Tag Archives: stress

Yes, I can’t help it…

As those poor folk who have stuck with me know – this month has sucked!

The thing is it shouldn’t have. Lots of good things happened…my problem is seeing them through the fog of stress.

I have very specific tools in place to help me feel successful. Apparently the statistics that I use are very important to me. I track the following: 

  • Words written per day
  • Journal (blogs) vs. Fiction
  • Number of days written
  • Number of Posts

I also track submissions and their outcome.  

A funny thing happened on my way to writing non-fiction stories for a major on-line presences (when an article is actually published I promise to reveal all) I didn’t make my numbers.  

Today is the last day of the month, so it is the day that I look at the work that I’ve accomplished, or not, and figure out what I’ve learned. Yes I am addicted to learning from my past.

So, what have I learned…

I’ve written more often, 81% up from 71% in January but I’ve also written less averaging 633 words per day as opposed to 1,335.

My postings have gone from 4 a week to 1 or 2, but I’ve submitted 4 stories and signed a contract with an online fiction publisher. I have two stories that I could get out today if I really buckled down bringing the total to 6 – more than any other month. I have an article due tomorrow….

So what is going on here? And why do I feel so discontent?

Part of it is that I feel like I’ve failed because I written so little fiction this month. But then I look at what I have accomplished and think that I should give myself a break.

I’ve written Sell Copy (don’t ask) and done my first interviews ever (4 of them) and now I’m writing feature articles. I’m closer to attaining my goal of solvency and who cares if it is writing newsletters, articles, or fiction. It is still writing. And like anything else, the more I do the easier it will get.

Besides… I have a novella due at the end of April so I have to start writing fiction again.

Yet, I still don’t feel very upbeat about all of this…so I tell myself, suck it up! Writers would kill for what’s happening in my life right now.

Oh, I haven’t talked about what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I am deadline driven, that I like researching things, and even enjoy the odd interview.

Solvency here I come!

~ Tess

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Stress is….

Crouching Woman

Stress is Hell!

Or at least it is part of the reason I’ve been in Hell for the last few days. Trapped in my own version of one of the circles – the one reserved for those who’ve failed.

I know. Get over it.

I didn’t fail. I am simply am a victim of circumstance. Thank you Billy Joel!

Somehow that doesn’t fly for me either. I like the ‘get over it part’. I had a plan. Then situation with my unemployment insurance changed. No one’s fault, it simply is. I need to ramp things up and instead I spent the weekend mired in my own self doubt.

A friend came over and broke my stretch of solitude. He’s one of those overachievers I tend to befriend, or date. We don’t date. He has a new business venture that’s been in the works for over a year. They went live around October with the office and website. He works his ass off and makes me feel like a sniveling whiny wimp. He came over between working with his web designer and hitting a birthday party – on Sunday.

My financial woes have put me on edge. For the most part because it is something I pride myself on doing money well. Not because I have a lot of it, but because I am good at living within my means. Saving when I have money and cutting my spending when I have less. The problem is, there isn’t much left to cut.

This also came on the heels of my biggest writing success to date.  

The universe is a cruel place.    

I was in the middle of re-watching the first season of the new Doctor Who when my friend arrived. Did I mention I’m a sniveling whiny wimp? All wound up in my personal pity party. That is the downside of writing or doing any type of business at home. You are home. I can go days without going outside or talking to another person face-to-face. Granted 90% of the time I prefer this but this morning I realized being alone without any demands on my time or commitments is not an optimal state. We need connection to the outside world. To people who like us, maybe even love us a little, and who care about us.   

I love Minerva, my cat, but she isn’t enough to get me out of the house. Or apparently to get me writing.

So, as I said. I need to get over it. Get up, do my thing, and keep moving forward. Which is what I did this morning. Granted a little later than I planned but the time change is always difficult. 11 pm felt like 10 pm and I wanted to watch just one more episode, I also wanted to get up at 6 am, as you can imagine those two ‘wants’ were mutually exclusive.

But I’m up, Yoga’d, and caffeinated and writing.  

And to quote Scarlett O’Hara yet again, “Tomorrow is another day!”

~ Tess

PS It is amazing how cathartic writing this was. Not all better, but no longer in the depths of despair

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In Search of… Information on Insomnia

Since I had yet another fun filled night of dreams and delusions I decided to do some research on insomnia. Nice to know that I’m not alone – 20% of the population will experience insomnia at some point in their lifetime.

Unfortunately the really interesting bits are locked away in scholarly journals I don’t have access to (I’m hoping there is a “yet” in there). But with a little judicious Googling I was able to find some additional information in the hope that tonight will be better

The Three most Common Causes of Insomnia

Snoring, Stress & Lifestyle

First – I’m going to assume that I don’t snore. In 20 years of relationships I’m sure someone would have mentioned it. So I don’t have to worry about that.

Second – Stress sounded like a good target. Part of their description is “When the mind is occupied, it is hard for it to shut off and sleep.” They mention reliving events, conversations, etc. All that good work stress stuff. Like when I started a new job and used Excel for the first time all day long. I dreamed about spreadsheets for weeks.  

This article recommended that I use aromatherapy or background music to quiet my mind. Nothing that smells is a possibility in my life but I could try my “soother” I love the sound of thunderstorms and that may successfully occupy my brain and let me sleep.

I’ve decided for the next several weeks to give up all alcohol and to limit my caffeine to coffee in the morning and tea only until 3 ish.

Third – Well, yes… I don’t maintain a normal schedule anymore, I could probably cut down on caffeine and alcohol, and although I have a new mattress I could use new pillows.

I’ll try and maintain a normal schedule – I wanted to get to bed early last night (10 pm) and it really didn’t work.

Oh, and melatonin and some chamomile tea 30 minutes before I go to bed sounds easy enough.

And then for the bad news article… if the “sufferer has experienced continuously broken sleep patterns for more than four weeks…a symptom of something far more serious – clinical depression.”

Lovely – I’ve been in this state for at least six weeks and probably more.

Interestingly enough the same article hinted at another player in the insomnia game – allergies. Well, I’ve got those in spades. Wonder if they might be adding to something going on in my life?

Oh, and then I found the article that stated even “extreme joy” is a stressor. So maybe it isn’t stress but the joy I feel in my new life and my subconscious is just trying to help me out with so many ideas for stories I can’t stay asleep.  

The article did go into some of the science behind my lack of sleep.

“Furthermore, chronically elevated levels of cortisol and its precursor, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), can make sleep shallow, fragmented, and unrestful; delay the onset of sleep; and produce more frequent nocturnal awakenings.”

Oh, we are getting somewhere that sounds like me.

“Do you observe a nightwatch, awakening to muse or meditate some time during the late night or early morning? That’s normal, too, and it can be richly rewarding.”

Yes, my whole night is one long nightwatch – with ideas tumbling out of nowhere. Please no one ask me how creative people get their ideas after this. I’d actually like a bit fewer of them.

I’m so liking this writer – however he wants me to buy his book to discover his secret to good sleep without drugs.

But there has to be more information out there that isn’t locked away in scholarly journals and books I can’t afford to buy.

Sleep Foundation  has a list of things you can do for stress induced insomnia.

  • First, set your bedtime and your wake-up time according to the number of hours of sleep you are getting currently. For example, if you are sleeping only five hours a night (even though you usually plan to spend eight hours in bed), set your sleep time for that amount. Then gradually increase the amount of time allotted for sleep by 15 minutes or so every few nights. The idea is to “squeeze out” the middle of the nighttime awakening and gradually increase the amount of sleep you will get during the night.
  • Spend some time “winding down.” A person with insomnia needs a “buffer zone,” a period of time to allow the activating processes in the brain to wind down to allow the alerting mechanisms to decrease their activity so that the sleep systems can take over. I suggest that you start winding down two hours before bedtime. Stop all work and end phone calls to family and friends, as often they are activating. Watching television is all right in the evening. However, an hour before bed, I recommend reading or listening to music.
  • Finally, focus on conditioning yourself for different sleep behavior. Insomnia is painful for people—it can take control of their lives. When someone suffering from insomnia walks into their bedroom, they often feel anxious, uncomfortable and tense, as they know from their experience that they might spend the night tossing and turning. They need to set up a situation so that they like going to their bedroom. The bedroom should be visually pleasing and very comfortable. One should use the bedroom only for sleep, sex, and changing clothes, pleasant activities, and if awake in the night should leave the bed and bedroom and spend “unpleasant” times awake in another room. “Waking” activities such as working on the computer, talking with one’s partner, talking on the phone and watching TV should take place out of the bedroom.  

No stress when I enter my bedroom. But I probably should get up rather than toss and turn when it gets stressful in the middle of the night.

Lots of food for thought and I’ll muse on these for a little bit longer and see what I can change quickly.

Here’s to some good night’s sleep!

~ Tess

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