Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Overcome Stress Headaches When Writing

Writing is a stressful job. In fact, newspaper reporters have the 8th most stressful job in the United States.

Constantly faced with deadlines, even self published Kindle writers can feel the stress build up into an excruciating headache. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to de-stress and possibly eliminate the stress headache.

Take a Break

You need to get the book done now, but your head aches and you can’t focus. You’re not getting any work done, so it is time to simply step away from the keyboard and take a break.

During your break, do something different for at least 15 minutes. You can start a load of laundry, wash a few dishes, or do some stretching. When you are done, sit down and refocus. Decide on what you must do, how you are going to do it, and then get back to work. Write for another 45 minutes and take another 15 minute break.

Learn to Breathe

Stress not only causes headaches, but it can cause shallow breathing. Learn how to breathe properly by inhaling to the count of 4, holding for 2, exhaling to the count of 4, and then holding your breath again to the count of 2. Let your belly expand and contract while breathing, and keep your shoulders still to prevent chest breathing.

Whenever you feel the tension begin to build, take a few minutes to just breathe. You will immediately begin to feel more relaxed.

Take a Shower

Take a warm shower or a bath at the onset of a stress headache. This will help wash away the tension and it will give you time to de-stress and refocus.

Dim Your Computer Screen

Bright lights can cause headaches. If you are going to be writing on your computer for any length of time, dim your screen. You don’t need a bright screen to work on writing and some writers go as far as to turn their screen to dark so that they will not get distracted by the urge to do rewrites while working on a first draft.

Other Tricks

Have a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of soda. Get some caffeine into your system to help fight off the headache. Wear sunglasses while you work if the surrounding light is too bright. Finally, do some stretches and exercises. While moving around might be the last thing you want to do when you have a headache, it is proven to help decrease the pain of headaches and can relieve them entirely.

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