Monday, July 12, 2010

Do you let yourself recharge?

If you saw my post on Friday, you know I was out of town for my anniversary (it was SO much fun, btw) and I pretty much unplugged the whole weekend. I played around on Twitter a bit--but other than that I was completely off the internets.

Even better: I actually did FUN THINGS! (I know--it's shocking, isn't it?) We were in San Diego, so we walked around the Gaslamp district, walked along the Marina, browsed all the specialty shops in Seaport Village, and spent a day at the Zoo. And I realized 2 things:

1) I am really out of shape. I may be down two dress sizes thanks to the revision-is-stressful diet. But spending 15 hours a day sitting in front of a computer has turned my leg muscles to mush. I. am. so. sore--and all we did was walk. Clearly I need to move more during the day.

2) Spending time slacking off actually helped my writing. Not only did I finally solve a few issues that have been plaguing my current project, but it was like I could actually feel the creative juices flowing again. Like my head finally cleared and let my brain recharge.

Which made me realize how important it is to take a break now and then. I've been going going going for so long now, thinking I can just keep powering through. But I actually accomplished more this weekend--when I was on vacation, and not working--than I have in the last couple weeks (as far as writing goes at least). I guess we can only push ourselves so hard before it starts to hinder. 

So I'm going to try to be better about taking 'me time'--because a little bit goes a long way. I'm going to try to take a 20 minute walk every day, just me and my music and the ideas swirling in my mind (this will hopefully also make it so I don't get pathetically sore from the tiniest bit of exercise). I'm going to take time to people watch and window shop (both of my writing breakthroughs came from these simple activities). And whenever possible, I'm going to take a few hours on a weekend to go do SOMETHING, because I seriously need to get out more. And maybe by making these small changes I won't get so burned out again. Here's hoping. 

But what about you guys: how do you recharge? Any tips or tricks you care to share?

34 comments:

  1. My husband and I have been taking advantage of his days off by going hiking, biking, visiting museums, etc. It's been great! I've felt so inspired and refreshed.

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  2. I definitely need to learn to relax and have fun. I'm terrible about just working all the time, especially since I try to squeeze in writing/blogging between working and taking care of my house & family.

    I so agree that all this sitting is really not good. I try to walk 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at lunch. I listen to books on tape while I walk so I can read more.

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  3. The responsibilities of parenting have absorbed all of our time, so I look forward to reading the comments for suggestions as well.

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  4. I am just coming off a one week hiatus and feel so much better!

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  5. I'm just coming back from a two week hiatus, so I know the importance of unplugging. It works wonder ... and unless you've done it, you don't know what you are missing ;-)

    ~JD

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  6. Firstly, major *squeezeses* for having an awesome weekend.

    1 ~ physical exercise truly helps my writing. It gets the endorphins rushing, my thought process charges up, and some new story idea always births from it.

    2 ~ other mental 'getaways' are reading for pleasure. (I desperately attempt to put away my writer's eye and read like a reader. So tough, though.) I play a card game with the kids, draw, or watch a good movie. Usually an oldie but goodie.

    A break from writing is like a breath of fresh air to your brain. I really need to do it more. I always find progress after.

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  7. Sometimes I play with my daughter or I do something productive. Productivity is a very important to me, it makes me like I didn't waste my times.

    A vacation is a good way to refresh. Or a book Binge. I'm a going through a book binge right now.

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  8. For me, the big thing is exercise. And it's amazing how the ideas start to come to me while I'm running. A little frustrating too since I don't run with pen and paper. Maybe I should run with a pen and just write the notes on me as they come. Might work as long as I don't get too sweaty. ;)

    Glad you enjoyed your break. :D

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  9. I agree that it's totally necessary to take a break now and then, and I'm so glad that you got to take one! :-)
    I tend to force myself to get up and take a bike ride every once and a while. I like to take one long one every week. It really helps me to unwind and stay productive.

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  10. Shannon, I think it's great you could work out some issues for your writing while "unplugging". It's so hard to do! I force myself into the gym each morning to carve out time for myself before I get pulled into the tasks of the day. That's about the only time that I'm forced to unplug and I need to do it more often! :)

    Marissa

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  11. Hmm, no tips because I'm mush too...maybe I should do something about that...

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  12. Hi, Shannon! Glad to hear your anniversary weekend was so much fun! And I'm all about taking breaks - and exercising! Most times, it's a two mile walk, and while it's great for toning those pesky leg muscles, it's also one of the MAJOR ways I work out novel tangles in my head. Welcome back!

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  13. I love, love, love taking walks when I feel like my brain is fried. I'll invent an excuse to go to the grocery store or the bookstore or something, and I'll walk through the park and people-watch. Glad you had a good break!

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  14. Well, I can't say that I have anything particularly efficient, because I struggle with this too. (Both the 'don't-get-up-and-move-all-day one and the breaks.)

    I did eventually start *officially* reserving Sundays for NO WRITING. At least, no writing on THE MS. I can write fun stuff, random stuff.

    I need to make more progress. Thanks for reminding me! I'll keep looking for ways to maintain my sanity (and health). :)

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  15. So glad San Diego was wonderful!

    My writing time is my 'me' time. I work full time, have a hubby and 2 teens along with friends, so the writing time is how I fill up any left over moments. :)

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  16. Oh man sore legs are the worst! I'll have to get back to you on this one. The folks will be in town and that always leads to awesome adventures and fun. I hope it works for me cause I need a recharge BIG time.

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  17. Hiking! Kayaking! Snowshoeing! These are all my secrets to recharging.
    Good for you on your own recharge!

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  18. REDBULL!!

    Not really. Ten years ago I hit a wall because of work and daily stress which resulted in high blood pressure and crippling headaches. Ever since then I don't allow myself to get in that position. I ALWAYS take an hour lunch...no matter what is going on. I excercise regularly (which also helps the creative juices to flow), and I play regularly (my kids see to that).

    It's good that you are learning that now...at a young age.

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  19. Exercise all the way. I hate working out (I'm soooooooo lazy), but it always gives me the brain break I need, and the endorphin rush I need, too :).

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  20. I am so back on the excercise track. Sitting in front of the computer has not done me any favors.
    I'm glad the break worked out for you. I've finally gotten to the point where I can give myself a break without feeling guilty. Well not too guilty at least.

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  21. Exercise and reading other books helps me to recharge without having to take a real vacation somewhere. Also, turning off your modem helps. ;)

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  22. I need to do this too. I try really hard to stay off the Internet on Sunday. Yup, every single week. I sleep in, watch movies, make cookies. I usually find my way online for a few minutes, but nothing like the other days of the week. This gives me the recharge I need. I should walk 20 minutes everyday, though. Maybe I'll do that too.

    Glad you had a fun weekend!

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  23. Your me time is great! I like walking by myself and just taking in the scenery! It's a great way to clarify one's mind!

    Glad you had a great weekend! Take care
    x

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  24. Summer has wreaked havoc on my writing, but I'm always up and moving around, so it's good for the exercise. But when I started writing full-time last fall I quickly realized that there must be some exercise everyday or the sitting would kill me.

    Good for you for taking a break! :)

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  25. Sometimes I choose to watch mind-numbing television. It actually helps.
    But my family and I have decided we are not getting out enough so we made a huge list of activities and we are doing at least one each weekend.

    This weekend we are either going bowling or white water rafting. I am a little frightened by both.

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  26. Great post and I see by everyone's comments a lot of us have the same issues.

    I hate the idea of exercising until I'm actually doing it. I try to do a power walk from a video which gets me a mile in 20 minutes. But I always find something I need to do first, so my track record is not good.

    Glad to see you had a 'productive break'. I'm currently on a 12 day hiatus since I have my kids and grandkids visiting, but I can't help sneaking in some writing time. It's actually my way of unwinding!

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  27. recharging is so important. Last week I took eight days off just to write...but it turned out... that what I needed more than to write was to just take a break from all the school stuff that had been steadily draining me for the last year without a break.

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  28. I'm a single and only parent to my 13yo, so my writing time is my escape time. I don't get to do it as often as I need to, but I'm working on that.

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  29. Hey there, Shannon! I'm catching up on blog enties. Those wedding pictures are gorgeous, btw!!! And thanks for my awesomesauce Lisa Schroeder book - you rock, ALWAYS!

    When I take time to recharge, it either works wonders or stresses me out more. It's a crap-shoot! I still like me time, though. :-)

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  30. I don't know how to recharge! Is that bad?!

    I'm glad you had such a great time and got to relax :)

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  31. I'm glad you had a fabulous anniversary weekend replenishing your mind!

    I exercise every day, and on the weekends I usually don't write hard-core. I spend time with my husband and family and friends then. It's good to get out and about, away from my writing spaces for a day or two!

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  32. I tend to solve a lot or real and imagined writing problems when I go for a run or walk. Nothing like hanging out inside my head away from it all to help me see with clarity.

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  33. dang, now i wanna go to san diego. see? i need a vacation so bad i can't even manage to capitalize any of my letters.

    sigh

    glad you had a good time. and you're right. sometimes when you quit chasing the ideas, the flock to you!

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  34. I love my daily dog walks with music. I usually do it in the evening, as a way to transition from work stuff to just living stuff. And yeah, I'm another one who likes my TV shows. :)

    So glad you had a nice weekend, Shannon!!

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