You work eight or nine hours in your day time job—I used to work twelve hours, six days a week often showed up in my lab on Sunday, and regularly brought boxes of files to review at home. No wonder I got burned before official retirement and decided to call it quit and write fiction.

I needed to relax.

I relaxed for three months with a balance of gym, writing, volunteering and socializing. And then I forgot about balanced schedule and started putting pressure on myself again because it’s my nature to create pressure as my husband often says.

So now after seven years of self–induced stress I am still trying to find ways to relax.

Let’s review some of them:

1-The gym: great way to relax. Exercise for one to two hours. But if you do it with a trainer as I did, she set goals, increases the weights every time I master a heavier one, and pushes me to do better. Results: the gym is a new stress as far as I am concern

2- Walk around the corner: Spring will be here in a week, enjoy it. If you live in Florida walk on the beach

3-Swim: I have been swimming in a heated pool for the last three days and enjoyed it tremendously. I just hope I don’t turn it into stress by specifying the number of laps I have to swim.

4-Go to the movies: but careful if you watch Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire, don’t expect much relaxation. The movie was beautiful but heart-gripping. Seeing adults torturing children is not a sight I enjoy.

5-Try a musical: the classical Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia, or laugh at Menopause.

7-Go out for lunch with your friends or critique partners.

8- Entertain: I love inviting friends for dinner and cooking for them.

9- Read: it has been my favorite way to relax until I started writing my own books. Now I got in the nasty habit of analyzing and critiquing every book I read, even the NY bestseller books. I automatically check pace, POV showing vs telling, and make sure the characters are appealing and consistent.

Gosh is there a way to relax, to forget everything?

I finally found the ultimate relaxation: playing with my granddaughters. It takes a little 3, 4 or 5 year-old to demand your time, your actions, your thoughts in such a way that nothing else counts.

So what are your relaxation tools?
Here are the answers you gave me in your comments on how to relax:

1- Mary Ricksen: Reading and writing her books

2-Beth Trissel: Gardening and reading

3- Mary Marvella: Playing with her grand-dogs

4-Judy: Daydreaming for 10 to 20'

5-Joanne: Jogging on the treadmill

6-Magolla:Playing video games. Doing crochet (I did crochet for years, very relaxing)

7-Edie: Meditation (highly suggested by professional). Walking the dod. Reading

So, for us writers, reading is still the number one way of relaxation.

Thank you for your contribution.

Mona Risk writes Romantic Suspense. To Love A Hero and French Peril are available at Cerridwen Press.

8 comments

  1. Mary Ricksen // March 11, 2009 at 10:50 PM  

    Relaxing is a state of mind.
    So if a three year old and a five year old running around is relaxing, it has to be because you love them. Because the thought of a three year old and a five year old in my care, gives me palpitations.

    So far I'll stick with the reading. If the story is good enough I can get lost.

    What about writing, are you stressed about it or does it relax you?

  2. Beth Trissel // March 11, 2009 at 10:58 PM  

    Funny you should mention relaxation because calming is very important in treating anxiety (to which I am prone) and just this evening, my 19 yr old daughter and I were discussing various calming/relaxing things to do. I agree with your suggestions. I find gardening to be good, and just kicking back with the family and 'whatever.'

  3. Mary Marvella // March 11, 2009 at 11:43 PM  

    I read for fun, and that doesn't include contest entries or reading for critique partners. Some authors entertain me for an entire book.

    Playing with my grand-dogs is relaxing if I'm not staying with them over night. They don't like for me to sleep all night and they want all of my attention.

    Good post, Mona!

  4. Judy // March 12, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

    Mona, what a great reminder for me! I tend to be a goal-oriented person, establishing goals that are not necessary. I loved your list of "relaxers"; however one thing that I find helpful is learning to just sit for 10, 15 or 20 minutes a day and letting your thoughts float... day dream if that's what you want to call it. Sure, it can turn into plotting or other "work", but often times it's thinking more deeply about something that's happened or dreaming about something that will happen, or little things you want to tell your family. Just relaxing that busy brain. Good luck with it!

  5. Joanne // March 12, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

    Mona,
    I loved your post. I can relate, as it's difficult for me to relax. I can't just jog on the treadmill--I have to run 5 miles a day! And I find that my favorite pastime, which is reading, I analyze to death now that I've become a writer. How wonderful that you can enjoy your grandchildren!

  6. magolla // March 12, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

    Great suggestion, Mona!

    I read--A LOT--in a variety of genres. Right now, I'm reading a MG book, since I'm working on writing one and I want to get the rhythm of the chapters.

    Play video games. We got a Wii for Christmas and I exercise to the Wii Fit for 1-2 hours--it's a blast! And then I race in a couple of racing cups with the Mario Kart game, or play Mario Galaxy.

    And right now I'm crocheting an afghan for Brenda Novak's diabetes auction. It's called Angels All Around.

    I can't say the Mario games make me relax, but they are challenging and fun.

  7. Edie // March 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

    I used to meditate every day and then I stopped. I got a CD this week by Dr. Brian Weiss and I've meditated for the last two days. I'm trying to make it every day. Walking my dog is relaxing. So is reading.

  8. Mona Risk // March 12, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

    Thank you my friends for your suggestions on how to relax. I am going to add them to the body of my post. You can check them there.