DAY 10 – #MonthOfBlogging #June2024 #MonthOfWriting

One development in society recently has been the opening up of the debate on mental health, and wellness.  The days of “stiff upper lip” and “just get on with it” are now cast into the bin, hopefully never to return. And no matter your position on diversity and “woke”, there can be no doubt that we, as humans interacting with other humans, can improve our lives by caring a little more – for ourselves, and others,

So what’s all this got to do with writing?

Because writing is hard. Scribbling words on a piece of paper is straightforward, but composing a structured and cohesive piece of writing, maybe for others to enjoy, can be a stressful and frustrating thing. 

The first thing to do is to recognise when adverse thoughts and feelings are coming into your head. My most difficult time is when I have conflicting priorities and deadlines to juggle. Project A needs to be done before tomorrow, but Project B needs to be done tonight. And, by the way, Project C has just popped up and needs attention NOW! I can get very tetchy in this situation.

Managing these situations, for me, involves stepping back slightly. One thing I try to do is perform a MVP analysis. No, not Most Value Player, but Minimum Viable Product. What is the absolute MINIMUM I need to do on each of the conflicting projects. I am quite practical, and ignore people phoning up and being angry, but consider what is the EFFECT of timescale slippage. I quite often end up realising that the self-imposed pressure can be eased, and I can focus more and move forward.

But by far the best thing?

I remove myself from the situation. I’m lucky in that I have several pleasant walks around where I live, and I find that by talking a walk the whirling soon slows down, and I can view the projects with clarity and common sense, instead of the chaos I was experiencing.

I get fresh air into my lungs, breathing deeply and slowly, and holding the breaths. I find the 4-7-8 count suits me: inhale for a count of 4; hold for a count of 7; exhale for a count of 8.

Benefits of deep breathing:
* lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
* reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood.
* reduced lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue.
* balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
* improved immune system functioning.
* increased physical energy.
* increased feelings of calm and wellbeing.

Here are some more great tips:

The main points in order – breathe, rest, exercise, soclialise, disconnect.

And a quote from Seneca, the Spanish-born, Roman philosopher:
“We must go for walks out of doors, so that the mind can be strengthened and invigorated by a clear sky and plenty of fresh air.”

Wise words

Giving it a break, taking a breath, going for a walk, change of scene helps


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