The Busy Freelancer’s Guide to Reducing Stress

COVID-19 has me hoppin’… And I am naturally a planner…and also I am the anxious type. I have C-PTSD to boot. Since I work from home full time, I know a thing or 5,000,000 about stress…and being busy. While I do not refer to myself as a freelancer because of the negative connotations associated with the word, I make it my daily mission to find ways to reduce my stress. Because, frankly, having a fucking heart attack or stroke doesn’t sound like a whole of fucking fun. Call me crazy.

Seriously, if you don’t know how to reduce stress as a freelancer, you’re going to be miserable or you’re going to deal with burnout. And, yes, burnout is a real thing.

But Stress Is Different for Everyone

What stresses me out is probably different than what stresses you out. What stresses you out is probably different what what stresses out another freelance writer / web dev / editor / whatever. We’re individuals. We all have different life experiences. We all have different personal concerns.

Related: Day in the Life

I have certain things that immediately stress me out. You probably have things that immediately make you think: fuccckkkk this shit.

I work really well under pressure. I like schedules. I have other times where I work better just going with the flow. I like hot baths in the middle of the day. In the summers, I like getting up at 5 am to start my work day and being finished with client work before the heat of the day. I love working seven days a week. I love being busy. I read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week. Sorry – that shit isn’t for me. Good for him traveling and whatever…I love being involved with what I do. I am extremely introverted.

Reducing Stress Is Also Personal

So, just like what stresses each of us out is personal, reducing stress is also personal. I know, you’re probably pissed off at me because this is the busy freelancer’s guide to reducing stress and I haven’t told you shit. Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you something…I just don’t want you getting stressed out if you read my tips and then say, “I’ve tried that – it doesn’t work for me!”

Well, that’s because reducing stress is fucking personal. So at some point, you have to find the shit that works for you and stop worrying about what works for everyone else. Working seven days a week helps me reduce stress! And you probably think I’m nuts.

  • Set time aside for you. Seriously…do it. Time for you should be non-negotiable. As I say on Instagram stories, you don’t have to call it self-care if you’re into the martyrdom “I can’t love me!” bullshit. I don’t care what you call it. Block it off on your schedule. Mine is, at minimum, usually around lunch time for my workout.
  • Take ten seconds of time at the start of your day for zero thoughts. If you can’t go ten seconds with zero thoughts, you need ten seconds with zero thoughts. It’s harder than you think. Seconds, not minutes.
  • Look on Spotify for Daily Wellness. Daily Wellness is a free playlist that mixes music and short podcasts based on mindfulness. Most of them are pretty good.
  • Find a productivity routine that works for you. For some people, it’s eating the frog. That means doing the hardest thing first. It makes the rest of your to-do list feel like a piece of cake. For others, it means doing a few easy things to warm up and then tackling that POS activity. I’m an eat the frog person so that I don’t procrastinate and drive up my fucking blood pressure.
  • Work when you’re most productive. For me, this can vary. I am usually most productive in the early mornings and after 3 pm.
  • Take a fucking mental health day. What is the point of being a freelancer if you don’t at least occasionally enjoy the perks and do what in the fuck you want to do?

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