Friday, July 5, 2013

Author Chat Friday with Phoenix Johnson

Yes, things are a bit hiccupy right now, and it's supposed to be Alysha this week but due to  some circumstances, for this month we've traded places. So instead she'll be Chatting next Friday. 
Being that I'm posting a week earlier than normal, I hadn't quite gotten my post together, so I'm going to wing it, and talk about something that most people go through, authors in particular, and a few ways to hopefully tackle it. 
I'm talking about stress from overloading oneself. I am guilty of doing that quite a lot. See, I get bored and fidgety rather easily, so am always having to do something of some sort. That is why I'm studying full time, writing, had been proof-reading for Secret Cravings as well as being a stay at home mother (about to be to two!). I need to have something to keep my mind busy at all times otherwise I just grow bored and irritable. However it had begun to catch up on me, as it will eventually catch up to anyone who tries to juggle too much. I was battling anxiety and depression and still trying to take on more which only made things worse; I was caught in a vicious cycle. 
So what did I do to change? I asked my doctor for help, because that's always a good first step. Ask for help.Suck up that ego, and reach out. 
I started seeing someone to help me manage it once every two weeks. Not too long later, she was happy enough to extend time between appointments, and now I've got it mostly under control; I'm lucky enough it's only taken about 7-8 months. Some people take a lot longer. 
For those who aren't yet ready to admit they need help, or for those who just need a little bit of management advice for their stress, I want to share a few tips that I have picked up.
ASK. It's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength to admit you need help. 
BREATHE. When you feel things are starting to overwhelm you, take a minute, take 5. Hell, take an hour or two if you need it. Use that time to sit back, close your eyes, take deep breaths and let yourself relax. Let your mind wonder. And don't feel guilty about taking the time. We are humans, not machines. We need down time. 
TALK. Find someone you can talk to when things are getting too much. Maybe just a friend over a coffee, or a Skype chat with a friend or family member overseas. It doesn't matter who; just find that support and know when to use it. Get those frustrations out. 

LISTEN. A good support person listens to you talk, but you also need to listen to them. Maybe they have some invaluable advice or fresh ideas on how to tackle whatever is that's bothering you. 
WRITE. Now, this doesn't just apply to authors. Anyone can find therapy in writing. It doesn't matter if it's just a scrap of paper on which you write out your frustrations, to then scrunch it up and throw it out. (Burning the paper is quite a symbolic gesture, as well. Just obviously take care when dealing with flames!) It's the act of getting your frustrations, your anger etc out in some form. And it doesn't just apply to writing. Paint, draw, jog your frustrations out. Scream in to a pillow. Find how best to vent your frustrations etc and when they're creeping up, let them out!

These are just some basic suggestions. Simple, and obvious, but often they are things we don't do, even though they are some of the most effective ways to relieve stress. What is most important is that you keep aware of your stress levels and find ways to keep in under control. Always be conscious of what is going on in your mind, and with your emotions because no matter how much you try to deny it, you are a sensitive being, and can only ignore stress for so long before it knocks you out!