When you're stressed out, everyone and everything suffers. You neglect your family, forget to clean the fish tank, let the yard grow out, piss off your boss with your latest raging case of The Fuckits, irk your loving wife because you'd rather sleep on the couch (because, probably owing to the PTSD associated with your divorce and all those years bedding down the cushions, when you're stressed, the couch feels safer), and above all other things, you impose a magnificent injustice on your writing.
It's this latterest point I'd like to address specifically, and the others tangentially, if at all.
Writing is important to me. It quiets the voices. I release an energy inside me that opens up a whole new level of creativity that I can apply to anything else in my life. Writing helps me coach soccer. Writing helps me analyze engineering problems at work. Writing helps me communicate with my wife and children.
Writing is a huge part of who I am, and what I do. When I stress out, and can't write, I need to find ways to detoxify the stress levels and unleash the worms.
First, I believe you need balance in all four areas of your life: Head, Heart, Spirit, Body.
That sounds a little Buddhist or Taoist or Maoist or some such, but there it is. I add a fifth on there sometimes, Financial, but I'll leave out that sucker since most of us don't have nearly the control over our finances that we like to think we have.
Anyway, here are some things that detoxify me when I get cluttered up.
I hole up and read. That, friends, is a huge escape for me, and a fine way to prime the writer's pump.
I work out. I've done globogym work since college, but did martial arts and burst training in high school. I recently went back to burst training (doing CrossFit) and some light martial arts, and it has reinvigorated a youthful side of me I had forgotten I still had. In fact, it's inspiring my latest story.
I attend church or pray. Pick your religious poison, but having some sort of spiritual relationship will put you back on keel. Like the burst training, a good religious experience will awaken that inner kid, the one who let Mommy and Daddy worry about everything, and who believed Dad when he said it would be all right and that he was the meanest mutherfucker in the woods, ain't nobody gonna hurt you, ever.
I cuddle up with my wife and watch a movie. I let her pick the flick, and God love her, she picks guy-movies every last time. I don't know if she actually likes the movies. She says she does, and then we rent the latest Resident Evil. How can I not love that woman?
I think I'll buy her flowers tonight, just for the hell of it, and cuddle up with her, even though I should be working and mowing that yard.
Man, screw the yard.
How do you detox? How do you stay in-the-game during stressful times?