I have this folder on my laptop called 'For scary things'. It's basically full of cool quotes, and pug pictures and Parks&Rec GIFs, and it's where I go when everything gets a bit too much.
You know - those days where you feel rubbish and sad and awful and you convince yourself that you're the worst at EVERYTHING, so why are you even trying? Those days.
As a writer, those days happen fairly often. I'm constantly putting my heart on the line, and it is terrifying. Like panic-attack-pacing-back-and-forth-terrifying. Usually, my 'For scary things' folder helps me see some perspective.
I mean, how can you not be happy when looking at Ron Swanson and sad pugs? But sometimes, I need a little something extra to help me over the scary days. So I thought I'd write a list of what helps me when I'm feeling down, in the hope that it will help someone reading this.
1 // Exercise
If you're like me, exercise is usually the last thing that you feel like doing when the scary days hit. BUT, hear me out a sec. Exercise is such a great stress relief, and it's something physical that you can do to respond to something scary. If your feeling angry - why not try boxing?
I personally LOVE yoga (which is something 16yr old me would never have believed I would say) - it helps me focus and calm down mentally as well as exercising physically. I really recommend Yoga with Adriene - it's a great starting point& there is SO MUCH content! I also really enjoy walking. Again it clears my mind, I get to listen to music and I also just take in my surroundings.
2// TREAT YO SELF
Okay, that was a Parks&Rec reference, but the concept is universal.
Take an hour/day/week - paint your nails, or read a book or watch that TV show you've been meaning to catch. Taking care of yourself is an underrated necessity. Be selfish and do what's good for you! A calm, stress-free, happy you is FAR more likely to take on the scary stuff like a pro than a you that is rundown, tired and frazzled.
3// See your friends
As a writer, I am sometimes VERY guilty of neglecting my friends - I am usually chained to my laptop most evenings tapping out the words. So when things get tough - phone a friend. Have a cinema/lunch date, or if you're long distance - talk on Skype. Do something fun like going to the zoo or a museum (I know - I'm a nerd). Talk about it. Talk about everything and anything that is worrying you. Chatting to friends is cathartic - you sort out and analyze your problems, figure out a way to solve/minimize them... and maybe, you realize they're not as much of a problem as you first thought.
By the way, I'm not just talking about IRL friends here - internet friends can be (and are) just as valuable. The writing community online is such a massive support to me - and hopefully - to others. So email, DM or message to your hearts content until your worries seem manageable again.
This is what I do when stuff gets really, really scary. Exercise, self-care & friendship is my key to feeling like I can take on the scary monster I've created in my head. These three things might not be the key for you, but I promise that you have one - maybe you need a hug with someone special, or to eat out at your favorite place. Whatever it is that makes you feel brave enough to take on the scary things, do it - because, as one of my favorite quotes says: