How You Can Avoid Burnout

 “Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day.” —Richard Louv

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 Pam COF FRONT COVER

My guest today is Pamela S. Thibodeaux. Pam gives practical ways to avoid burnout. Authors handle edit deadlines, marketing, research, and writing the next book while eking out time for family responsibilities. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, burnout is a threat. Pam’s suggestions are timely. Be sure to see more about her new novel, Circles of Fate, following her post.

Pamela S. Thibodeaux: Writing is a solitary profession and, more often than not, writers are alone with only the people in their heads to keep them company. Ask any writer who has done this for a while and they’ll tell you that burnout is more than the dreaded slump, writers block, or a silent muse.

Burnout is debilitating and can sometimes be dangerous.

Here are some signs to look for and things to do in order to avoid getting to that point.

*Unusual sleep patterns: Sleep too much or too little. Wake up at odd hours. Never feel refreshed.

*Lack of Concentration: You sit at the computer and nothing gels; the muse is silent; leaving you to your own devices which seem to have deserted you also. You try to be disciplined but it’s impossible as your mind scatters in a million different directions.

*Boredom: You’re bored with everything; writing, reading, TV, life, and can’t seem to focus on any one thing.

*Lack of Energy/Fatigue: More than just being tired, I’m talking soul-weary, bone-deep, mind-numbing exhaustion.

*Anxiety: Anxiety combined with any of the other symptoms mentioned can be a dangerous thing, often leading to a writer quitting for good.

These are some early signs that something is not right. It’s time to take a break; a hot bath, a walk, read a book, watch your favorite TV show(s), clean out the closet, scrub the floor, something! Journal, write something different or even get completely away from writing for a little while.

Taking a break at the early signs often helps you avoid the inevitable.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Depression: You’ve ignored all the other symptoms and now nothing matters at all. You’ve done more than chase away the muse, hit more than the dreaded slump, you’re at rock bottom; smack dab in a pit of despair unlike any you’ve ever known. Depression is usually a sign of deeper problems. Sometimes it’s a physical thing, more often a mental one.

*Apathy: Apathy is way past depression and is never a good thing! This is the point where nothing and no one matters. This is the absolute lowest point a person can reach, and often leads to thoughts of suicide or worse.

The onset of either depression or apathy is the time to seek medical attention.

Burnout is serious and can have debilitating effects; however, it can often be avoided. Taking preventative measures—proper diet, exercise, and rest—are the easiest and best ways to do so.

Recognizing the symptoms and dealing with them early is another way.

Whatever you do, don’t give up…on yourself, love, even writing, but more importantly don’t give up on Life….it is too precious for that!

Pam publicity photo

 

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

 

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Book: Circles of Fate
Logline: With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined.

Blurb: Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Purchase Links:
Kindle: http://amzn.to/13b6qCG
Print: http://amzn.to/1zfEzNH
Create Space: http://bit.ly/1qRN3cb
Nook: http://bit.ly/1ySeQqJ
B&N Print: http://bit.ly/1wA6DsH
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/136qK7n

How to Use Art to Free Your Anxious Heart

We all bear difficult times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed. My guest, Kristin Blankenship, shares her experience and 4 tips we can employ to heal our anxious hearts.

Using Art to Free an Anxious Heart

It is important to do the work that leads to our renewal, clarity and inspiration and then remember to taste it, experience it and let it flow.  Linda Saccoccio

Let Your Light Shine
Let Your Light Shine

No one could have prepared me for the journey my heart would travel upon becoming a mom over 9 years ago.  A journey bursting with love for my long-awaited child, a little boy entering the world in hushed awe with wide-open eyes – windows to an old soul.  And, at the same time, a journey fraught with the uneasiness over the feeling that my beautiful boy did not seem comfortable outside the womb.  With the arrival of a little sister less than two years later, came frequent and lengthy meltdowns, nightly sleep difficulties, and the onset of rigid, repetitive behaviors.  My husband and I operated in survival mode for days on end.

autismbooks

Writer, Elizabeth Stone, once described having children as  “forever having your heart go walking around outside your body.” My boy and I shared the same anxious heart as I began searching for answers from pediatricians, child psychologists, behavior and occupational therapists.  At the age of 2 ½, my sweet boy was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.  And while this journey has been difficult at times, especially in those early years, it has also served as a training ground for strength, perseverance, joy and celebration as we experience God’s love through the hands and hearts of those who travel along beside us.

Being the parent of a special needs child often means chronic sleep deprivation and countless hours researching in the desperate effort to understand and make the best decisions for early intervention.  It is easy to become so focused on these aspects, that we lose our true selves somewhere in the mad dash to special schools and multiple therapies all over (and out of) town.  Even play with a special needs child requires work!  It is no wonder that when we do finagle some quiet-time for ourselves, we sit with grieving hearts, trying to remember who we are beyond the Special Needs Mom title.

Spread Joy
Spread Joy

For me, art has played an integral role in healing my own worn-out, anxious heart.  Integrating art and creativity into our daily lives fosters the opportunity to reconnect with our own inner child, that child of God who runs and laughs and feels joy spontaneously.  When we get out of our own heads and back in touch with our true essence, we are better able to connect with God, the Source for inspiration and energy that we so desperately need.  Yes, our children need our intellect.  They need us to be their advocates. Even more, they need our hearts and the joy that God has placed inside them.  Joy that offers healing for ourselves and our children.

So, how can you infuse art into your daily life?  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Grab the crayons and draw or write with your non-dominant hand.  Studies indicate that this practice promotes access to the right-side of the brain which houses functions such as feeling, intuition, creativity, and inner wisdom and spirituality.

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  • Engage your body in joyful movement.  Try dancing to upbeat music while doing chores, such as cleaning the bathroom.

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  • Create a sculpture with air-dry clay or play-dough.  The act of sculpting and kneading releases stress and reminds us of how God created and molded us in his very own image.

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  • Cut-out magazine pictures that “speak” to you and make a collage. Figure-out ways to incorporate one or more of these ideas into the weeks ahead.VisionCollage

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Allow the creativity to flow and you just might discover a deep well of abundance. Abundance that offers sustenance for a tired heart.

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Stu&MeKristin Blankenship is the wife to her husband of 19 years and the mother of  two school-age children, ages 7 and 9. Before having children, she spent the majority of her adult career working in the public schools as an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor. More recently, Kristin ran with the desire to “unleash her inner artist,” and began working with creative coach, Amy Barr.  Through this process, she discovered healing and a renewed joy for life. Currently, Kristin resides in Midlothian, Virginia where she writes of her faith and motherhood at her blog, The Blue Mug, and creates mixed-media art, celebrating the simple beauty of life.

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