At the high school where I work, we finished De-Stress Fest last week, so students can turn to their final projects, papers and exams refreshed. We had tea, made friendship bracelets, wrote thank you cards, did yoga.
Whether you’re currently in school or not, December into January has a lot of stress. Coordinating travel plans, coordinating family members, preparing holiday dinners and celebrations, on top of any papers and exams you might have if you are also a student. Reading and writing can easily fall to the wayside (or be its own form of stress) when our stress looms so large we can’t think beyond it to pick up a book or sit down at the computer to write.
Here are a few tips to de-stress in order to reinvigorate your writing life and keep your creative juices sloshing around.
Re-read your favorite book. Returning to an old favorite is a burst of instant comfort. It’s also a great reminder about who we can be as writers and whose work we admire. I always keep my copies of The Doctrine of Labyrinths series close by so I can always remember what I hope to achieve in my work.
Free-write. Take ten minutes (time yourself) and write non-stop. Whatever comes to your mind, even if it doesn’t make any sense, is perfect. Just keep writing. Then put what you wrote aside for a day, a week, a month. When (or if) you return to your words, see if there are any gems or phrases you’d like to take another look at. Free writing serves as an excellent creative release, and can also be used as the start of new writing in the future.
Write Outside of Your Genre. If you’re a prose writer, write a poem. If you’re a poet, try your hand at prose. Sometimes working in a genre you’re not as familiar with takes the pressure off. Maybe you’ll do something with it, and maybe you won’t. Last week I wrote a poem because I knew I needed to write something new, but have too many projects currently going to devote to another story right now. So, I wrote a poem. Give it a shot. You’ll be surprised at what you create.
What other tools and exercises do you use to de-stress? Have a great holiday season!