Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Battling Stress as a Freelancer: Tips to Lighten the Mental Load


 [photo courtesy of Shakerman]

Writing takes a lot out of you, especially if you do it for a living. I know firsthand how stressful it can be. I've been through the late night writing sessions and the frantic panic spells stemming from a feeling of inadequacy. But you don't have to let Microsoft Word and the nearest thesaurus run your life.

1. Step Away From the Computer

You heard me - get up and walk into another room. It's not enough to watch a few cat videos on YouTube. You have to escape from that setting completely. What can you do? There are countless options at your disposal. For example, you could go on a walk. If the idea of exercise makes you shudder try taking up a hobby that will distract you from thinking about that never-ending to-do list. Some people garden, other people make greeting cards to give to friends and family (this is also known as "scrapbooking"). The choice is up to you.

2. Play Something in the Background

You'd think that any kind of noise would make the situation worse, but I beg to differ. Sound takes you out of your work and makes you feel like you have a connection to something outside of your writing bubble. I'm not saying you should blast the heavy metal, but you could try turning on your favorite TV channel.

3. Write It Down

Make it easy on yourself and create a list of what you have to do. It's a great way to put everything into perspective. Once you see that your tasks are doable, you can take those heavy weights off your shoulders.

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