Stressing Over Your Next Newsletter? 7 Productive Activities To Do Instead
Creating content for my business is one of my favorite activities. So much so that I’ve previously written about how the sound of my keyword is like Beethoven to my ears. When I’m in the flow, nothing is better. Not even chocolate donuts from Doughnut Plant.
And when I’m not….well, that’s a different, less motivating story. You can read about it here, and perhaps you can relate.
Over time, I’ve learned that showing up is important to getting the work done, even when you don’t feel like it, but knowing when to take a break is equally important.
If you find yourself on the mental merry-go-round of creative doom, it may be time to take a break. For your work and your self-care.
You may be overworked and about the blow a fuse. Nobody wants that to happen, especially not the different areas of your business that are also needy for your attention.
If you can’t think of ANYTHING to write for your next newsletter/blog/podcast/etc, stop trying to write. Take a break. Step away from your computer, pen, and pad.
And do one of the following activities instead to refuel your body, mind, and content creating soul.
1. Read for fun
When was the last time you read for fun? I don’t mean a business book, blog or a description to the latest IT podcast. I mean for fun. A beach read, if you will, that doesn’t necessarily have to be read on the beach.
If you’re thinking you’re too busy to read, hold up, wait a minute.
Did you know that reading actually makes you more creative?
Here are a few other benefits to reading for fun.
1. Reading is a brain exercise - flex your mind muscle by reading 30 minutes a day. If you’re really into the book you’re reading, you may even get distracted from your own editorial content calendar long enough to read for an hour a day.
2. Reading reduces stress - You’re concentrating and escaping. Reading for six minutes can slow down your heart rate, and escaping into a world of literary adventures eases the tenses in your muscles and your heart.
3. Reading helps you be a better communicator. And therein lies the REAL reason you should be reading when you’re having mental fatigue with content for your business! It will help you create content! All while helping reduce stress, relax, and exercise. HELLOOOOO, sign me up.
2. Work out
We know that working out is good for a few things - strengthening your heart and lungs, lowering your cholesterol, and improving your immune system. But did you know that a doing aerobic exercise also have amazing benefits for your brain and mental health? Exercise is one of the most effective ways of improving mental health; it’s beneficial at reducing depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more.
So when you’re feeling like you’ve been staring at a blank Word doc for too long, it may be time to step away and go do a work out. Sometimes I do 10 squats just to get the blood flowing and I love kickboxing because it’s fun and reduces my stress levels by A LOT. After a kickboxing class, I’m always ready to hit the ground running when I return to my desk chair.
When I’m not in the mood to go to a class, I love dancing. The Fitness Marshall offers fun and free dance videos on YouTube. I highly recommend. In fact, you can take a kickboxing class on YouTube as well. The PopSugar Fitness YouTube channel has a bunch of amazing FREE videos to get you started.
I’d like to start off by saying that meditation is not for everyone. If you’ve never done it, and have no desire to try, you’re probably going to skip this paragraph. But I hope you don’t.
I used to be a person who scoffed at meditation because I couldn’t imagine sitting still for any amount of time and focusing on my breathe. My husband insisted that I try it and eventually I did. With his support and motivation, I continued and found that it helped me relax, stay calm during the day, and made extra room in my brain - room that could be used to do productive work.
Don’t believe me? Check out this insightful and detailed article about the 76 scientific benefits of meditation on liveanddare.com
If you’re interested in getting started, check out the free app, Insight Timer, or head on over to YouTube and search for meditation videos.
Don’t expect to be perfect at it - they call it a practice for a reason.
If you’re having mental blocks, I feel bad for ya, son - I got 99 problems but writers block ain’t one.
The beauty of journaling is that it’s just writing down how you’re feeling, what happened, and anything else that comes to mind. You don’t have to worry about your grammar, handwriting, typos, or any of that other stuff that you must focus on when you’re writing for work.
Journaling helps you be more mindful, understand yourself better, and boosts your comprehension. If you’re unable to write or create content, journaling may help you figure out why.
There have been times I’ve started a journal entry with “Hi, I’m here to write down why I’m not able to write this blog post.” It is then that my brain takes over and the words spill out.
Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” is a helpful tool that has become a routine and hobby. The main point is to write without thinking, which occurs once you start writing. This practice brings out throughs and ideas I never knew I had and helps get my day started.
Cameron recommends three pages written first thing in the morning, but go as long as you can. Sometimes I write one page, sometimes two. Sometimes it's "Good morning, morning pages. Have a nice day. Bye."
It’s your journaling time so don’t put pressure on an activity that is supposed to reduce pressure. Got it?!
5. Do something fun
Whatever you consider fun - do it. You may think having fun is counterproductive towards your goals, but the opposite is true. Many ideas come from moments of pure joy, bliss, and not trying to think about coming up with ideas.
This reminds me of how great ideas always come during shower time or right before you are about to fall asleep. Because sleep is fun, especially when you don't get enough.
Ideas come about at the funniest, least expected times so don’t worry that having fun is not being productive.
6. Eat (a healthy snack)
Junk food is my guilty pleasure. Chips, soda, cookies - gimme all of that! But when I have to focus and be productive, blueberries, almonds, and carrots is what I’ll be munching on. I'll also drink water (because my alarm reminded me that I should.)
Those are proven to be the snacks that fuel the brain, as opposed to chips, soda, and cookies, tend to make you tired, sluggish, and feel burnt out.
Sometimes, even if you don’t want to, doing what is proven to work, works.
7. Talk a walk in nature
Reconnect with nature. Take a deep breathe. Be grateful for what life has to offer you. Realize you are but a small speck of dust in a universe so grand, and what you’re working on, while amazing, can wait.
Take care of yourself first. You are the vessel that takes you from point A to B, and if you’re not well, your projects won’t be well either.
This is also a two-for-one special, since talking a walk in nature is also FUN and can be a form of meditation.
You have everything is takes to create, but sometimes you need a break. It's okay - don't feel guilty or think you are failing in any way. You're not! After your break, you'll get back to it.
Once you're ready to get back into creation mode, download your free copy of Brainstorming Bootcamp for Coaches + Creatives. This brainstorming guide and workbook will help you come up with more valuable ideas and help you get started on developing your next piece of creative content. The workbook can also be used for developing newsletter content so download today and let me know what you think!