While writing itself can be beneficial for your mental health, sometimes working on a project like a novel can wear on you. We’ve compiled some tips to maintain your mental health while you write your YA novel.
Talk it out
Writing can be isolating. There are those of us who don’t share what we do with our friends and family, and those of us who may need more interaction than writing allows.
There are a few ways to do this:
Find time to be with family and friends. Sometimes we get so caught up in our writing that we forget to live our lives outside. Talk to your friends and family if you’re feeling down.
If you are able to, talk to a therapist. Find someone in your neighborhood, or use an online resource to find a therapist. If there are no therapists in your area, you can find a therapist on one of these online resources. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/online-therapy-services/
Volunteer. Spending time helping others besides ourselves can be a big mood booster. https://www.volunteermatch.org/and https://www.idealist.org/en/ are good tools to find volunteer opportunities in your area.
Find activities outside of writing
Find an activity that puts you in flow, the state of mind where you are completely immersed in what you are doing. This could be riding a bicycle, painting, running, playing an instrument. Getting into flow state at least once a day has been proven to increase overall happiness. Here’s a great resource on flow state: https://www.headspace.com/articles/flow-state
Spend time in nature if you can. If you live near a forest, take a walk. Find a park nearby and sit on a bench for a while, or open your windows. Even adding a plant to your home has mental health benefits.
Journal. Choose from your collection of 50 notebooks (so many of us writers have that) and designate it as your journal. Write for a while without any judgement. Noone else is going to see it. Consider it “unblocking” your brain of your feelings.
Sometimes we’re in the middle of a great writing session and we don’t want to fall asleep, but not getting enough sleep can have huge impacts on our mental health. Make sure to listen to your body when it needs sleep, and rest when you need it.
Try this breathing exercise clip from Headspace: https://youtu.be/cEqZthCaMpo
Read this guide to breathing from the University of Michigan: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255
Sometimes we just need to take a step back, clear our mind, and breathe. Meditation is a great way to focus on your mental health. Check out these free meditation resources here: https://medium.com/mind-cafe/6-free-meditation-resources-to-calm-your-mind-fc7ed44573df
Taking care of your mental health can seem difficult at times, but it’s important to prioritize how you’re feeling. Make sure to listen to your body and brain when it needs a rest, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help.