Welcome to the official blog of Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America! We're a local writers' group in the Toledo, Ohio area. Most of us write romance, but we also have members who write other genres too. New members are always welcome to visit or join the group. See the meetings page for details. We post every Monday and Friday about all things book-related. Whether you're a writer, reader, or both, we hope you'll stop by often and get to know our dozen contributors.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let's Reduce Stress!

As a writer, I work from home, and while the environment nurtures me, it also makes it easy to fall into unhealthy habits.

on the wings of a snow white dove
Photo by calliope

Maybe it's the fact I can snack all day without judgment or that I'm sitting for hours in front of a computer, but working from home has made me susceptible to stress traps.

Typical things that cause me to feel stressed:

* A too-busy schedule
* Putting off exercising for more than 3 days in a row
* Eating primarily processed foods
* Shallow breathing
* Circumstances beyond my control
* When my daily routine gets derailed
* Family members who are struggling
* Paying bills
* Fitting chores and errands into each week
* An uncooperative manuscript

Last week I picked up a book by Holly Mosier, Stress Less, Weigh Less. The premise of the book is that it's almost impossible to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight when we're stressed out.

If we want to stay at our happy weight, we  need to take steps every day to reduce our stress.

The book brimmed with practical, simple tips to reduce our stress, and they made sense to me. None of the suggestions seemed radical. By taking a few minutes throughout the day to be mindful of our habits, we can change our behavior and be more able to manage our lives.


1. Train our thoughts to be positive when we wake up in the morning. Too often, we wake up already overwhelmed by our to-do list. Instead, we can tell ourselves it's a new day, full of wonderful possibilities. We will achieve our goals over the course of the day. Let's set our day up right!

2. Drink more water. We don't always realize the effect of dehydration on our bodies. If we aren't drinking enough water each day, we get fatigued quickly, and our bodies are less equipped to handle the daily grind.

3. Practice deep breathing. Whenever a wrench gets tossed into your day, take a minute to concentrate on deep breathing. We control our thoughts, and when our thoughts run amok, we tend to breathe shallowly. By taking deep breaths, we give our brain the rest it needs to handle the problems.

4. Exercise almost every day. I know the experts say to exercise 3-4 days a week. For those just starting to exercise, that's a great goal. But for already active people, it makes sense to add moderate exercise whenever possible. Our bodies crave movement. I'm not talking about intense workouts 7 days a week. But most of us could take 15-30 minutes 6 days a week to add a power walk, ride a bike, fit a light yoga session in, or whatever you like to do. Exercise is one of the best stress reducers!

5. Make sure you're eating enough protein. Our bodies get tired and hungry when we don't eat enough protein. Eggs, meat, peanut butter, cheese, nuts--all are great sources of protein. Celery sticks are a great snack, but don't be afraid to add string cheese to the snack.

How do you reduce stress?

Jill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels. Coffee fuels her mornings; chocolate, her afternoons. A former electrical engineer, she now enjoys a healthy addiction to magazines, fluffy animals, and her hilarious family. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and MVRWA. Jill is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

To learn more about Jill, check out her website, stop by her blog, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Have a wonderful Monday!


Em-Musing said...

I meditate when I'm stressed. But even finding the time to meditate can be stressful. And I agree with eating more protein. great post.

Jill Kemerer said...

It's funny how even thinking of stress-relievers can cause stress! I know exactly what you're talking about. :)

Constance Phillips said...

Great post, Jill. Stress can have a negative impact on so many aspects of our life. Exercise! Definitely the key for me. Even if it's to get up and walk around my house ... or block.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

These are great tips, and I can attest that many of them work! I think exercise is the big one--and if you can, do it first thing in the morning. That way you HAVE to make your body relax and warm up before stressing it out with all the days tasks.

Jill Kemerer said...

Constance--same here. My mood improves with even 10 minutes of light exercise!

Cindy--I agree! And if I get a short workout in the morning, sometimes it motivates me to take a walk later too. Double bonus!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

PM Kavanaugh said...

Yoga, deep breathing, practicing gratitude, petting my kitty--these all help. And talking with great friends, like you!

Tracy Madison said...

What a great post, Jill! I de-stress by playing video games, reading, and watching TV. Lately, I'm addicted to The Voice! Thanks for the tips.

Shay Lacy said...

Jill: I need all these things. Plus a stroll through a beautiful place with my camera. Thanks for sharing.

Jill Kemerer said...

PM: I've gotten back into short yoga sessions, and they help SO much! I might have to borrow your kitty--they really do reduce stress. :)

Tracy: Oh, yeah, gotta love the Voice! I've missed the last several episodes, though. :(

Shay: Good one! I love taking pictures of nature--very relaxing!

Thanks so much for stopping by!