Winter is the traditional time for storytelling but by February many of us story tellers and writers in colder climes are feeling the effects of battling the freezing winds and icy sidewalks of a long, cold winter: hunched, tense shoulders, neck ache, cabin fever.
Here are five suggestions to help you rise out of the slump and re-energize. Please share your own suggestions in the comment box below.
1. Find the flow
- Sitting, put your feet flat on the floor and slump forward. Let it all go, head, shoulders, back. Now press your sitz-bones down into the chair and let the upward movement flow up your spine, a bit like unraveling a ball of wool. Keep pressing those sitz-bones down as you press up. Lift up through the top of your head, feeling as though you’re a slinky dangling from the top loop, or that you’re hanging from the ceiling by a thread. Stay there a few moments – stay loose, don’t hold, then slump again. Repeat two or three more times. End in the up position.
- Interlace your fingers and put your hands palm down on top of your head so your elbows stick out. Hunch your shoulders up to your ears, then let them drop down. Repeat this until you feel your shoulders loosen. Drop your shoulders down one last time, and bring your hands down.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing each other. Pull slightly forward with your arms, then squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release. Repeat.
- One last thing before you start writing: Release your lower jaw. Let it drop. Now push your lower jaw forward (this is a SMALL movement), release.
2. Have a good grouch
- Get rid of your February grouchiness by complaining – for a good cause. Use your expressive and persuasive writing skills to write to your MP or to an organization or company to try to right a wrong. I’ve written to my MP protesting the closure of a number of Canadian Veteran Affairs offices.
3. Drink water. We often get dehydrated in dry and over-heated indoor air.
4. Discover some new words. Play rhythm and rhyming games with these unfamiliar words – out loud.
- Merriam-Webster’s Word Of The Day (podcast free from iTunes) produces some gems: Refulgence. Malversation. Rutilant. Lagniappe. Etiolate. Pelf.
5. Try a type of workout or exercise that is new to you. Using different patterns of movement from what your body is used to, can be remarkably energizing for your creativity and writing. Just to show I’m walking my own talk, I’m about to go to my first fencing lesson.
- Nothing new being offered at nearby facilities? Try ‘free dance’. Same idea as free writing. The room/space is your blank page. ‘Write’ all over the space with your body. Use an image to get you started, or an itch on your thigh, or a ‘found’ sound (the rhythmic swish of the dishwasher, the hum of the fridge…). Forget pretty, forget dainty. The idea is to let your body move the way it wants to, rather than fit into choreographed movements from, say, hip hop or Zumba. Use elbows, heels, chin, hips, knees, right ribcage… Go small, go big. Drive down, fly up. Breathe.