Out of Your Head
As in, getting out of it.
Writers spend a lot of time alone in their minds, which can be translated as either a mystic dreamscape of endless possibilities and wonder, or as a windowless garret lit by a single candle rendered from rodent fat.
When it starts turning from the former to the latter, it is time to blow that popsicle stand for a while. Knowing what works for you is an individual thing that nobody can teach, but it’s crucial to your mental well-being to figure out how to air out your mind on a regular basis.
Personally, I’ve got four things that can always reset and refresh my mental energy.
- Music. Specifically, finding new music I haven’t ever heard before. Pandora, Bandcamp and Last.fm are incredible resources for exploring new sounds and finding new artists. Plus, you can generally multitask with this one, adding it into other means of clearing your head.
- Outdoors. I’m no woodsman or explorer, but I do love me some forests and parks. There are four in a reasonable radius from me, ranging from heavy pine thickets to wide-open prairie grassland. Nothing works for me as well as getting in the wind and letting it scour through my brainmeats.
- Exercise. I came late to this one – from adolecence through my early thirties I snubbed the idea of any physical effort, but once I got over the fear of the gym and the habit of a lifetime, I was hooked. Being able to get active and get the blood pumping helps both your body and your mind, whether it’s lifting kettleballs, running down the street, or doing yoga from a DVD.
- Cleaning. What? Yeah. Cleaning house helps me settle down in a very quiet way that also makes my living environment more pleasant. It doesn’t hurt that I notice the more cluttered my quarters are, the more cramped my brain tends to feel.
Those are the main methods I’ve got to bring myself around after my skull gets me stir crazy. I’d love to have more tools in the box, though – if you have a specific way that works well for you to stretch your mental muscles (or some new music you think I’ve got to hear), feel free to leave a comment.
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