Stress Relief

Feeling the stress? Change it up! Take a BREAK, REFOCUS, and MOVE ONWARD and UPWARD!

One of the wisest pieces of advice I have ever been given about writing is also applicable to life, stress and work, especially at this time in the world.  It’s called the Hat Scene.

The Hat Scene

The idea is this:  When the tension gets too high (in a book or movie), when everybody is on the edge of their seats in the movie theater or tare urning the pages of a book like mad, the main character takes a break and does something completely different, which must be entertaining and lighthearted. The term, I do not know if it was the speaker’s or not, comes from a movie called “Sleeping with the Enemy,” a psycho-thriller; and at one point when you can’t stand it any longer two main protagonists go to a school where one teaches theater and they try on hats, that’s all.  The whole scene is full of fun and fanciful play.  The viewers get a break in the tension, are entertained and are ready for what comes next.

Breaking tension gives room for creativity.

Now for something completely different: 

Fun, fanciful play and a total change of scenery are excellent for the soul, but also for your creativity and energy at work.  That little time away doing an entertaining or exciting activity really different from normal can rejuvenate you and get you ready for something new or prepare you for some hard work ahead.  

Here’s the idea:

Plan a (short) break

Take a break when the going gets tough, but not too long of one, of course.  A day, a half-day or even a two-hour break will do.  The point is to take your focus off whatever is bringing you to that level of stress where you don’t have an answer.

Then: BREATHE!  As you begin your break, do some mental and emotional preparation so you are really not focusingon your “issue”, whatever it is.

Break it up and mix it up, do something that is not normal

Change the place, change the activity, if possible, change your clothes- or preferably all of the above!

Do some activity you usually don’t do.  For me, reading a book may not “do it,” because that is a regular activity.  But, going to a temporary art exhibit, walking along an unfamiliar path, watching a movie in a theater and not at home, and maybe even going to a hat shop and trying on hats would be appropriate for me, it’s whatever you don’t usually do.

A while ago I went to see La la Land in the movie theater - this was a very appropriate break for me.  Music, dancing, sunshine, bright colors.  It was great!   Right before that I attended a small private art show of a friend of a friend, which also was colorful and brought spring into the gray of my Swiss winter.  Often going to my co-working space gets my creative juices going, since most of my writing and thinking are done in the office at home.

It is so very true that the place can help.  Go outside and take a walk, go to a new space to and enjoy the light, perhaps you can work there for a while.  If you usually work at a desk, find a table somewhere else.  If you work at home, try some co-working space like I have, if possible.  Shake up your formula.  Keep it fresh.

But why is it necessary?

Simply put, our brains react to that change and they become more creative.  We are not stuck in “every day” mode and we come up with better ideas. Our brains respond to the change positively and then when we begin to look for solutions to old stressful problems, we can generate new ideas.  That’s why companies work off-site sometimes.  That’s why mastermind coaching groups are so helpful.

So, what’s after the break?  Move on!!!

Move on: After you take that walk, go to that exhibit, change your work place or routine, go on a short holiday, find a Mastermind group (or join one of mine), you should move on and – remember to keep changing things around and shaking things up once in a while, for you, and for your job’s and/or company’s sake.  That’s how you will become more creative and productive.

Enjoy your creative muse even in stressful times, and should you want to join my group on LinkedIn:

Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle



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