, close your eyes and visualize yourself in a place that you find calming. Or, visualize you achieving your goals – or things turning out exactly the way you want them. What you choose is your personal preference, but visualization is a form of meditation that a lot of people find very useful when they’re under stress.

#10- Petting Your Cat or Dog (seriously)

Studies show that petting your cat or dog actually helps to lower your blood pressure – which, obviously, raises when you’re under a lot of stress. This is one of the reasons why many nursing homes and hospitals make use of companion animals.

#11- Short Walks

Take ten minutes to go get some fresh air and sunshine (weather allowing). Scientific studies have been done that prove the combination of being outside & active help to ease the symptoms of depression.

#12- Keep Pen & Paper On Hand While Away From Home

Most writer’s stress about getting a great idea, but forgetting it before they get to write it down. Keeping a pen and paper on hand while you’re away from home or your work space can help solve this problem

#13- Scream

You might not want to scream your lungs out in the middle of a silent office, but screaming in your car with the radio turned up is so therapeutic. You can also scream full force into a pillow to muffle the sound. It helps release all your pent up emotions and worries.

#14 – Talk It Out

Talking it out with a close friend, relative, or neighbor can help ease your burden, and make it seem less aggravating than it is.

#15- Have A Good Laugh

Laughing is incredibly healthy for your mental health. By laughing off whatever it is that’s stressing you, it will appear less than it is. It’s totally okay if it’s one of those half-psychotic laughs, too, – just so long as it’s laughter.

#16- Listen To Calming Music

Listening to music we enjoy or find calming naturally de-stresses our brain. It could be anything. For me, I usually listen to either reggae, oldies, or original emo-era rock to help calm down. If I’m REALLY stressed, I head straight for the heavy metal.

#17- Take A Drive For A Change of Scenery

Simply getting away from the same scenery you see every day works miracles. Driving with the windows down and the radio up seems to help most people, as well.

#18- Stop Multitasking

Doing too many things at once can be overwhelming. Try tackling one thing at a time, instead. Not only will your stress levels be done, but you’ll accomplish a lot more.

#19- Practice Patience

This one is hard – at least, I know it is for me. But patience really is a virtue, and it’s one we have to practice. Much of our stress correlates to the feeling we haven’t done enough in a specific amount of time, or we aren’t getting results a quickly as we had hoped. Take a deep breath, and try to remember that the best things take time.

#20 – Just Smile (Even If You Don’t Feel Like It)

That saying “fake until you make it” has some very strong basis in fact. Scientific studies have shown that if you fake a smile, eventually you’ll trick your brain into actually feeling happy.

#21- Ask For Help

When you get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This could come from a friend, relative, neighbor, or partner. Or maybe you need to hire someone a few hours a week now that you’re blog is booming or your writing is doing great. Lightening your own load can ease stress a LOT.

#22- Utilize A Timer When You Feel Overwhelmed

This is something I’ve personally discovered helpful. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, it helps to set a timer. If I’m doing my freelance writing or editing or whatever, I just set my timer for 10, 20, 30 minutes. Having a set ending when I can do another task or treat myself makes the time fly by.

#23- Take A Hot Shower

Hot showers are therapeutic. The heat will relax tense muscles, and the steam makes is easier for you to breath.

#24- Come Back To Reality For A Moment

Sometimes symptoms of stress like derealization (the feeling you are in a dream) or desensitization (an inability feel a connection with the people or things around us) occur as a result of getting lost on the worlds we create. You can help to avoid these by sporadically taking a little break to come back to reality.

#25- Resist The Urge Of Late Night Benders

This one is hard, especially for us night owls – yeah, I’m guilty, too. But late night benders can leave you exhausted in the morning. When you lack the appropriate amount of sleep, it is harder for your body to control even the smallest stress triggers. Resist late night benders, and opt instead to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.

#26- Talk To Yourself

The majority of people talk to themselves – and no, it doesn’t make you crazy. Sometimes just talking your own self through it is all you need to get through your stress.

#27- Take Care of Yourself

Taking good care of yourself is a preventative measure against stress. Get enough sleep, drink a minimum of eight cups water a day, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. This allows your body to be in it’s best stress-fighting form!

#28- Practice Mantras

Mantras are little phrases you repeat to yourself. They can be anything. Tell yourself that you are strong, creative, that you will be productive, or that you will practice patience. Whatever it is that you feel you need to reaffirm to yourself at the start, end, or middle of your day.

#29- Become More Knowledgeable On Stress

Knowing what stress is all about can help because it becomes less scary once you know what causes it. Why does stress happen? What’s going on? Learn this, and you add a bit more strength to your stress-fighting arsenal.

#30- Be More Prepared & Organized

Many times stress is triggered by being overwhelmed, or an inability to find something you desperately need right NOW. By becoming more prepared and organized, you not only reduce stress but also raise productivity levels.

#31- Have A Healthy Snack

Low blood sugar can cause stress, so sometimes all you really need is a health snack to get your blood sugar back to normal. Try keeping a couple granola bars hidden away near your work space for those times you’re in the groove.

#32- Clean Your Work Space

Clutter around our work area can actually cause the brain to subconsciously stress out more. By keeping your work space clean and tidy, you can help yourself be more focused, more productive, and less stressed.

#33- Knock Out Your Other Tasks Before Writing

You won’t be able to do your best writing if you’re stressing about everything else you have to get done. Try to knock out all your other tasks – or at least as any as humanly possible – before you settle down to write.

#34- Write During Your Most Personally Productive Time of Day

If you’re a night owl, try writing before bed. If you’re a morning person, get that word count up in the morning. By writing at your most personally productive time of day, you not only get more done, but you’ll naturally stress less about it.

#35- Train Your Brain By Not Acting On Frustration or Anger

Every time you manage to avoid acting on your anger or frustration, you are slowly rewiring your brain to be effected less by it. It’s hard, and you may have a few failed attempts, but don’t be discouraged. Eventually not reacting will become second nature for you.

#36- Set Aside “Me” Time (For Something OTHER Than Writing)

One of the best stress relievers is to simply set aside a little “me” time… and for something other than writing, I mean. Obviously we all love to write, and that’s the reason we do it. But there are other things you enjoy that you can do, also. Even if you can only set aside half an hour a week, it can help.

#37- Cut Off Lines of Communication For Just A Little While

Turn off the phone. Shut the computer. Cut yourself off from the outside world, and simply relax. In today’s hectic, always switched on society, sometimes all we need is a little break. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

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