Breaking the Stress & Procrastination Cycle with Creativity
I have taken a long hiatus from writing. Physically, I’ve been exhausted for the last couple of months. About a month and a half ago, I visited an iridologist who was finally able to give me some answers on why I get so tired for weeks at a time. I’ve been working on healing my chronic adrenal fatigue and getting my thymus working again, which hasn’t been working properly due to Epstein Barr Virus - and in turn, my thyroid hasn’t been functioning properly. Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling like I’m finally coming back to life.
But here’s the thing with writing from a headspace perspective. It seems so much simpler than it is… or likely, sometimes I just make it harder than it should be. I get so stuck in my head, worrying about the final outcome that I fail to even start.
As with any habit, the longer time I take away from it, the harder it seems to be to get back into it. Whatever it is I’m looking to do - get back into writing, a workout routine, complete a project - becomes continuously glorified day after day until my brain perceives it as some big, unattainable feat.
And I’ve done just that with my writing - instead of using it as an outlet, I’ve taken so much time away from it that I’ve turned it into a checkmark on my to-do list, stockpiling all of my hesitations and “what-ifs” into a conglomerate of fear that seems safer to stay away from - because inside that big ball of fear are the questions that have led to so much anxiety and lack of forward movement throughout my life - what if it’s not good enough? What if I fail?
Stress kills creativity. On the flip side, creativity is a kryptonite for stress. Having some sort of outlet - whether it’s writing, painting, dancing, drawing, singing, playing an instrument, or other form of expression - gives us a way to process all of the emotion that’s building up and causing stress. From a purely physical perspective, participating in a creative outlet can actually reduce your cortisol levels - a hormone that the body produces in response to stress.
So I’m encouraging myself to just. start. I start chipping away at that seemingly unobtainable mountain, rock by rock, because a few words are always easier to run with than a blank page.
I remind myself that procrastination is a form of perfectionism, and what I’m doing doesn’t have to be perfect. The next piece I write isn’t going to be published as my autobiography. That song or dance isn’t going to be performed in front of millions tomorrow. (But hey - they always could be, someday. 😉)
I keep a journal that I use solely for free-writing without any plan of where it’s going to go. I use it as a little haven of safe space; if I’m not comfortable sharing my words - I can keep them in my notebook and they don’t have to leave. This helps me to write freely without judgment. I’ve found that with my anxiety, sometimes just having an “out” makes the process of whatever I’m doing much more approachable to me.
I also give myself a little love by reminding myself that writing (working out, planning something, or whatever it is I’m hesitant to do) is a form of self-care - and once I get over that initial fear and just start - I’m taking care of my heart and soul in every piece of the process.