I know, it’s a pretty dark title, but as you already know, I’m an aspiring filmmaker, blogger and all round jack of all trades. So, when I say that stress is “the eternal abyss”, I mean it. Recently, I’ve been taken on board as a social media coordinator, for two upcoming film productions, that should be completed by the end of the year, and it is no walk in the park.
I’m constantly on my toes, I’m pulling my hair out for the hundredth time, making sure I’m sending out the right posts and tweets for the productions, and overall, I’m just lost in the dark about what I have to do. Thankfully, I have a good team behind me, teaching me all the things I don’t know, and making sure I’m not overworked! So, what is this post about?
Well, if you don’t already know, it’s about…stress, and how to deal with it. Yes, you have all those scientific journals telling you what to do, but, let me guess, you want someone who’s been there to tell you what it feels like. Don’t worry, that’s what we bloggers are here for!
1. The Oldest Trick In The Book
Take a break! Yes, it is the oldest trick in the book, but it’s also the best trick out there, because it’s what helps the most! I know it’s easy to lose yourself when you are taking that break, and it could lead to extreme procrastination, but if you set yourself a specific time, even set an alarm, you’ll always be able to get back to work.
Of course, when I say take a break, I don’t mean go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platforms. What I mean is that you get away from your notes, your laptop or computer; get away from that desk area and go outside. Take a walk, or get something to eat from the kitchen. Basically, interact with your surroundings, rather than stay glued to your screen. Breath fresh air and get some exercise. Not only will it help with your circulation, it’ll feed your brain.
Many times, I’ve sat at my computer desk, dreading writing one of these posts, because I’ve not found the inspiration I need. At those times, I simply walk away, get something to eat and look out the window, or walk outside and feel the…wind…on my face (ok, so don’t walk outside in winter…it won’t be kind to you). I find that, sometimes, when I just walk away from the desk, I’m finally struck with that elusive piece of inspiration. It hits me like a freight train, and I can always rush back to my laptop to work on it as soon as I can. It’s not a crime to procrastinate a little, it’s liberating.
2. Meditation: There’s No Better Cure
This one, I admit I don’t do as often, because I don’t get that stressed, but meditation does help to calm your mind. Meditation isn’t sitting on a mountain top, and chanting “Om”. It could simply be sitting in a quiet and relatively dark corner and breathing slowly and deeply. Meditation is all about stilling yourself, both mind and body, so that you can recharge and restart, especially when you’re stressed.
You don’t need to meditate for hours, you can spend 20 minutes or even 5 minutes, just calming your mind, letting go of your thoughts and ground yourself in that moment. When you do, you’ll probably find the answer to your problem as soon as you’re done. It’s that simple.
I know that when I was at university, I never meditated, and that’s why I got very stressed one day, I even missed a…well, women would understand…The point is, I would have benefitted from meditating, had I practiced it, during my time at university. Most of the time I would worry and stress out because this person hadn’t done what I had asked, in the time I had asked him to do it, or that person didn’t have the equipment he said he did, or I couldn’t do something myself, because I didn’t have the resources. Had I meditated during those times, I probably would have found an alternative solution, much more quickly and we would have probably been a more effective team.
3. The Environment Isn’t Just About Nature
Cleaning the space around you, especially when you’re working, is very important. Not only does mess make things harder for you to reach your notes or put your laptop down, it also clutters your mind. Now, there’s a difference between mess, and organised chaos. If you like your notes scattered all over the desk, that’s organised chaos and it’s been proven to actually be a good thing; but having crisp packets, dirty laundry and old plates strewn about with those notes, that’s mess. Organised chaos is when the mess is actually conducive to your work, you can see each note you’ve taken, and use that as a revision, or work tool. However, having remnants of your snacks or meals are not part of that chaos, they’re just added mess.
If you have a cluttered environment, that doesn’t help with your productivity, then clean it up. Your environment reflects the thoughts in your mind. If you’re surrounded by clutter and mess, it’s most likely your thoughts are cluttered and everywhere, not to mention you’ll be even more distracted, because something else will catch your eye and you’ll forget all about your work.
I know that I can’t handle a messy environment, that is, if my table is full of bits and bobs that I haven’t put away, I tend to shy away from it, and use my bed instead. Don’t get me wrong, working on my bed is a lot more comfortable, but my rear tends to get numb after a while, and I don’t have very good back support, because the headboard and footboard are too short to lean against. So, having a tidy desk (well, as tidy as it can be) is always the better option.
4. Hobbies Are Always Important
I’ve said this before in another post. If you’re not familiar with it, then I suggest you check it out. It’s called…
It’s important that you have a hobby, that way, if you’re stuck for inspiration, or if there is a particularly difficult problem you’re facing, doing something, other than work, can help. Not only will it focus your mind, it’ll clear it from any of the stress you’re feeling. It re-centres you and re-organises your wayward thoughts.
If you’re pressed for time, don’t resort to Facebook or social media, for inspiration or guidance. Chances are, it’ll cause more problems, exaggerate the one you’re working on even more, or just distract you to the point where the problem becomes worse. Instead, work on something that eases your mind, like exercise, or needlework, or crafting. By focusing on something else, all the twisting and winding thoughts will soon straighten themselves out, and you’ll find the solution to your problem in no time.
I have a ton of hobbies that I can count on, whenever I’m feeling rather stressed or overworked. I knit, crochet, scrapbook (at least I’m learning to), I exercise, write novels and basically do many different things to keep me occupied. Hobbies that are productive, can actually help me find a solution to problems I couldn’t solve before. I remember I once figured out how to kill a character, while I was working on a crochet project, a couple of years ago.
5. Comfort Is Key
There’s such a thing as being too comfortable, when it comes to work. I know sometimes, when I’m working on something important, I can be too comfortable in my own home. As many of you know, my bedroom is my base of operations, it’s where everything I need is available, but it’s also where I can be my most laziest. So, getting out of my room, and into a different space is much more productive.
Sometimes a change of scene, or a little bit of discomfort, can motivate you into doing whatever it is you need to do. Whether it’s getting up and out of your office, bedroom or home, or turning down the heat so you don’t laze about like it’s a hot summer’s day, it is a lot better for your motivation, and gets you in the right zone, so you don’t stress out for being lazy. Sometimes, discomfort can be motivating, while being comfortable can make you feel lazy. Ensure you have both, you are comfortable enough, so that your spine and neck doesn’t stiffen up, but be uncomfortable enough to get through your work.
Recently, I had to write a blog post for the blog So The Theory Goes (if you want to check out the posts I’ve written, then click the link here), and I knew I wasn’t going to concentrate, if I stayed in my house. So, the best thing I did was to get up and leave. I brought my laptop and books, with me, to a nearby café and sat down with coffee and cake, while I researched and wrote my post. Needless to say, it took me half the day to complete, because other projects were interspersed with that research, but the important thing was that I finished it within that day. It probably would have taken me the week, had I stayed at home.
So, there are my thoughts on how to beat stress! Of course, these aren’t going to help everyone, because everyone is different. These are just some handy little tips, and if they work for you that’s great! I know it works for me. So, it’s your turn. Let us know what your handy tips for stress busting are? Maybe we could try them out ourselves, and see if they work for us! Leave your tips in the jar below, and we’ll see you next time!
This is Feather, signing out!