Out Damn Stress

I can’t tell you how many times I have this conversation with people.

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m president of Echelon Press.”

“What’s that?”

“The greatest indy publisher in the business” ::smile::

“Wow, what do you publish?”

“We do mostly fiction, but are always on the lookout for great non-fiction.”

“You mean like James Patterson?”

“Actually, I think our stuff is better.” ::smile::

“Well, that must be so exciting to get to work with all those writers in New York.”

“Well, I have Tom Schreck in NY and he is pretty awesome. But our writers are all over the world.”

“Really, like where?”

Israel, New Zealand, California.” ::smile::

“So you get to travel all over the world and everything. Flying first class must be awesome.”

“Yea, it must be.” ::snort::

And on it continues until my eyes glaze over and my tongue starts to sweat.

What’s my point? I went to the Doctor yesterday (actually my Nutritionist) and it seems I am riddled with stress. Now, where the hell is the glamour in that? I’m supposed to be flying First Class, the rest of world says so. I am a publisher for Pete’s sake.

I have actually had some variety of that conversation several times over the last month or so, even during my trip to Pakistan. Back to my stress. J (we’ll call her that to save her privacy) says that I need to find ways to relieve stress. Huh, ya think?

I am currently working on royalties, editing several short stories, rebuilding my ISBN database that got corrupted during last weekends computer stupidity (its, not mine) and trying to market a number of books.

What I want to know is what the heck I am supposed to do to relieve stress. I am sure that others suffer from this horrible thing, as well as me…or it it I? Anyways, I’d LOVE for you to share some of the things you do to relieve stress.

And let’s be clear, if anyone says “walk” I will hunt you down and make you suffer. Walking does not soothe me…it gives me time to think, and then I get wound up about all the things I should be doing instead of walking and then I feel guilty, and then I eat. Eating is great, but not stress eating, so I am looking for anything but walking. And for those of you tracking my health, I do wlk because I have to for my health, but not as a form of stress relief.

So come on people, give me some of your best ideas for relieving stress. I REALLY need them.


17 responses to “Out Damn Stress

  1. Karen; whenever I get severely stressed (which has been more often than usual, having worked in the banking industry under the threat of a layoff for the past 6 years) I swear. Not your tame, acceptable-in-public type language, but real, true-blue bloopers. I do it in private, but I cuss like a trucker. Then, when I feel better, I go out in public and do something nice for someone else. There is always someone worse off (cliche, I know, but it’s true).

  2. Personally when I get stressed out I love to jump online and shoot something 😛

    Anything that distracts you for a little while from thinking about work is good 🙂

  3. Delegate, delegate, delegate…Relieve some stress by assigning someone you trust to handle some of the jobs that are overwhelming you whether in personal (laundry) or business (phone/email) life. Of course, if you are one who needs to be in control at all times, assigning a task for someone else to do may really freak you out!

    Reading these great comments helped reduce my stress..lol

  4. Good wine. Ludivico Einaudi. And Sex. But not sex with Einaudi, even if the wine was really good, on accounta I have never met him and am not really sure my husband would approve even though I know that he secretly thinks I need to get another job – not that my previous career included sex, well, not during business hours unless I had a quick lunch at home. And after hours, of course. With my husband. Gotta make that clarification! Just curious, though, about the average income of a career in sex… nah, never mind.

    Love Bejeweled and do zone out at night on those 1 minute games although I find that I play a bit more than I should when I absolutely MUST beat (insert least favorite FB friend’s name)’s score…

    Glass of wine, Einaudi, sex. Yup, that’ll do it for me.

  5. Please don’t get me started on James Patterson! I recently read an article about him and his marketing strategies, which in the end made me like him even less.

    When I need to de-stress, I’ll stretch, do some yoga, walk the dog, or play with my hula hoop. In general, I stop working and do something else for a while.

  6. Get out there and wal– Oh. Wait. Sorry. Hmm.
    When I get really stressed, I use up all the hot water in the tank by taking a marathon shower. I noticed, recently, that all of my heroines take long showers, too. Which leads me to this startling revelation… I do write when I’m stressed. If my stress is caused by something out of my control, I find I retreat into my current story/WIP and just live there for awhile. Therapists would have a field day with me!

    Another thing I do is walk away from my desk and do something entirely different but semi-productive, like (finally) clean up my side of the closet or (finally) put away the last of the Christmas wrap & stuff. I feel great when I get a task completed and it lessens the pressure of the stuff I haven’t gotten done. Like re-editing my next overdue release! (Finally.)

    Only one time around, dear publisher. Remember not to waste a moment on things that drag you down (unless it’s just my book.)

  7. I have several de-stressing habits:

    Sometimes I listen to music, or play music. Other times I do weeding, drawing, target practice, the types of activities that require intense concentration on the task at hand. And other times, I find it soothing to take ten minutes and do something I want to do, like indulging in a luxury of some kind.

    Good luck!

  8. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Stress is my middle name and I didn’t even see it coming. Who am I to give an opinion? Well I just published my first debut novel TORN FROM NORMAL, which hit the YA–top–ten bestseller list twice. When I’m not running my automotive shop, which is from 9am until 9pm, I sit on the Internet and answer email, write more email, write blogs, Promote my book.

    I thought I don’t know what stress feels like. Well, for the last three months I have problems finding a parking spot at my own shop. The entire front lot (holds 40 cars) is cluttered with customer cars every single morning. Guess who has to fix all these cars everyday? two other mechanics and myself.

    Any of you ever dismantled a Mercedes dashboard while holding the phone in one hand–talking to yet another customer? How about doing all that, and your cell phone going off and another customer walking up to you– wanting to show you something on his car?

    I have two hands, two ears, two eyes and two legs. There are only so many things somebody can do in the course of 24 hours. When I got to sleep, my brains wants to think about the tasks for the next day. I won’t let it though. I close my eyes and dig around in my childhood memory. Pleasant memories.

    When I’m under pressure at work, I remind myself to remember to enjoy the time after work and the time I will be in my bed. And when I’m finally in bed, I look back for a moment, knowing the pressure and stress are all gone and that the bad times are always followed by the good times.

    I also force myself to disconnect from it all, several times a month. I ski, bowl and party.

    A customer approached me yesterday at work. “When did you find the time to write a book?” He asked squinting at me. I gave him the only answer I knew. “I have no clue how I did it.”
    Check out my blog and see what makes my world spin day by day. http://martinbartloff.blogspot.com/


  9. Karen – The greatest stress reliever in the world is WRITING! Remember: My husband says I’m full of it!

  10. This may sound lame but during overwhelming and stressful times I find it nice to totally shut my brain off. So, I play video games… well hockey video games. Don’t laugh! There’s nothing quite like taking 40 minutes to focus on nothing but a meaningless game. Now I know you had a thing for Farmville and Bejeweled (I think that’s the name), so take a few moments and veg out in virtual game land. These things can be ultra distracting but they can also let your brain rest while you focus on some kind of vitual task.

    • I do use my Bejeweled to unwind at night. My Facebook friends will note that the only time I am on Bejeweled is at night and then I am always laying in bed. I play a few games, okay, sometimes 20 or so, then I put the pod on the port and close my eyes to sleep.

      I just can’t do that during the day or I would never get anything done. LOL


  11. Now, see Gordon, I’m funny…this could work!!!!

  12. Karen, I am often called upon to talk to clients about relieving stress through humor.

    Twenty years ago when I became a paraplegic, I went through just a wee bit of stress, and I spent several years generally pissed off at the world. One day my wife suggested that I start writing what I wanted to write, not what other people had been paying me to write for them before the accident. I had done a fair amount of comedy in the early 70’s, and decided to return to that. Lo and behold, the more I focussed on the humor in daily life, the lower my stress level went. The lower my stress level went, the easier it was to focus on the humor in daily life.

    Sure, I still have stress. Being a writer has its own stressors (dealing with editors, publishers, tour schedules etc.) But focussing on the humor in those stressors make them easier to deal with, as well.

    Of course, the alternative is to choke the living shit out of whatever or whoever is causing you stress. That always works, too, and it can be ever so satisfyling.


  13. I find it helps to occasionally affirm, aloud, “I chose this”. In your case probably “This is part of what I chose” would be more appropriate. For me, stress comes from feeling a need to control, from being out of control – but if I remember everything I do is part of what I chose, everything I do is part of something that gives me joy, half the circle, even if it’s not my favorite half — then I do better. It’s just hard to remember that, sometimes.

    Meanwhile, watch your carbs. Blood sugar swinging wildly up and down can really augment your stress and as Jayne says, “damage your calm”. 🙂

    • Blood sugar…I watch it, but maybe not carefully enough. It is diffiuclt trying to keep track of mine and my mother’s because she is really bad about hers.


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