Stress Management Tips for Workaholics

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When stress and anxiety hit, you need to stop whatever you are doing and breathe it out. It sounds easy, but when you're in the middle of a difficult task and brimming with negativity as the clock ticks towards the deadline, you can't help but feel overwhelmed. A little bit of stress can be good to keep you focused and motivated, but when continuously nursed, stress not just becomes a mental hazard but also a physical one. The more stressed out you are, the more you become open to illnesses and closed to experiencing and appreciating life.

If you're a workaholic freelancer who juggles several projects at a time, take a moment to pause. You won't have control over the daily stresses that come to you: the demands of work, deadlines, bills, and family responsibilities. However, you have control over how it affects your body and your perception. The simple realization that you are in control is one of the great ways to manage stress, but if you want more tips, read on:

Perform deep breathing exercises – When you feel like your chest is heavy because of stress, close your eyes and breathe. Slowly inhale through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale slowly. Breathing from the diaphragm effectively oxygenates the blood, which helps you relax.  

Meditate – Taking your mind off things and subsequently meditating is effective at clearing away stress. When coupled with deep breathing exercises, this is a good way to calm the mind and body. When meditating, imagine relaxing sights such as a beach, a field of flowers, or the view up a mountain. With your eyes closed, imagine the place, the smell, and the sounds. By mentally transferring yourself to a peaceful and safe place, your mind and body relaxes.

Get a relaxing massage – A massage is a great way to not only improve joint mobility and circulation but also remove tension and underlying stresses. Coupled with aromatherapy, it is a great way to tickle the senses and give you a refreshed mind. Like the effects of meditation, a relaxing yet quick getaway such as this helps you have a different outlook, which may just be what you need to take you off where you're stuck.

Start a stress journal – Writing down the source of your anxiety is a great way to figure out methods to deal with them. Each time you feel overwhelmed, write down what caused it, how you felt, and what you did to cope with it. When you eventually see patterns and common themes, it will be easier in the future to deal with and get over the stress.

Eat well-balanced meals and limit alcohol and caffeine – When stressed, some people resort to binge eating and using caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine to cope with stress. Although it may alleviate the stress during that instance, the long term results, such as shortness of breath, weight problems, and alcoholism, are damaging to the health.

Take up a hobby or learn a new sport – Adding a different activity to your daily tasks is great to have something to look forward to and take your mind off things. Taking up new hobbies such as cooking, painting, and gardening gives your mind a break because you're completely focus on a new unrelated activity. Learning a new sport, on the other hand, isn't only favorable physically, but the mental breather allows you to have a reinvigorated perspective about your day to day work.

Laugh – When overwhelmed with work, take a minute to find comic relief to break the tension. It can be a funny memory, a comedy clip, or a humorous book. A good laugh lightens the mental load and it also stimulates organs and soothes muscle tension. Overall, it's a good way to improve the mood and make you happier.

Talk to family and friends – When you can't handle the load anymore, share it. Talk to a trusted loved one or friend. Simply expressing yourself is a good way to let the burden out instead of keeping it all bottled up inside. Friends and loved ones are there to listen and provide support. Sharing thoughts with them also strengthens the bond in the long run. If you need deeper advice or direction, make an appointment with a therapist.  

These are only some of the things you can do to alleviate stress and anxiety. There are more ways to relax and recharge, such as going for a walk to spend time with nature, curling up with a good book, working out, and listening to music. Above all though, maintaining a positive attitude is enough to keep you afloat in the hustle and bustle of a challenging, yet rewarding, freelancing life.

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Posted 16 April, 2015

Nikki Hernandez

Wired and Inspired | Content Coordinator,

I'm the coordinator of Freelancer's Case Study Program. I write inspirational success stories of employers and freelancers. When not busy writing, I play video games.

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