Like many of us, time is a precious commodity when under a deadline, possibly up there with caffeine. I’m a writer, a full time secretary, a wife, a dog owner, an aunt, and a pretty wicked cupcake maker. And don’t tell my editor, but I’m still cranking out pages for the second book in the Diaries of an Urban Panther series. Days are usually something like this:
Work for nine hours
Drive home in rush hour traffic and 110 degree heat
Feed my husband and the pups
Do other household chores so my house doesn’t look like something from Hoarders
And then I open up the laptop and start typing for about 5 hours. Some days I use an egg timer and some days I forget to look at the clock all together and end up writing until 2 am.
There’s not a lot of time for Amanda. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. But my brain hurts! Its sort of a rattley feeling, like pennies in a coffee can. The planning of a hostile take over of the Dallas Metroplex is very hard work and might be literally sucking my brain dry. The 31 days of triple digit temperatures isn’t helping either.
According to an article I read in PARADE at two in the morning, fifteen minutes is all it takes to change your day and make you feel happier and refreshed.
15 minutes? I can spare 15 minutes so I won't go completely insane.
So now, I’m trying to be mindful of taking break brains. Just like how every 55 minutes you should stretch your hands to prevent carpal tunnel, I’m taking 15 minutes every 4 hours to rejuice my brain.
They seem to be working. The three keys are quick, cheap, and effective.
Looking at something pretty helps. My pretty of choice these days is Jensen Ackles and James Mcavoy. Just a simple image search on the internet and there is something relaxing about just looking at a page of a pretty man staring back at you. But technically, you’re still at the computer, and the mind might not equate that with relaxing. Sometimes you have to get away from the computer screen.
Recently, I’ve rediscovered nail polish. It’s quick and pretty and something that I can focus on something that’s not work, the house, or the hell that I’m putting my main character Violet through. I’ve also discovered crackle nail polish. Addicted! My current favorite combination is neon pink under a grey crackle. Right now, I’m wearing purple under silver sparkles. My husband said that it reminded him of my book cover. Which inspired me to do InterVamption toes (Kristin Miller’s new novel): blood red under a black crackle. It looks pretty wicked.
If the nails are in good shape, I find that making tea is a good way to break away for a while. There is something in the ritual to boiling the water and steeping the tea that is calming. And you get a yummy treat when you’re done!
The last thing I now look forward too at night is playing with my dogs. Unfortunately, when I’m under dead line, I tend to just sit for hours with my laptop and my dogs have learned to despite it. I think they are planning a hostile kidnapping and one of these days I'm going to find it burried under a tree. So playing with them for 15 minutes a night relaxes me and makes sure that my computer will survive another day.
What do you guys use for your brain breaks? What small treats do you give yourself after a rough day of work when you’ve only got a few moments to rejuvenate? You share yours and I’ll share mine. The best/creative/innovative /cost effective comment will get a small set of crackle nail polish to help with your brain breaks.