I’ve been struggling lately.
Not anything major – just down in the doldrums. A lot of people suffer from random attacks of the sads, and having anxiety definitely exacerbates it for me. Even worse, it seriously brings on the ol’ writer’s block. If you make your living with your words, that just won’t do, but whatever you do there’ll be times when find yourself stuck in a rut.
Here’s what helps me break out of that headspace:
1. Yoga. I’m starting with this one because yes, I know, everyone says this will help and it can be super annoying. But for me, concentrating on my body gets me out of my head, and that’s exactly what I need (if there’s another form of exercise that works better for you, go for it!). I absolutely love Yoga With Adriene, as she’s a total sweetheart and always makes me smile.
2. Music. Listening to music that reminds me of better times is always uplifting for me. In fact, I made a Spotify playlist full of stuff that cheers me up. The reasons behind my choices are personal, but they’re all happy tunes 🙂
3. Looking at your photos. For me, it’s photos of travel that cheer me up. It also fills me with wanderlust, but looking at the mountains of British Columbia, the castle at Disneyland Paris, or the amazing cupcake I had in Boston is an instant mood lifter.
4. Get out of the house/office. This works best when it’s sunny (for me, anyway, maybe you’re a fan of rain). Take a break, get away from your desk/sofa, and get some fresh air. It might be just what you need. Take something to write on in case you get inspired.
5. Go somewhere new. You don’t need to hop on a plane – but hey, if you’ve got the money and the time, go ahead and do that! Walk to a park you’ve not been to before. Get the train to a new town. I went to Saltaire the other day, and wandering around the town really filled me with inspiration. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get home – I went to a coffee shop so that I could start noting down ideas! My advice: take a camera and a notebook.
6. Try a new hobby. Life drawing. Origami. Sewing. Something that’ll stretch you, just a little, and get your mind engaged. Remember: don’t beat yourself up for not being instantly amazing. No-one is. Just relax and have fun.
7. Meditate. Yep, this is another one that people insist will help if you’re feeling down, and it might make you roll your eyes. I’m putting this in here because it helps me. If you’d like to try it, I recommend Calm.com – I really like their free meditation.
8. Read. Preferably a fantasy, or scifi – something to help you get out of the real world. I also like them because the heroes of fantasy and scifi have WAY bigger problems than you. Sure, you’ve got writers block but they’ve got a twenty-ton dragon bearing down on them, and she’s just found out that there’s an alien armada heading straight for earth. They can kick their problems right in the butt, and you can you.
9. Have a drink of water. Yeah, this is an easy one. It almost feels cheeky putting this one on here, apart from that I overlook it so often. Being dehydrated can make you feel super lousy. Go to the kitchen, drink a big ole glass of water, and then go back to work. I can’t guarantee it’ll help, but it might just leave you refreshed, revitalised, and feeling ten times better.
10. Finish something. Oh god, you’re only ten thousand words into that story, and it’s easily going to need eighty thousand to wrap up the plot. You can feel it like a Sword of Damocles over your head, and that’s pretty much guaranteed to give you writer’s block. Instead, finish something small. Do you have a blog post you can finish? A short story? A sketch? Just finish something and that sense of relief will feel so good. It might even give you the motivation to crack on with the novel.
So there we go! Ten ideas for getting unstuck, and for overcoming a smudge on your mood.