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It has been almost two months since I started blogging! I can’t believe it!
This way things have changed since I started has got me thinking lately about a lot of things. Stress being on of them.
We have to deal with stress in our lives. Whether you’re in a high flying career or a stay at home mum or a young student, you will have felt overwhelmed, at one point or another.
That’s okay, it’s normal.
But it’s not healthy, especially if starts to get too big, too frequent.
There is one particular aspect of stress I have mentioned in previous posts. In fact just recently in ‘Finding Your Calm Button.’
One of the problems I face as a mum of two boys under 4, Is parenting burnout. I have days where I’m home with them all day (see this post for how I try to make it less stressful) and by the time Husband gets in from work, I am in sensory overload. Other introverts will be able to relate, I’m sure.
There has just been too much noise for too long.
I feel all the signs of stress response flaring up. I know the best thing for me to do is remove myself from the situation for some quiet time, this is how I ‘come down’ as it were.
So, Husband gets in, gets changed and has a bite to eat. The second he has finished his food, I disappear up into our room for an hour or so, sometimes all the way up until dinnertime.
We are all human, we all need ‘me’ time and sometimes as a mum, you will turn around and realise you haven’t had five minutes to yourself all week.
I used to read or nap, mostly. But napping during the day makes me groggy, and sometimes I’d find I was reading the same paragraph over and over for an hour, because I just couldn’t concentrate or relax.
The thing is, before I wrote, I’d have days where my stress just would not dissipate. I would remain grumpy and frustrated and down all the way until bedtime. I tried to reset, but I just couldn’t do it!
Now, things are different. Which is why I encourage, no implore you to start writing. Write anything, anywhere, by hand or typed, just start. Write blog posts, write a fantasy novel, write poetry. Write your thoughts of the day. Just write.
Why am I suddenly so insistent about this? Well, the other day I had an epiphany! Let me explain.
Today was a bad day.
That is the first thing I wrote when I disappeared upstairs, sat on my bed and opened my laptop.
Things got done, all went well, but I was stressed and down and anxious and blah. I had no reason to be, but it was one of those days. Where no matter how productive you’ve been, how much sleep you got, how well behaved the kids are being, you just can’t shake that dark cloud.
I loathe those days. Unfortunately, we all have them on occasion. (check out my posts on Negative Automatic Thoughts here and here) I know I’m not the only one.
So I disappeared into my room with my laptop as soon as my husband came home. For the first time I figured I’d try writing a blog post instead of reading or whatever else. I knew from my mood it was probably going to be a day where my foul mood lingered until I eventually dragged myself to bed feeling defeated.
But then sometime different happened.
The second I started typing it was like the stress flowed out of me with each press of a key.
I literally felt it ‘draining’ away like it never had before. The words flowed, some perfect, some nonsense, but it left me relaxed and refreshed in record time. So much so that I had to simply sit still for a while and marvel.
It wasn’t like the feeling I got when I found my ‘calm button’. It wasn’t a focusing of energy or letting go of worries like i’d associate with that. No, the thought that came to me wasn’t ‘hey, i’ve found another calm button!’ or ‘ohh this actually makes me feel less stressed!’ (Although it does.)
This was something else. My first thought was:
This makes me happy.
I have mentioned before how the more I write, the more I want to write. I really have fallen in love with blogging. It’s not an entirely new discovery, when I was younger I loved to pen poetry, fanfiction, draft novels etc and at University focused pretty heavily on literature!
But, as they say, ‘Life Happens.’
I had to get a job to pay the bills, I got married and bought a house, had kids etc…
While I’m certainly not complaining, I love my family, my point is it is very easy to forget your true passions along the way, isn’t it?
I have a task for you.
I want you to think really hard, what were your passions when you were younger? What hobbies or activities did you find relaxing or refreshing?
Most importantly: Do you still do them? If not, why? And could you start again?
I believe the majority of people will likely answer ‘No’ to still doing them, and ‘Life’ to why? When it comes to ‘could you start again?’ though, I’m willing to bet there will be a lot of hmm’s, a few maybe’s and at least one ‘wait, why haven’t I done that already!?’
Even if your old hobbies were as far removed from writing as you can get, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go.
Sometimes you don’t know you need something until you get it.
Sometimes we muddle along. We get on with things, the day to day, and everything is just fine. Maybe not perfect, but more good days than bad, and that’s something.
Then something happens; we see someone we haven’t seen for a long time, we go back to an old hobby, pick up a half-read book, visit a place from our childhood. Whatever it is, it triggers an unravelling.
We feel that ball of stress we (most of the time) didn’t even know was there start to unwind. Maybe slowly, maybe all at once. It might just make you sigh and stand up straighter, it might make you sit down and cry. It doesn’t matter, because now you know you were holding onto stress you didn’t need, and you know what lifted it.
This is why I urge you to write. To pick up a pen or open a new document and just go at it, poetry, free thought, journal, anything. There is an excellent article here which will tell you a little more about types of therapeutic writing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the next Shakespeare, or if you always hated doing essays at school. You can simply put pen to paper and let your hand start moving of its own accord if you want, but I promise you, it will make a difference.
We all have a novel inside of us waiting to be written.
We’ve all heard that quote, but you might surprise yourself with what comes out.
Once you’ve started, it might be hard to stop, so don’t! If you find, like I did, that you can grow something real from your writing, then do it.
Starting a blog is easy in some ways and hard in others, but you really can have one up and running for free in a matter of minutes if you want.
If you want to help others, put your story out there and generally use your writing to interact with the world, this is the perfect way. If you like to write poetry or short fictional stories, why not create a compilation and self-publish an eBook?
If nothing else, free thought writing might be useful to help you unlock some stresses and worries you didn’t realise were bothering you lately. If you are able to follow the train of thought on these, you may even surprise yourself by figuring out the solution! (It’s usually much easier than you think, you just couldn’t see it until it was written down!)
Here is an excellent article with ideas for what to write, and also one with more therapy focused writing assignments. Why not give them a look, even if you think you don’t need help right now, isn’t it worth trying an outlet to see how it makes you feel?
You never know, you might have a novel inside of you.