A few weeks ago I wrote about 5 ways to deal with creative burnout, well, this week, we’re going to tackle the topic of stress. It’s something that I’m constantly dealing with in varying degrees, and I’m sure others are too!
Between trying to find clients, managing your own schedule, content creation, trying to stay inspired, finances, family life & self-care … am I missing anything? Oh right! I forgot to mention wedding planning (at least for me)! The stress is real!
I only started this full-time freelancer journey earlier this year, but let me tell you, it has not been a smooth ride. And that’s the honest truth.
While I’d love to glamourize the job and make it look wonderful, it’s more beneficial for me to be real & authentic with you.
So, what do I do to dial-down the stress & keep myself (somewhat) sane? (this is where you laugh haha)
Here, are five things that I do to dial down and say “PEACE OUT” (hence the feature image) to the stress in my life as a creative freelancer:
Change of Scenery
There’s something about heading to my favourite café to get some work done that always gets me in a better mood. I can people watch, allow myself to get distracted a little, nosh on some snacks & have some tea. Or I go for a walk just to get some fresh air. Anything to get my body moving. This is something that I mentioned in my Creative Burnout post as well because I really believe that it does the trick. Especially when it comes to stress. When I’m feeling the stress, this is a great way to deter it for a while.
Take a Mental Health Day and just breathe (or meditate).
If you are able to, take a mental health day. I think that most people generally think that sick days have to do with how your physical body feels. But sick days should also be used to take care of how you feel mentally as well. I was listening to a meditation CD recently (yes, a CD), and the speaker was talking about breathing. They mentioned that when you feel pain in any part of your body, you should stop what you are doing, focus on that part of the body and simply breathe. Whether or not my body aches (which is usually every day, due to a car accident), I focus on breathing. This helps me to refocus, relax, and recover, all the while relieving me of the feeling of being stressed.
Try Aromatherapy or Essentials Oils
Again, something that I briefly mentioned in my previous post, but I really, really, love the Stress Release essential oil from Saje Wellness. A little dab on each side of my forehead, and a roll of the oils under my chin and on my neck, I’m set. And then I breathe.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Whoever said that was on to something. Whether you stream online, have cable or just want to pull out your favourite DVD collection, watching something funny on TV always gets me into a good mood. And when you’re in a good mood you’re more likely to forget whatever your stress aggressor was right?
I remember why I do, what I do.
There are two parts to this so bear with me. Part one, I am passionate about being creative. It’s what I love to do. It helps me to forget about my anxieties and stress whenever I can just focus on being creative. Whether it’s illustrating, photography, writing, painting – I need to be creative. Part two – ever since I began this freelancer journey, my main goal was to never, ever, ever (ever), work for anyone again. I am more than happy to work with people, clients & their companies (yes, there is a difference). But, I am determined to make things work being my own boss. So, when I feel the stress coming on this helps to put things into perspective and give me that drive that I need to keep going.
I know I said “5 ways …”, but … if after all that you’re still feeling stressed (because realistically, sometimes it can be harder to remove the stress than other times), tackle the issue head-on if you can. I find that addressing whatever is causing the stress, is a good start to eliminating it from the get-go. You can skip points 1 through 5, or you can do this after everything else I mentioned. Just as long as you do it (again, only if you can). I equate it to being like checking something off of a “to do” list (which for me feels so good – I love checklists). Whatever you do, approach the situation with an open mind and a positive attitude.
And speaking of positive attitudes, I like to keep positive affirmations & quotes around my work area! They are constant reminders that keep me going throughout the day.
Like this one, available in my print shop:
What do you do to keep the stress at bay? Any suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Leave a note in the comments below!